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"Merry Christmas" from General Petroleum Corporation
Alternative Title
Los Angeles Herald Examiner Photo Collection
Streib, Art
Date Created and/or Issued
Contributing Institution
Los Angeles Public Library
Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection
Rights Information
Images available for reproduction and use. Please see the Ordering & Use page at for additional information.
Title supplied by cataloger.
Designed in the Late Moderne style of the postwar period, with ceramic veneer exterior by Gladding, McBean & Co., the General Petroleum Building was built for $8,000,000 and was one of the first skyscrapers to employ a modular system throughout the entire structure. Aluminum fin sunshades from 3rd to 13th floor. Wurdeman & Becket also designed all interior details including furnishings, color schemes & fixtures. It was built between 1947-1949.
The biggest Merry Christmas of them all is the claim made by the General Petroleum Corporation for the greeting on top of its new Los Angeles home. On a sign structure 30 feet high and 198 feet long - almost an entire city block - 10-foot high letters in green spell out "Merry Christmas". The Flying Red Horse, General Petroleum's trademark, measures 20 by 30 feet. The top of the greeting is 180 feet in the air - 30 feet above the 13-story building into which the company will move upon its completion early in 1949. Two additional greetings are painted on the sides of the superstructure. Each measures 30 by 95 feet. The signs were finished on December 16 and will remain up until December 27. It is estimated 1,025,000 people will read the greeting on the largest sign alone during that period. The signs will be lighted from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. A special highly leaded paint impregnated with castor oil was used to facilitate removal so a permanent sign can be installed after the holiday season. Photograph dated December 22, 1948.
1 photographic print :b&w ;20 x 24 cm. on sheet 21 x 26 cm.
Photographic prints
Herald Examiner Collection
HE box 97.
General Petroleum Building (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Signs and signboards--California--Los Angeles
Office buildings--California--Los Angeles
Streets--California--Los Angeles
Logos (Symbols)
Lost architecture--California--Los Angeles
Wilshire Lanterns
Wilshire Boulevard (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Downtown Los Angeles (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Los Angeles Evening Herald and Express photographs
Herald-Examiner Collection photographs
Wurdeman, Walter C
Becket, Welton
Gladding, McBean and Company

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