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MAY COMPANY CHRISTMAS, SOUTH LOS ANGELES, CA, 1949
By Charles Phoenix
12/10/2009


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May Company Christmas, South Los Angeles, CA, 1949

Week of December 8th, 2009

Gleaming silver stars hang from frizzly-foiled canes fixed to stylish streetlamps towering above signs, signals, bus benches and painted curbs. Is this an obstacle course or an intersection? There is no traffic; no flag and the sidewalks are deserted. It's Sunday and the store is closed.

Architecturally speaking, this is what happens when a streamline modern ocean liner of the '30s and the famous flying wing of the '40s have a baby. Less, of course, the potted vines sprouting over the trio of terraces. As if passing motorists don't have enough to look at and out for already, MAY CO is clearly spelled out twice in golden metal-framed yellow neon readable at any speed.

Line-wise, little relieves this smooth slab-sided, curved cornered department store spectacular with the exception of its nearly hypnotic asymmetry. Don't stare too long! Let's lovingly call this style: late-streamline early mid-century mod minimalism. And a very rare example of it at that.

Miraculously this streamlined suburban super store still stands at the corner of Martin Luther King and Crenshaw Blvds, in the Crenshaw District, one of my favorite LA neighborhoods to explore. The May name marked the building until 2005 when Macys, the granddaddy of all grand department stores, took control.

Macy's started in NYC in 1878 one year after May Company began in Leadville, Colorado. By the end of the 1920's Macy's had morphed into the nations largest department store. Ultimately it would become a retail beast that would swallow its competition including the second and third largest stores ever, Hudson's in Detroit and Marshall Field in Chicago.

Here's to May Company, Marshall Field, Hudson's Macy's and YOU,

charles phoenix

BRING FRIENDS & FAMILY...
CHARLES PHOENIX'S
RETRO HOLIDAY SLIDE SHOW!

Sat, Dec 12th, 8pm - The Hot Rod Museum in Pomona
Sun, Dec 20th, 2pm - The Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

CLICK HERE FOR $25 TIX & INFO

+ SEATTLE on Dec 27th & PORTLAND on Dec 29th!

*********************************************************
ALL NEW TOUR... ONE TIME ONLY...

CHARLES PHOENIX'S
HOLIDAY HOMETOWN TOUR!

Sunday afternoon, Dec 13, 2009 - 1PM to 6PM
A festive school bus field trip adventure in
Ontario, CA...

CLICK HERE FOR $65 TIX & INFO

Join Charles as he shares the pride and joy of the city's most charming landmarks, legends and displays all decked out for the holidays!... * Handmade Candy Cane demo at Logan's Candy ? since 1933 * Dinner included at Vince's, "World's Largest Spaghetti House"
?since 1945 * Legendary Graber Olives ?curing and canning since 1894 * 12 life-size religious civic holiday dioramas ?since 1959...and MORE!





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