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Samson Tire Company/Uniroyal Tire/Citadel
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Samson Tire Company/Uniroyal Tire/Citadel

All photographs taken by Kenneth A. Larson. All rights reserved. © 2003 - 2017.


Once the largest manufacturing facility under one roof west of the Mississippi, the Samson Tire and Rubber Company plant, opened in May of 1930. Ground was broken on January 23, 1929, only nine months before the stock market crash of October 29, 1929.

Adolph Schleicher started Samson Tire and Rubber Company in 1918 in Compton. He chose "Samson" because it symbolized strength and endurance. For this reason, the building was designed with a Samson and Delilah motif and modeled after the 7th Century B.C. Assyrian palace of King Sargon II's. Sargon, a Babylonian King, built a 23-acre palace which happened to be the same size as the tire plant.

The plant was designed by Architects Morgan, Walls and Clements and cost $8 million. The long facade, in later years facing the I-5 freeway, was originally 1,350-foot-long and later expanded to 1,750 feet. The top of the concrete wall is crenulated and decorated with heraldic griffins and bas-reliefs of Babylonian princes carved into the stone-like concrete walls between massive pillars and towers. The design, based on Sumeria, Akkadia, and Babylonia civilizations, conveys strength and style.

Adolph Schleicher started the Samson Tire and Rubber Company in 1918. By January, 1931, US Tire and Rubber Company had acquired the Samson Tire and Rubber Company's new plant. Adolph Schleicher died in September, 1960, US Tire and Rubber Company became Uniroyal Tire in 1962, and Uniroyal closed the plant on March 3, 1978. DAON Southwest Company purchased the property in July, 1979. In 982, California State Historical Resources Commission approved the site nomination to the National Register of Historic Places. The City of Commerce purchased the property in October 1983 to prevent the building's demolition. The Trammell Crow Company was awarded exclusive right to negotiate with the City of Commerce in February 1988 and on January 25, 1990 broke ground for The Citadel Outlets, Los Angeles' first factory outlet center. Most of the 1,750-foot-long Assyrian styled wall was preserved as one side of the new mixed-use factory outlet, office complex, food court, and hotel center. The Citadel opened on November 23, 1990.

Photo Date: 12-11-77.

Photo Date: 1-28-82.

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This page last updated: Saturday, 06-Jul-2013 17:45:33 EDT

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