Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Historical Note on Los Angeles’ Miracle Mile

“When my life is overcast, it’s shopping that brings me the sun.”
-Truman Capote

The stretch of Wilshire Blvd. that was sandwiched between La Brea Blvd. to the east and Fairfax to the west was a desolate stretch of unusable land. The La Brea Tar Pits left seeping pools of tar and noxious gas scattered along the thoroughfare. It was long determined that oil could be pumped in the area and Howard Hughes was one of the first to tap the empty ground. When the ground refused to cooporate, Hughes had decided to sell the land. Just north on Fairfax and Third a burgeoning group of farmers set up shop to sell their fruits and vegetables every weekend. This lead to flocks of urbanites from the east to drive Wilshire and north on Fairfax to the market. Hughes had an idea; he would lease the land to the best department stores in NYC to open a West Coast version of Fifth Avenue. Soon Art Deco behemoths created a corridor of shopping delights and Hughes reaped the benefits. Hughes brought in small planes to awe shoppers as they marched from store to store and the stretch of Wilshire was a complete success. Hughes’ doubters dubbed the shopping venture a “miracle,” and Hughes ran with it, coining the section, the Miracle Mile.

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