LAX Theme Building Update (Plus Some LAX History)

July 29, 2007 at 8:37 am in Food & Drink, History, West Side

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I was dropping off the hubby at the airport yesterday and had to whip out my camera for this pic. (Click for much bigger.)

As you may have heard or read, the Theme Building at LAX has been under unexpected renovation after a big chunk fell out of it. The Encounter Restaurant & Bar was forced to close while the work is being done. This article reports that the restaurant should re-open by mid-September but the scaffolding will remain in place until 2008. (Presumably because they will still be working on it. Let’s just hope that Encounter renovates their menu and price list a bit as well.)

More photos and LAX/Theme Building info after take off.

About the Theme Building specifically, Philip J. Ethington wrote:
Echoing the Martian invaders in the War of the Worlds (Paramount Pictures, 1954), for which his brother, Hal Pereira, was Art Director, William Pereira’s “Theme Building” for the new Los Angeles International Airport was intended to resemble a landing spaceship. Calling this “the first terminal area specifically designed for the jet age,” FAA Administrator Najeeb E. Halaby predicted at its opening that the new airport “may well achieve some of the worldwide renown . . . as–who knows–Disneyland.” (Los Angeles Examiner 26 June 1961). Who knows?

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In May, Metroblogging LA posted about vintage Los Angeles photos that are now currently online. I found one that piqued my curiosity about LAX. (Click it for larger.) The photo above is from 1966 and the terminals were satellites with underground tunnels and back then, someone referred to the airport as a “Jet Port.” JET PORT! Come on, that’s so old skool.
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You can read a more specific history of LAX here. (That site is also where I got the “jet port” image from.)
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Look at all those wide open spaces, look at all the ground level parking. I moved here in 1985 when the airport looked much the same as it does now. I can not imagine living through all that double decker terminal and parking structure construction. Someone please leave comments about what that transformation was like. Or am I thinking about it in terms of today’s security nightmare hassles and how that construction would intensify all that TSA nuttiness? Either way, talk to me, tell me your LAX stories.

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