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LA’s Terminal Annex has an Interesting History

Nov 09, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Built during 1939-1940, the U.S. Post Office – Los Angeles Terminal Annex – was designed by Gilbert Stanley Underwood, an American architect best known for his National Park lodges.

Seeking to keep the design similar to Union Station, Underwood designed the Terminal Annex in both the Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival styles.

Located at 900 Alameda Street, near Union Station, the Annex from its opening day in May of 1940, was a mail processing facility that included 1,632 postal clerks, carriers, and laborers all responsible for processing 2,000,000 pieces of mail per day.

At the time, the Annex was considered a state-of-the-art building and its construction cost was over 3 million dollars.

Los Angeles Terminal Annex

The Terminal Annex has suffered more than a few tragedies over the years:

  • In 1954, two veteran postal employees were charged with being the ringleaders of two large bookmaking operations operating out of the Terminal Annex. Investigators alleged that 10-15 other employees were involved in the operations.
  • In 1970, a postal supervisor was shot and killed at the Terminal Annex by a disgruntled postal clerk. After the supervisor ordered the clerk to leave work for intoxication, the clerk waited outside the annex and shot the supervisor in the back three times as the supervisor ran toward the security desk, calling for help.
  • In 1978, a pipe bomb, wrapped in a package, exploded in a sorting room at the Terminal Annex, slightly injuring six postal workers.
  • In 1985, a malfunctioning voltage line in the basement of the Terminal Annex caused an 8-1/2 hour power blackout that halted operations at the facility. The power outage resulted in a one-day delay in the delivery of 1.5 million pieces of mail and was front-page news in the Los Angeles Times.
  • Terminal Annex Tower

  • In 1986, 12 postal workers employed at the Terminal Annex were charged as alleged pushers of both powder and rock cocaine. Source: Wikipedia

As is the case with so many business buildings, the Terminal Annex grew outdated and was too small to keep up with its growing demands.

Indeed, in 1989, the Annex was closed as a mail processing facility.

Today, the Annex is consists of a variety of offices and is frequently used as a film location.

To me, it’s a cool building, which got even cooler after I learned its history–plus the Terminal Annex was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985.

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One Response to “LA’s Terminal Annex has an Interesting History”

  1. Escott says:

    I’ve always loved that building! I’m so glad it is on the National Register! Oh, what I would give to be able to explore it, maybe climb up into those cool towers!
    There is still a post office location in the lobby, I like to walk in whenever I am in the area!

    Thanks for the history!


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