History
History
Historic Charm in the Middle
of Sports and Entertainment
Historic Charm in the Middle of Sports and Entertainment
edward doheny

The Petroleum Building at its apex was the company headquarters for the American oil explorer and capitalist Edward L. Doheny, the first to discover oil in Los Angeles in 1892 and founder of the Mexican Oil Company. Doheny commissioned the master architecture firm Meyer & Holler to design the Petroleum Securities Building which, in the 1920s became recognized as one of Los Angeles’ most opulent commercial and historically significant office buildings.

A first of its kind, eleven-story prominent Indiana limestone exterior, the Petroleum Building was acclaimed by its contemporaries to be the finest and most accomplished work of principal architect Raymond M. Kennedy, of the Meyer & Holler firm. On the exterior, the building was marked by distinctive stone bandings, capstone parapets, three roof sentry flag poles, and beautifully detailed copper design and metalwork. On the interior, the Petroleum Building’s classical architectural prominence are visible in the rooms designed with built-in vaults, round ballroom size columns, gilded elevator doors flanked by walls of marble and stone medallions, and lavish hand painted tall vault ceilings.

petroleum building
petroleum building

Many of the tenants of the building were related to the oil industry and the historic auto row that housed fifty-two auto dealerhips on Figureoa and Flower Streets in the 1920s. Besides Edward and Estelle Doheny, other well-known tenants of the building included Les Kelley, founder of the famous Kelley Blue Book, the nation’s most influential source for pricing the values of used cars, and Frank R. Seaver, an attorney and chief executive of the Hydril Company, which specialized in drilling for oil all over the world. Nickolas Shammas, the owner of Felix Chevrolet and several other automobile dealerships on Figueroa, purchased the building in 1959. From 1951 to 2001 the west wall of the building featured the Union Oil Company’s giant 76 sign high above Olympic Boulevard.

Today’s Petroleum Building has been painstakingly restored and is brimming with charm and history. It is located but a crosswalk away from the now legendary professional sports venue, the Staples Center—home to four professional sports franchises—and world-class shopping and outdoor dining at L.A. Live. It is also the home of the world famous Grammy Museum. Teeming in celebrity hot spots and local eateries and primed for entertainment, the Petroleum Building is nestled in the lively stream of South Park in downtown Los Angeles.

petroleum building

Whether it is an entire office floor with a 360-degree view of the city or a small cozy workspace, the Petroleum Building has competitive rates and a range of accommodations that meet local businessowners’ needs. From work to play, our offices offer value and opportunities that allow our tenants to thrive and to grow their mission, business, and community.

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