Top: (1) Sunset Blvd. looking west on the Sunset Strip at (2) Holloway Drive. (A) Mortuary building at 8814 Sunset Blvd., (B) Today’s Book Soup building. That’s the Dolores Drive-In to the right, on the future site of the Tower Records building. Inset: Ad for Utter-McKinley Mortuary from the 1940s.

It strains the imagination today but what is now the Sunset Strip was mostly a residential development in the 1920s. For example, the building at 8901 Sunset that is now the Whisky was originally a bank, and the building at 8852 Sunset that now houses the Viper Room — and was once home to the Melody Room, a famous jazz club, among a half dozen other nightclubs over the years — started life in the 1920s as Young’s Market.

Naturally, this thriving neighborhood in the 1920s would also need a mortuary. Originally called the O’Donnell Mortuary, it opened in the mid-1920s at 8814 Sunset, next door to the building that houses Book Soup today [map], at the confluence of Sunset, Holloway Drive and Horn Ave.

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