To re-envision Pershing Square, look to the past

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From left: Richard Schave, Kim Cooper and Steve Chiotakis in Pershing Square. Photo by Avishay Artsy.

From left: Richard Schave, Kim Cooper and Steve Chiotakis in Pershing Square. Photo by Avishay Artsy.

If you’ve only spent a little time in downtown Los Angeles, you could be forgiven for missing Pershing Square entirely.

Even though it’s right in the heart of LA, it’s built above a parking garage and elevated from the street level, making it hard to see inside. That’s just one of the many criticisms surrounding the design of the five-acre park.

Now Councilman José Huizar is calling for a redesign of Pershing Square. He’s put together a 21-member task force to look into it.

KCRW’s Steve Chiotakis visited Pershing Square with Richard Schave and Kim Cooper, a husband-and-wife pair of local historians who run a tour company called Esotouric. They’ve created a petition asking LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and other city leaders to restore Pershing Square to its past glory.

Here are some archival photographs and postcards of Pershing Square:

Fifth and Hill Thrifty color pc c 1940

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Biltmore and lush trees aerial PC 1929 <!-- missing image http://blogs.kcrw.com/whichwayla/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/crowds-fountain-and-Biltmore-pc-1024x685.jpg --> fountain color pc c 1918