Repurposed fuel station example of preservation

| March 1, 2018 | 0 Comments

BEFORE. Gilmore gas station sat derelict even after it gained Historic-Cultural Monument status.


AFTER. Signage, lighting and oil contamination were among challenges to preserving and rehabbing the site. Photo courtesy Starbucks and Chattel, Inc. | Historic Preservation Consultants

The Los Angeles Conservancy has announced its annual Preservation Awards recipients for 2018, recognizing outstanding achievement in preservation of Los Angeles County’s architectural heritage. One winner is very local.

Gas station to fuel station

Noted as a prime example of car culture by the Conservancy, the Streamline Moderne-style Gilmore service station at Willoughby and Highland in Hollywood will be presented with one of this year’s seven project awards. The now-Starbucks location was renovated as a drive-through and walk-up coffee store, and it once again is serving as a “fuel” station, providing caffeine where it once delivered gasoline.

Built in 1935 as one of the Gilmore Oil Company’s “Red Lion” gas stations, the building had also been a location for several movie scenes, including in the 1991 “L.A. Story,” the same year the structure was declared a City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. However, the building remained vacant for 20 more years, becoming derelict, and it was damaged when a truck ran into the building’s canopies.

FARMERS MARKET Gilmore gas station display.

In 2013, Starbucks presented a plan to convert the building into one of its locations. Some of the challenges in the building’s renovation included cleaning up oil contamination, changing out the metal garage doors, and replacing the traditional neon with LED lighting. Starbucks also changed its signage to better complement the building’s design.

Arts center, hotel and more

Other project awards announced included the Freehand hotel conversion of an office building in downtown Los Angeles, Silvertop in Silver Lake, Salkin House in Echo Park, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the Lankershim Depot in North Hollywood, the Glendale Central Library, and the City of San Gabriel for updating its historic preservation and cultural resource ordinance.

The Chairman’s Award will be presented to the Hauser & Wirth building in the Arts District of Los Angeles.

The 37th annual awards will be presented at a luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel, 506 S. Grand Ave., Wed., May 2, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Visit

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Category: Real Estate

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