The work of Los Angeles architect Arthur E. Harvey includes some of the city's most recognizable and storied buildings (the Scientology Celebrity Centre [originally the Château Élysée], the Villa Carlotta), but he's also behind what was supposedly hailed on its opening as the most beautiful storage building in the world: the American Storage Company Building. Yes, if you've been wondering what awesome purpose the 14-story-tall, Deco/Spanish Revival beauty at Beverly and Virgil was designed for, we've got news for you: It was built in 1928 as a glamorous repository for people's overflow belongings. But it does have some excitement in its past; during prohibition, its top floor housed multiple speakeasies, as Eastsider LA wrote about recently. According to a long-ago Curbed tipster, the freight elevators were used to bring guests secretly to the top floor, and there are some remains of what might have been the bandstand still up there. Here's a brief roundup of the building's debaucherous past:
-- The rooftop hosted The Roof Garden cafe, where visitors could take in "dancing, entertainment, [and] unexcelled cuisine," as an old flyer put it. The music was also a draw: a local radio station installed a mini-broadcasting setup so they could share the music live each night.
-- The roof was also the location for Thirteenth Heaven, a sacrilegious-sounding club where angel-winged servers greeted guests and St. Peter manned the elevator.
-- The LA Press Club took up residence sometime in 1931 and by March they were raided for their illegal brewing operation.
-- After the Press Club left, the Forty-One Club moved in, then also was raided by police.After looking for several hours, the raid turned up "[l]iquor of various descriptions valued at approximately $10,000 ... in secret compartments," according to a 1931 LA Times article.
The American Storage Company building is now owned and run by Public Storage, which recently painted some of its ornamentation orange for some reason.
· Neighborhood Fixture: East Hollywood's American Storage Building [Eastsider LA]