The Drive-in, the Supermarket, and the Transformation of Commercial Space in Los Angeles, 1914-1941
Winner of the 2000 Historic Preservation Book Prize presented by the University of Mary Washington Center for Historic Preservation
Richard Longstreth is one of the few historians to focus on ordinary commercial buildings—buildings usually associated with commercial builders and real estate developers rather than architects and thus generally overlooked by historians of "high" architecture.
Here Longstreth explores the early development of two kinds of retail space that have become ubiquitous in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. One, external, is devoted to the circulation and parking of automobiles on retail premises. Longstreth analyzes the origins of this development in the 1910s and 1920s, with the super service station and then the drive-in market. The other type of space, internal, was introduced soon thereafter with the single-story supermarket. The most innovative aspect of the supermarket was how its interior was designed for high-volume turnover of a large selection of goods with a minimum of staff assistance. Longstreth focuses on Los Angeles, the principal center for the development of both kinds of space, during the period from the mid-1910s to the early 1940s. This richly illustrated study integrates architectural, cultural, economic, and urban factors to describe the evolution of retailing and how it has affected the urban landscape.
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Albert Frey Angeles super architect Architectural Auto Laundry automobile Broadacre City building cars Center to Regional Chain Store City Center commercial complex CSA/DE CSA/GE customers decade Department of Special downtown drive-in market drug store examples facilities figure filling station food stores forecourt Frank Lloyd Wright Glendale Henke & Pillot Hollywood idem July June Leimert longer standing Los Angeles Main Street major merchandising Morgan motorists neighborhood shopping center Neutra off-street parking operation outlets outlying areas Photo Dick Public Market Ralphs Grocery Company Ralphs stores Ralphs's real estate Regional Mall residential Richard Longstreth Richard Neutra River Oaks Safeway self-service Southern California Special Collections super service station super station supermarket taxpayer blocks tion trade units University of Southern urban variety stores Walls & Clements Whittington Collection Wilshire Boulevard Zimmerman