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LA City Council Agrees to Rename Downtown Intersection in Honor of Architect

The City Council agreed on last week to name the intersection of Fifth and Spring streets in downtown Los Angeles as John Parkinson Square, honoring the architect who designed City Hall, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum and Union Station.

More than 50 of Parkinson’s buildings remain, including at USC and in downtown and Hollywood, according to Councilman Tom LaBonge, who co-sponsored the motion honoring Parkinson, along with Councilman Jose Huizar, whose district the intersection is in.

Parkinson was born in the small English village of Scorton in 1861. He moved to North America at age 21 upon completion of his apprenticeship to a contractor-builder, initially building fences in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and learning stair building in Minneapolis.

Parkinson then moved to Napa, working as a stair builder and taking on architectural commissions in his spare time. He moved to Seattle in 1889, designing the Butler Block, Seattle Athletic Club and Seattle National Bank Building.

Following the Panic of 1893, Parkinson moved to Los Angeles in 1894, opening his architecture office on Spring Street, between Second and Third streets.

“John Parkinson came to Los Angeles, like many Angelenos did, as an immigrant from somewhere else and then he made an enormous impact,” LaBonge said in May when he proclaimed a day in Parkinson’s honor, which coincided with two tours of his works, held in connection with BritWeek.