Los Angeles County Hall of RecordsOct 21st, 2014 | By Lindsay | Category: This and That
Today’s location is a serious fail on my part. For a couple of years now, I have had the Los Angeles County Hall of Records on my Haunted Hollywood To-Stalk list, not due to its filming history, but because I mistakenly thought the building was where Marilyn Monroe’s autopsy was performed in 1962. I finally stalked the Hall of Records while in L.A. a couple of weeks ago and added it to my blogging calendar. It was not until I sat down to write this post that I discovered my mistake – Marilyn’s autopsy actually took place at the similarly named Los Angeles County Hall of Justice. Whoops! (And yes, I really am that blonde! In my high school’s Senior newspaper, one of my best friends Scott bequeathed me “a clue.” I left him several years’ worth of memories and inside jokes condensed into a witty paragraph and he left me two words: a clue. I still haven’t gotten over that one, though his bequeath seems pretty fitting today. ;)) Because the Hall of Records has a series of rather spooky tunnels located beneath it, though, I figured the place was still Haunted Hollywood post-worthy, nonetheless.
The Los Angeles County Hall of Records was designed by prolific architect Richard Neutra and his associate Robert Alexander in 1962. Neutra was also responsible for designing the Lovell Health House from L.A. Confidential, the Ohara House from The Holiday, and the Kaufmann House in Palm Springs.
The 15 story, T-shaped building was constructed out of glass, concrete, granite and terra cotta tiles.
Employing a similar system to one he used at the Kaufmann House, Neutra outfitted the south side of the Hall of Records with solar-activated aluminum louvers that would move throughout the day in order to keep the interior offices shaded. Sadly, those louvers, which are pictured below, have not been operational in years.
Ceramicist Malcolm Leland brought another unique element to the building’s façade. – an eight-story extuded terra cotta screen that covered the structure’s ventilation ducts. That screen is denoted with orange arrows in the photographs below.
The building’s original purpose was to house the department of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk and its records (for which the property was named). To house those records, Neutra designed a a large windowless wing on the south side of the structure (denoted with orange arrows below). In 1991, the department and its records were moved to Norwalk, so “Hall of Records” is currently a bit of a misnomer. Following the move, the windowless wing was converted into office space for county workers.
Today, the Hall of Records is mainly occupied by the District Attorney’s office.
It is what is beneath the building that fascinates me, though. According to Atlas Obscura, eleven miles of underground tunnels run underneath the Hall of Records and its surrounding properties. The passageways connect the structure to the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center, the Hall of Justice and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse. The tunnels are closed to the public, but are apparently fairly accessible. What I wouldn’t give to see them!
The Hall of Records is also a filming location. For 2011’s The Lincoln Lawyer, the building’s hallways masked as the hallways of the courthouse where Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) defended Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe).
The underground tunnels have also appeared onscreen. The scene at the end of the 2008 thriller Eagle Eye that was supposed to have taken place below Washington, D.C.’s Library of Congress was actually lensed in the Hall of Records tunnels.
Until next time, Happy Stalking!
Stalk It: The Los Angeles County Hall of Records is located at 320 West Temple Street in downtown Los Angeles.