Modernist Treasures of Vernon

The Southeast L.A. suburb of Vernon is known as a haven for meatpacking, industry and, lately, artists and garmentos. But take note, architecture fans, Vernon and its environs harbor Modernist gems. Below, excerpts from a self-guided tour assembled by the Da Camera Society of Mount St. Mary's College for a January concert in its Chamber Music in Historic Sites series, which was held at Tamayo Restaurant in Los Angeles.


Farmer John's Clougherty Packing Co.

3049 E. Vernon Ave.(1953 and later)

Famous for its fanciful murals of antic farm scenes. Leslie Grimes was the painter until his death in 1968, when Arno Jordan took up the work.


Owens-Illinois Pacific Building

Northeast corner of Fruitland Avenue and Soto Street

(Architect H.H. Brunnier, 1937)

Glass brick in the classic post-Art Deco 1930s Streamline Moderne mode.


Aluminum Co. of America Building

Southwest corner of Alcoa Avenue and Fruitland (Gordon B. Kaufmann, 1938).

This Streamline Moderne complex uses aluminum in parts of its design.


Lane-Wells Building, now Winnie and Sutch Co.

5610 S. Soto St., Huntington Park

(William E. Meyer, 1938-1939)

In terrible shape, this concrete Streamline Moderne complex is nonetheless worth a look.


Pueblo del Rio public housing

1801 E. 53rd St., Los Angeles

(Paul Williams [Chief Architect],

Gordon Kaufmann, Richard Neutra, et al., 1941-1942)

Modernist brick-and-concrete housing.


Bethlehem Baptist Church

4900 S. Compton Ave., Los Angeles

(R.M. Schindler, 1944)

Needs restoration, but a treasure as the only church built by Schindler.


Thomas Jefferson High School

1319 E. 41st St., Los Angeles

(Stiles O. Clements, 1936)

Classic Streamline Moderne. Famous alumni include Ralph Bunche, Alvin Ailey, Dorothy Dandridge and Dexter Gordon.


A Chamber Music in Historic Sites "California '70s" concert is scheduledfor 3 p.m. today. The California EAR Unit ensemble will perform music by Frank Zappa, Mel Powell and others at SCI-Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture), at the 1907 Santa Fe Freight Depot complex, 960 E. 3rd St. Tour at 1:30 p.m. For more information, call (213) 477-2929, or visit

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