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Los Angeles’ mysterious architect: John Parkinson

John Parkinson
John Parkinson, originally from Scorton, designed iconic buildings in Los Angeles
Published Friday, 20 July 2018

Wyre Council is looking for information on Los Angeles’ most iconic architect, John Parkinson, originally from Scorton in Wyre.

John Parkinson was the man that designed the new-era Los Angeles as we know it today. Featured in Hollywood movies and iconic moments in history, his buildings are still standing tall.

Although born in Scorton, very little is known about the architect’s life in England before he moved to America, except that he was the son of a millworker and began his career working as a builder's apprentice, taking night classes at the Bolton Mechanics Institute.

He then moved to Winnipeg, Canada, for a fresh start and found a humble job of building fences.

He returned briefly to England but was soon back in Napa, California, where he worked as a sawmill foreman and built his own home. Impressed by the work, his landlord put him in touch with a local bank who were looking for someone to design an addition to their building.

Parkinson won the commission and was confident enough to call himself an architect from that moment on.

Stephen Gee, Author of Iconic Vision: John Parkinson, Architect of Los Angeles, commented: “John Parkinson helped define Los Angeles as a city that embraced the future.

“The iconic buildings he designed continue to define the city and are known around the world.”

Parkinson’s legacy includes the city's first skyscraper, the first luxury hotel, the Homer Laughlin Building (now home to the Grand Central Market), high-end department store Bullocks Wilshire, the Memorial Coliseum, which hosted the 1932 and 1984 Olympics, and Los Angeles' City Hall.

If you know anything of Parkinson’s early life in Wyre, please get in touch by contacting

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