Richfield angel in the LATimes

Eric Lynxwiler, who moved the large angel into his Arts District loft, miracles if any other people are remaining from the Richfield Creating.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Situations / December seventeen, 2010)

Seeing over an old L.A. sentry
An urban anthropologist adopts one particular of the ten-foot terra cotta sculptures that at the time topped the Richfield Creating.

By Bob Pool, Los Angeles Situations
December 29, 2010

For his 1st forty years he appeared down on sixth Avenue in downtown Los Angeles. For the next forty years he appeared down on a frontyard in Santa Ana.

Now the stone-faced determine carrying a Roman soldier’s helmet and breastplate and angel’s wings is gazing on the polished concrete floor of Eric Lynxwiler’s Los Angeles loft.

The 1 1/two-ton terra cotta sculpture is one particular of the several surviving remnants of the Richfield Creating, a black-sided, gold-trimmed landmark that was topped by an oil-derrick tower and served as a monument to petroleum.

Architect Stiles O. Clements put forty of the golden figures all around the major of the twelve-story oil enterprise making when it was produced in 1928 and ’29 at the corner of Flower and sixth streets.

A 1930 edition of Arts and Architecture journal described the pieces as “a hugely conventionalized recommendation of motive energy,” while it did not describe what that meant.

“Heroic in dimension, extraordinary in conception, are the sculptural figures built by Haig Patigian which crown the key walls with a relatively regal procession of silhouetted torsos,” the journal extra.

Lynxwiler has determined that the pieces had been solid and kiln-fired by Gladding, McBean, a clay pottery and pipe maker founded in 1875. That company also manufactured the black tiles that covered the 350-foot-tall Richfield structure.

When the making was torn down in 1968 and ’69, the ten-foot-tall figures had been ripped off the sides of the structure and put up for sale by the Cleveland Wrecking Co.

“It took about two weeks. We put a choke all around the neck and one particular all around the midsection and just cut absent the concrete,” Dick Laws, the company’s superintendent for the career, stated at the time. As they had been removed, the bottom of each and every figure’s torso was misplaced.

Although two of the sculptures had been decapitated all through elimination and quite a few other people endured chipped wings or noses, all forty had been put up for sale in April 1969 by the wrecking enterprise.

Most had been presented for $one hundred. “It price us that to tear ’em down,” stated Laws. But the one particular bought by John Rehak following he read about the sale in The Situations was priced at $one hundred fifty since of its superior situation.

Rehak put the determine in his frontyard and nicknamed it the Golden Boy.

When he made the decision this 12 months to transfer to a new property, he contacted Lynxwiler, a graphic designer who is also a effectively-identified nearby historian and urban anthropologist.

Lynxwiler, 37, compensated $two,five hundred for the sculpture and Rehak presented him with a official-wanting doc labeled “official adoption paper” for the determine. Both of them signed it.

Lynxwiler experienced recruited his father, Invoice, to help him transfer it in a truck. But it turned out that the sculpture was stable baked clay — and heavier than it appeared.

“I ended up employing a crane and a forklift. The crane operator weighed it and identified it was 11/two tons, so I experienced to have a particular base created to keep it. Entirely, it ended up costing $ten,000,” Lynxwiler reported.

He lined up five friends to help roll the sculpture into his next-floor loft, which is in a converted onetime customs warehouse on Molino Avenue in the Arts District.

“It barely in good shape by way of the front doorway. The doorway is 44 inches wide, and the angel in good shape with much less than fifty percent an inch to spare. Thankfully, this position has eight-inch-thick concrete flooring.”

Lynxwiler reported he is making an attempt to observe down other Richfield Creating figures. Earlier this month he explained to of his research on a nearby weblog,, but experienced no reaction.

“It’s probable he’s obtained some brothers out there,” he reported. “It’s not like I want a family members reunion, I just want to know exactly where the relaxation of the family members is.”

Significantly of the rubble from demolished buildings ended up as fill substance beneath Los Angeles-location freeways and it truly is probable that is exactly where some of the Richfield sculptures went, according to Lynxwiler.

A pair of ornate elevator doorways from the Richfield Creating had been saved and included into one particular of the Arco Plaza large-rises when they had been produced on its internet site. UC Santa Barbara has 4 of the building’s front doorway ornaments, he reported.

Lynxwiler reported sooner or later he would like to see the sculpture exhibited in a museum.

“This is part of one particular of the most-missed buildings in Los Angeles,” he reported.

“The Richfield Creating was our Empire Point out Creating.”
Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Situations

Posted by jericl cat on 2010-twelve-29 19:seventeen:fifty six

Tagged: , Los Angeles , Situations , Bob Pool , write-up , Mark Boster , terra cotta , Richfield , Creating , sculpture , Eric