Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Rare Neon Sign at Vivian Apartments on Bronson Avenue

The Vivian Apartments, at 637 N. Bronson Avenue, features a rare neon sign dating back to the construction of the building in 1928.


Thanks to local historian and architectural tour guide Eric Evavold, we have learned about a rare neon sign on the Vivian Apartments at 637 N. Bronson Avenue in Larchmont Village. A simple, classical building built in 1928, the Vivian Apartments is an early example of workforce housing built in the neighborhood, with one bedroom and studio apartments for actor and actresses as well as craftsmen who worked at nearby Paramount Studios.

The three story Vivian Apartments was designed by architect Samuel B. Birds to house 44 families, according to the original building permit. It is conveniently located directly across the street from the historic Melrose gate of Paramount Studios. The gates were made famous when they were featured in the film “Sunset Blvd.”, in which aging film star Norma Desmond, played by Gloria Swanson, drives onto the lot to visit Cecil B DeMille.

Of particular note is the historic neon sign on the building, said Evavold, noting that it’s one of the earliest signs in the neighborhood.



” For the sign lovers across the world, this is a very rare neon sign,” explained Evavold. “It’s an example of extremely early neon featuring the latest neon technology incorporating tubes, as well slump glass letters which were hand poured in molds, fired, then placed on the sign to be backlit by incandescent lights. I am aware of only two other signs left in the city that are in working order and feature both kinds of technology, one on the Bradbury Building.”

The delicate filigree design on the sign is also quite rare, added Evavold. The sign was fabricated with ripped tin, commonly used made before World War II. According to Evavold, many metal signs were scrapped for the war effort but fortunately, this one remains in our neighborhood.

According to real estate websites, the building has been updated. Evavold speculated that some of the facade elements may have been simplified, but the windows and much of the building remains intact, as well as the lovely courtyard garden.


The courtyard garden at the Vivian Apartments (photo from Zillow.Com)


“This is one of several local buildings that was built in the 1920s featuring efficiencies and single bedroom units, but it’s easy to miss because of its location,” said Evavold. “I’m always fascinated to learn about these lovely buildings in our neighborhood.”

We found a listing on Zillow that had the most information. If you have more information on this lovely building, please let us know!


Vivian Apartments entry (photo from


Vivian Apartments lobby (photo from


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

Related Articles



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Latest Articles

.printfriendly { padding: 0 0 60px 50px; }