About Miracle Mile
During the 1950s and 1960s, the Miracle Mile became famous for its many movie studios, including Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures, RKO Radio Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios, Metro Goldwyn Mayer, 20th Century Fox, United Artists, and others. Many of these studios remain today.
The Miracle Mile is now home to numerous high-end retailers and restaurants. As of 2008, the Miracle Mile includes over 200 businesses, making it one of the largest shopping districts in the world.
The Miracle Mile was designated a historic preservation overlay zone in 1991. In 1999, the Miracle Mile was designated a National Historic District by the National Park Service.
A portion of the Miracle Mile is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The NRHP listing covers the entire Miracle Mile, except for the areas covered by the Wilshire Center Historic District.
The Miracle Mile Historic District encompasses the area around Wilshire Boulevard between La Brea Avenue and Fairfax Avenue. It consists of three separate buildings: the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Ambassador Hotel, and the Roosevelt Hotel. These structures were built during the 1920s and 1930s, and were designed by architect Henry J. Ottenheimer.
The Miracle Mile Historical Association operates the Miracle Mile Heritage Center, a museum dedicated to preserving the history of the Miracle Mile.
Geography Miracle Mile
The city’s name derives from the Spanish word “milagro,” meaning miracle. In the early 20th century, it was known as Hollywoodland and later Hollywood Park. Its original land area was 1 square mile (2.6 km²). Today, the neighborhood covers about 2.3 square miles (5.9 km²), making it one of the most densely populated areas in Los Angeles.
Miracle Mile is bordered by Beverly Hills on the northwest; Westwood on the southwest; Century City on the southeast; Hancock Park on the northeast; and Brentwood on the north.
History of Miracle Mile
Wilshire Boulevard West of Western Avenue began as a dirt path, known as “the cow trail”, used by farmers to bring their cows to market. This route passed over what is now Hollywood Way and Beverly Glen Drive. Farmers would cross over the street on foot.
In the early 20th century, the city of Los Angeles annexed much of the land to the north of the original city limits. Many residents moved out of the older part of town to newer homes along the newly built boulevard. As people left downtown, the population density decreased dramatically. Businesses followed the exodus of people away from the center of the city.
The city of Los Angeles eventually took control of the entire western portion of Wilshire Boulevard from Vermont Avenue to La Brea Avenue. By 1930, the city had paved the roadway. However, it remained a rural thoroughfare.
A.W. Ross, a developer, bought up large tracts of farmland south of the city limits in 1926. He envisioned developing a major retail and office complex there. He wanted to name the project “Miracle Mile”. Ross hired architect Albert Frey to design his vision. His idea was to build a modernist skyscraper for each.
Art on Miracle Mile
Urban Light – Scores of vintage street lamps shine along L.A.’s Miracle Mile
Urban Lights is an art piece by Chris Burden, who collects old street lights throughout the United States. He paints them all the same color, and then puts them together to create a light show.
Starting in the 1980s, David Burden collected old street lamps and converted them into small sculptures. He then installed them around his house in Topanga Canyon. These installations were called “Urban Lights” because of the bright lights shining out of the lampshades. His collection grew until he donated all of them to the Los Angeles County Museum Of Art in 2008. Since then, the lamps have shone brightly in the museum’s courtyard every night.