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The Northwest Palace of Ashur-nasir-pal II at Nimrud

An Interactive Publication -- Prototype

page updated April 29, 2002

Samson Tire and Rubber Company (later Uniroyal) Headquarters, Los Angeles



    Adolph Schleicher started his Samson Tire and Rubber Company in a tiny wood-frame factory in Compton, choosing "Samson" because it symbolized strength and endurance.
January 1928
    Adolph Schleicher, owner of Samson Tire and Rubber Company, embarked on development of a new factory in East Los Angeles -- one that would become the largest manufacturing facility under one roof west of the Mississippi. 

    Schleicher wanted to include a Samson and Delilah motif. Thus the plant was modeled after an 8th-century B.C. ancient Assyrian palace including a 1,350-foot-long (later expanded to 1,750) crenulated concrete wall decorated with heraldic eagle-headed geniuses and bas-reliefs of Assyrian princes carved into the stone between impressive pillars and towers. The design, dedicated to the civilizations of Sumer, Akkad, Assur, and Babylon, conveys strength and style.

January 23, 1929
    Ground broke for the $8 million Samson Tire and Rubber Company plant, the largest tire manufacturing facility on the West Coast. 

    At the behest of Schleicher, the original architects (Morgan, Walls and Clements) designed the wall in the style of King Sargon II's palace. Sargon was an Assyrian King with a 23-acre palace and Schleicher's plant, coincidentally or by design, covered the same amount of land. 

    The portion of the wall that fronts the office building features geniuses, winged guardian figures. The plant entrance featured another form of genius -- winged bulls with human heads (called lamassu)-- also intended to guard the interior as those in Sargon's palace. 

May, 1930
    Samson Tire and Rubber Company plant opens with no public ceremony and with capacity to produce 6,000 tires and 10,000 tubes a day.
January, 1931
    US Tire and Rubber Company purchases and takes over the newly completed Samson Tire Company.
September, 1960
    Adolph Schleicher, owner of Samson Tire and Rubber Company dies.
    US Tire and Rubber Company becomes Uniroyal Tire.
March 3, 1978
    Uniroyal closes the plant.
July 1979
    DAON Southwest Company purchases property. 
    California State Historical Resources Commission approved the site nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.
October 1983
    City of Commerce purchases the property for $14 million as part of an effort to prevent demolition of the landmark building.
November 1989
    Trammell Crow Company signs a long-term ground lease with the City of Commerce Redevelopment Agency. 
January 25, 1990
    Trammell Crow Company breaks ground for a $118 million, 742,000 square foot mixed-use project including a factory outlet retail center, five office buildings, a food court and a 201-room Wyndham Garden Hotel. 

    Gretchen Schleicher Davis of Pasadena, CA, the eldest daughter of Adolph Schleicher, wielded the same silver shovel and pick that she used at the groundbreaking 61 years ago, nearly to the day, when the original Samson Tire and Rubber Company broke ground. 

November 23, 1990
    Citadel (strong fortress; city within a city) opens its doors with merchandise priced 30% to 70% below retail. More than 19,000 shoppers pass through the mall. 
** Data and chronology derived from the Citadel Factory Stores online at: http://www.citadelfactorystores.com/history.asp
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