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A study of architecture of the period 1869-1900 existing in Los Angeles in 1940

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A Thesis
Presented to
the Faculty of the Department of Fine Arts
University of Southern California
In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
Master of Fine Arts
Frances Burrows Flood
June 19^1
UMI Number: EP57825
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UMI EP57825
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T h is thesis, w r it te n by
....... ;-ERAHCES. . ™ fS..£LQOD........
under the direction o f Aver- F a c u l t y Co m m it te e ,
a n d a p p r o v e d by a l l its m e m b e r s , has been
presented to and accepted by the C o u n c i l on
Graduate Study and Research in pa,rtial f u l f i l l ­
m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r the de gr e e o f
................................ M&SeEEa..QE..FJNE..ABTS.
D a te
F a c u lty C om m ittee
P.®an We atherhe
C hairm an
Professor McClelland
/ 6 ^ f
THE P R O B L E M .................................
Statement of the p r o b l e m ................ *
Scope of the p r o b l e m ...................
Organization of the remainder of the
. ..............................
The founding of Los A n g e l e s .............
The Ord S u r v e y ..........................
W a t e r ....................................
Center of a c t i v i t y .....................
Typestof buildings
1869-1900 .......................
I m m i g r a t i o n .............................
1869-1900 ....................... ; . . . .
Amestoy Building ..........................
Baker B l o c k ..............................
Barclay Hotel
Bradbury Building
Brunswig Drug B u i l d i n g ...................
Douglas Building ..........................
First Christian Church ...................
Garnier Block,
Garnier Block, 415 North Los Angeles street
William H. Hoegee Building ...............
Elizabeth Hollenbeck Home
Hollenbeck Presbyterian Church ...........
Homer Laughlin B u i l d i n g .................
Klinker Building ..........................
Krutz B u i l d i n g ............................
Los Angeles Orphans’ Asylum and School . •
Lyceum Theater ............................
Music Art Studio B u i l d i n g ...............
Martz Flats
Merced Theater
Music Building, University of Southern
C a l i f o r n i a ..............................
Natick House ..............................
National Title Building ...................
Old College, University of southern Cali­
Pico House
................................. .
. . . . . . .
Pouy Fourcat Building .....................
Rees and Wirsching Building
Robarts Block ..............................
St. Vibiana's Cathedral ...................
Santa Fe S t a t i o n .........................
Sentous Block ..............................
Six Thirty-three South Main street
. . . .
Stimson B u i l d i n g ..........................
Third Church, S c i e n t i s t ...................
Veterans* Administration Facility ..........
Westminster Hotel ..........................
Wilcox B u i l d i n g .................
Willard Block ..............................
DOMESTIC A R C H I T E C T U R E ........................
Spring and second Building
Chester C. Ashley House ...................
E. J. Baldwin C o t t a g e .....................
Capen House • • • • • •
King*s Arms H o t e l ..........................
King's Arms Hotel Annex
Dr. Charles F. Lummis House, "El
A l i s a l " ................................
The Pinehurst . . .
Samuel Rees H o u s e ........................
Madame Severance House
Sibley severance House
Stimson H o u s e ............................
SUMMARY AND C O N C L U S I O N S ...................
S u m m a r y ................................
Frank Sibichi House . .
B I B L I O G R A P H Y ....................................
P L A T E S ...........................................
Amestoy B u i l d i n g ........ * .....................
Ames toy Building
Baker Block
Baker Block, center section, showing cupola
Baker Block, end s e c t i o n ...............
Baker Block, i n t e r i o r .....................
Barclay Hotel
Bradbury Building, interior
. . . . . . . . . .
•9 .
Bradbury Building, interior
. . .
Brunswig Building
Douglas Building
First Christian C h u r c h ..........................
13 •
First Christian C h u r c h ......................
Garnier Block, 509 North Main S t r e e t ..........
Garnier Block, 415 North Los
William H. Hoegee Building . . . . . . . .
Elizabeth Hollenbeck Home
Hollenbeck Presbyterian Church..
. . . . .
. .
Angeles Street
. . . . .
. .
Homer Laughlin B u i l d i n g ........ .............
Klinker Building ...............................
Krutz Building . .-.............................
Los Angeles Orphans1 Asylum andS c h o o l .........
Lyceum T h e a t e r .............. ....................
Martz P l a t s ..........................
23 • Merced T h e a t e r .........
Music Art Studio Building
Music Building, University ofSouthern
Natick House
2 9 . National Title Building
Old College, University ofSouthern California .
Pico House
Pouy Foureat B u i l d i n g ..........................
Rees and Wirshing B u i l d i n g ......................
Robarts Building
St. Vibiana’s C a t h e d r a l ........................
3 6 . Santa Fe S t a t i o n ............... .... ............
Santa Fe S t a t i o n ................................
Sentous B l o c k .............
Six Thirty-three South Main S t r e e t ..............
Third Church, Scientist
Spring and Second Building
Stimson Building
Stimson Building
Veterans1 Administration Facility
Veterans’ Administration Facility
Westminster H o t e l .............................
Westminster Hotel
. ......
Wilcox B u i l d i n g ......... ................ ..
Willard Block
Chester C. Ashley House
E. J. Baldwin C o t t a g e ........... ' ............
E.:..'J. Baldwin Coach H o u s e .....................
- 137
Capen H o u s e ...................................
K i n g ’s Arms H o t e l ..............................
King *s Arms Hotel A n n e x ........................
Dr. Charles F. Lummis House
The P i n e h u r s t .........................
5 8 . The Pinehurst, carriage house . . . . . . . . .
Samuel Rees House
Madame Severance House . . . . .
Sibley Severance House
Frank Sibichi House
63 •
Stimson H o u s e ..........
Stimson H o u s e ..................................
... . ..
Boynton Hall, Worcester Polytechnic
Washburn Shops, Worcester Polytechnic
I n s t i t u t e .............. ... ...................
De Young House, San F r a n c i s c o ................
Gertrude Atherton House, SanFrancisco ..........
As America matures its citizens realize increasing­
ly the value of the records of the nationfs beginnings and
progress, relishing the stories of the settlement and growth
of the colonies, their customs, community life, achievements,
and artistic endeavor*
They cherish this history not en­
tirely for its sentimental worth; they value its contribu­
tion to today’s achievements*
They are proud of their heri­
This American trait is intensified in localities,
for each community is gloriously proud of its symbol of
Its historians record memorable events, the
community celebrates anniversaries, and shrines are made
of buildings which stand as memorials in their
or as witnesses to
Los Angeles
chievement, for it
historic moment.
own right
exception to thispride in aits growth and accomplishments.
It expanded so quickly and tremendously, however, that the
keeping of records was often overlooked.
By inquiry into
the annals of its earlier days it is revealed that some
chronicles have been kept of the early community and its
citizens, showing tales of early conquest, customs, emigra­
tion, but not the story of the architecture through the era
in which the city was transformed from the sleepy, dusty
pueblo to a potential metropolis.
Statement of the problem.
With the transformation
of Los Angeles into one of the greatest cities in the world,
it became increasingly desirable to make available the story
of its progress in many fields, including architecture.
Buildings are a constant evidence of a city’s character.
Each structure is an experience in the growth of the city,
the record of an idea, an achievement, symbolic of a cul­
ture of an era, reflecting the artistry and craftsmanship
of the citizenry.
Each is a vault of contemporary materi­
als, tools, and knowledge.
Because of the rapid demolition
of older buildings, it was the purpose of this thesis to
record available data concerning buildings now standing
which were erected during the years 1869-1900, presenting a
representative selection of commercial, ecclesiastic, and
domestic buildings; recording dates of erection, architects,
styles, and illustrating and amplifying these data with
Scope of the problem.
The buildings included in
the study began chronoligically with the Pico House, erected
in 1869; and ended with the Douglas Building and Music Art
Studio Building, both erected in 1899.
The study was made
geographically beginning with the Plaza and its immediate
environs and extended south to the campus of the University
of Southern California, east including three examples in the
Boyle Heights district, north to Queen Anne Cottage of E.
J. Baldwin in Arcadia, and West to the Veterans1 Facility
at West Los Angeles.
"When crowded quarters at the old
City Hall put filing space at a premium, building records
up to 1906 were destroyed,^- consequently, most of the in­
formation concerning the buildings in the study was secured
through interviews with people who either owned, built,
or remembered details of the erection of a building.
personalized data were included to create a more complete
picture of the period or to recreate the personality of a
building at the time of its erection and the part it' played
in the community.
Organization of the remainder of the thesis.
Chapter One there has been an attempt to present to the
reader a picture of the problem and its values.
in Chapter Two was upon setting the stage for the curtain to
rise on Los Angeles, circa 1869, with a brief historical
background and a setting of the mood of the times.
The causes
that contributed to the growth of the city from 1869-1900
are considered in Chapter Three.
Chapter Four presents a
■*" Interview, Mr. s. S. Chrisman, December 12, 1939.
brief survey of architecture in the United States during the
period 1869-1900.
Chapter Five lists the buildings, other
than domestic, used in this study and records the date of
erection, the names of the architects when available, and
other historical data which enliven the picture or purpose
to interest the reader.
Chapter Six deals in like manner
with the domestic architecture of the period.
includes comment on, and analysis of, the architectural
Chapter Seven summarizes the study.
Flates which
illustrate the findings and comments of Chapters Five and
Six follow.
The founding of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles is one of
the few cities in the United states that was founded pur­
Most cities spread on sites selected originally
for their suitability for a farm, or a mill, or a trading
Los Angeles came into existence by decree of Carlos
III, the King of Spain, as the result of a well-laid plan
to colonize Upper California.
At this time, Jose de Galvez,
who was the visitador general, or inspector, of Mexico with
powers second only to the king himself, and Father Juniperro
Serra, president of the California district of the Fran­
ciscan Order, met to direct expeditions for the colonization
as instructed by Carlos III.'*'
The expedition which reported the. site of Los A.ngeles
as a likely one for colonization was under the direction of
Gaspar de Portola.
Father Crespi, who accompanied the expedi­
tion, kept a diary in which he recorded that the soil of
this location was capable of producing every kind of grain
Charles JJwight Willard, The Herald* s Story of Los
Angeles city (Los Angeles: Kingsley-Barnes and Neuner Com­
pany^ rsoi), p . 36•
Laurance L. Hill, La Reina, Los Angeles in Three
Centuries (Los Angeles: Security Trust and Savings Bank,
1929), p. 6.
and fruit which could be planted.
Because it was on the
second day of August, which is the special feast day of Our
Lady of the Angels in the Roman Catholic calendar, that the
expedition passed through this site, the settlement was
named for the day.
Felipe de Neve, who was made Governor in 1776, was
struck with the inefficiency of bringing all the supplies
for the presidios by boat from ban Bias, Mexico, when
California was reputed to be so fertile; so a group of
settlers was sought in Mexico who were strong and healthy,
of good character, and agriculturally inclined.
The group
was to include a mason, a carpenter, and a blacksmith.
Twelve families were secured and brought overland to Los
Angeles, one family being lost on the way.
four individuals in this group.
There were forty-
They comprised the original
With procession and due ceremony, including a
formal speech by Governor de Neve, the founding of the city
was completed on September 4, 1781. 4
Thirty-six square miles constituted the pueblo, which
was laid out on the plaza plan, the plaza being 275 feet by
180 feet.
Each house faced the common square, the building
lots having a 55-foot frontage, while beyond were pasture
Willard, op. c it., pp. 45-46.
Ibid., pp. 68-75.
One side was reserved for public build.ings--a town
hall, granary, and guard house.
House-lots faced the plaza
on the north, west, and south, and the whole pueblo was
surrounded by a cattle-proof adobe wall.
Each settler was
permitted to cultivate two seven-acre tracts outside the
residential district,
and free range for stock was per­
mitted. on pueblo land.
The plan for land-ownership within
the pueblo specified that within three years a good adobe
house should have been erected on each property; that each
farm should have chickens and growing crops within four
Within the first year three families were expelled
because they were judged useless, as they neither contributed
to the advancement of the community nor appeared to derive
any benefit for themselves.
This left nine families who in
1786 were presented with deeds to their homes.
Of the
architecture of the founders no traces remain.
It is interesting to note that while Los Angeles was
founded principally because Governor de Neve wanted to make
it unnecessary to import supplies from San B ia s, Mexico, by
1800 wheat had become so plentiful in Los Angeles that the
pueblo began negotiations with San Bias for exporting the
Hill, op. cit., p. 13.
Loc. cit.
surplus to it. 7
The Qrd survey.
In 1849, the pueblo governing body,
called the ayuntamiento, requested Governor Mason to send
an Army engineer to make a survey of Los Angeles.
E. 0. C. Ord, of the United States Topographical Engineers,
came in response to this request, and made his famous "Plan
de la Ciudad de Los Angeles," which was the first American
official survey.
Shown on Lieutenant O rd’s map, the southern boundary
of the pueblo was Pico street, the western boundary was
Figueroa street,
then known as the street of the Grass­
hoppers, and later as Pearl street,
the eastern boundary was
the river, while San Fernando street (later Upper Main
Street) depot bound.ed the north.
Three streets were named
Faith, Hope, and Charity, of which only Hope retains its
Faith was changed to Flower, while Charity became
Broadway was named Fort street after the fort built
the year before O r d ’s survey.
Both English and. Spanish
names appear on the map.
When the survey was completed and a degree of order
Willard, op. cit., p. 100.
Lanier Bartlett and Virginia stivers, Los Angeles
in seven Days (New York: Robert M. McBride and Company,
1932)/ p. 4.
had been achieved in the arrangement of the streets, some
owners found their houses in the middle of a thoroughfare,
or themselves obliged, to go through other men's property
to get to the street.
The Common Council permitted owners
to claim a right of way to the thoroughfare nearest their
Lieutenant Ord made the Common Council two propo­
sitions from which to choose in payment for his services:
three thousand dollars in coin; or fifteen hundred dollars
in coin, ten lots which he might select, and one thousand
varas (which would approximate five city blocks).
Council chose to pay the three thousand dollars.
president of the Council said, in regard to the decision,
that any one of the lots would be worth three thousand
dollars one day,"^ which was an understatement, for some lots
sold for more than that sum a front foot.
In the 1840's
lots were sold for approximately eight dollars for one
hundred feet on Aliso and Main streets as well as elsewhere,
and many of these lots are now worth more than one hundred
Boyle workman, The City That Grew, 1840-1936
(Los Angeles: The southland Publishing Company, 1935),
p . 13.
Ibid., p . 14.
thousand dollars.
Horses were the principal means of
transportation for over a hundred years after Los Angeles
was founded.
The accepted vehicle was a crude, two-wheel
carreta, which consisted of a wooden platform set on two
wheels cut out of solid logs, drawn hy oxen, and sometimes
shaded by canopies of cloth.
John Butterfield contracted with the United states to
carry mail between ban Francisco and the Missouri River,
the route going through Los Angeles, thereby undoubtedly
establishing the longest continuous stage-line, the entire
length being about 2,880 miles.
The Butterfield stages
began running in September, 1858.
Three packets plied between San Francisco and ban
Diego, stopping at Wilmington, and stage coaches from Wil­
mington to Los Angeles delivered the passengers who had
Don Abel Stearns owned the first carriage in town,
which, it is said, he imported from Boston in 1853 to please
Dona Arcadia, his wife.
General F1remont,s wife owned one
of the first carriages in California.
This carriage was
built to order in the East and shipped around the Horn.
Harris Kewmark, Sixty Years in Southern California
1853-1913 (New York: The Kn i hkerbo eke r Press, T926J7 p . 234.
was constructed so that it could he fitted up as a bed,
making it possible for Mrs. Fremont and her daughter to camp
wherever night overtook them.
Los Angeles depended on San Francisco for nearly all
supplies except live-stock until the completion of the
trans-continental railroad in 1876.
In the 1840*s and ’50*3,
schooners plied irregularly between San Francisco and San
Pedro, while steamers made comparatively regular trips, at
first twice a month, later more frequently.
Shortly before
1855 a stage-line was inaugurated, running from San Fran­
cisco along the coast to San Diego.
The first wagon was made by John G-oller, soon after
1849, but the natives looked upon it with distrust and it
was some time before it was adopted for use.
The first
velocipede made its appearance on April 25, 1869, and became
a much-used vehicle.
There were mule-teams used in shipping
ore and freight, utilizing from twelve to twenty or more
mules. Hacks and omnibuses first came into service in
about which time a railroad line was established
between Los Angeles and San Pedro.
Camel transports, used
by the government to cross the desert, arrived for the first
Ibid., pp. 85-86.
Ibid., p. 83.
Ibid., p. 389.
time in Los Angeles on January 8, 1858, 15
Water has always been the life-blood of Los
Had there been no .river here when Portola's ex­
pedition passed through, no consideration would have been
given the location.
In the decade, 1800-1810, the padres
of the San Fernando Mission were accused by the people of
Los Angeles of diverting some of the water of the Los
Angeles River by means of a dam above the Cahuenga.
Governor held that if the dam interfered with the pueblo*s
supply, it must be removed since the water of the river belonged to the colonists. ^
Water was one of the first rights for which this city
fought when the state was admitted into the Union in 1850.
Water was so important that the government had to pass
upon the riparian rights of communities and individuals,
and cultivated lands under irrigation were the only lands of
any value in the district. 17
The method.s of distribution of water through the town
were primitive for many years.
In the very early pueblo
days, the Indians carried water by means of a yoke across
Ibid., p. 222.
Charles Dwight Willard, The Herald* s Story of
Los Angeles City (Los Angeles: Kingsley-Barnes and Neuner
Company, 19017, p. 121.
Workman, op. cit., pp. 72-73.
their shoulders,
from each end of which hung an earthern
Later, a zanja was built.
This was a ditch filled
with water diverted from the river near Elysian Park, evi­
dences of which are to be seen on West Adams Boulevard,
where in at least one lawn, the unfilled cement-lined
ditch remains. 18
It was customary to open the zanja gate
and flood the lawns at night because the water rates were
For d.omestic use, water was delivered by cart, one
of the early purveyors being u Bill, the Water-Man,” who
distributed water by means of a barrel fastened to four
The price of this service was fifty cents a week
for one bucket of water per day for six days a week, for
Bill made no deliveries on Sunday.
Bill got the water for
his barrel from the river and the zanja, both of which were
used for bathing and washing clothes, while cattle and teams
forded the river daily. 19
Some houses had a v/ater tower, or a tank on the top
floor where water was stored, especially at night, the
height of the tank adding pressure when used.
Water towers
may still be seen at the Childs1 house, on the southwest
Capen House, 818 West Adams Boulevard.
Workman, op. cit., p. 74.
corner of North Arlington and West Adams, at the home of
Miss Sarah E. S. Shankland, 710 West 27th Street, and at
the home of Dr. Rufus B. von Kleinsmid, 10 Chester Place.
Agriculturists had to pay well for any water they
They would contract for a certain amount, and the
zanjero would divert the water from the zanja into the
purchaser1s fields for the specified time.
stealing of water at night,
There was much
so that guarding the zanjas
was an important part of the pueblo administration, and
in 1849 a department was organized to operate the zanja.
By 1861 the office of Zanjero was an exalted post, the salary
being $100, while the Mayor and City Treasurer received $75
and $50 respectively.
Many difficulties were encountered before an adequate
water system was established.
In 1857 a franchise was
granted to supply spring water, but the floods of 1862 and
1868 swept away the equipment.
Shortly after 1865 pipe
lines made of pine thees, with holes bored through their
length, were laid down Macy Street and throughout the
business section as far as First Street; but they proved un­
satisfactory since the pipes rotted and leaked, and produced
large mud holes.
Several attempts were made to establish
op. cit., p. 302
some reliable type of water supply, many people undertaking
the task.
Later, iron pipes were laid down Main and Spring
Streets from a brick reservoir located in the center of the
plaza; but these, too, were ¥/ashed out.
In 1868 a 30-year contract was obtained by three
men to furnish water to the city, the letting of this con­
tract causing much heated civic controversy.
The issue
as to whether there should be private or municipal owner­
ship of the water supply came to a climax in June, 1868, when
the election of two members of the Common Council was based
on this Issue.
Private ownership was the result, and the
Los Angeles City Water Company was organized.*"
When its
contract expired in 1898, the city purchased the equipment,
and the system has since been municipally owned.
Center of activity.
Business activity centered
around Commercial street, between Main and Los Angeles
The plaza, the neucleus of the original settle­
ment, was the center of social life in the community with
many of the houses clustered, around and north of the Plaza
C h u r c h . M a i n and San Pedro streets were the chief resi-
Workman, op. c i t ., pp. 76-88.
Ibid., p. 33.
op. cit., pp. 97-100.
dential sections during the ^O's, while Spring Street was
only beginning to he popular for homes.
Many houses, facing
Main street, ran through to spring Street, with their
stables on. the spring Street side. 24
About 1876 the bulk of the American and European
population lived on Fort Street (now Broadway) between First
and Third streets, on Aliso between Los Angeles Street
and the river, and on Main and Spring Streets between First
and Fourth Streets.
Types of buildings.
Adobe was the principal building
material in Los Angeles before 1869 and dictated a simple,
functional structure.
The walls were very thick, making
windowsills so wide that they were sometimes put to use as
Flat roofs were prevalent, most of them being
covered with tar imported from the north or obtained, from
the La Brea pits,
though some roofs were of tile, which
came from the missions; examples are: the old church, the
Carrillo home, Jose Maria Abila’s residence, Vincente San­
two-story adobe south of the plaza, and the Alvarado
house on First s t r e e t . ^
After interference with the missions
Hill, op. cit., p. 52.
Workman, op. cit., p. 117.
--Newmark, op. cit., p. 114.
Ibid., p . 115.
by Figueroa in 1834, the missions ceased to produce, and
no more tiles were made; for at this time, little work was
done outside the missions.
The buildings'were rectangular or a flattened Ushape, and were invariably provided with patios and corri­
There were no basements under houses, and floors were
frequently earthen.
Most adobes were one story in height,
although there were a few two-story buildings,
in which case
the second story was* reached from the outside, and the
veranda was also double-storied.
One of the two-story adobes still standing, that of
Don Vincente Lugo, faces the plaza and is now occupied by
Chinese merchants.
The home of Don Jose Maria Abila, a
one-story adobe, still stands, having been rehabilitated
through the efforts of Mrs. Christine Sterling and a group
of civic-minded citizens.
The first brick building was erected in 1853 on the
west side of Main Street at Third.
Captain Jesse Hunter,
using his own kiln, the first in Los Angeles, was the
builder, and Mayor Nichols, the owner.
In 1853 or 154 brick
was used for the town jail, which was the first building
erected by the public in Los Angeles County.
This was lo-
28 Ibid., p. 113.
Willard, op. cit., p. 295.
cated at the northeast corner of Spring and Franklin Streets.
Brick increased in favor as a building material, and in 1859
thirty-one buildings were constructed of b r i c k . ^
About 1858 there were also two corrugated iron
buildings, probably the earliest T,fireproofn buildings in
Los Angeles, at the site of the present corner of Spring and
Court Streets.
The first two-story frame dwelling was
erected in 1874 by Mr. J. M. Griffith, the lumberman.
In 1834 Governor Figueroa and his staff would have
made an official call, but Los Angeles had no place to house
Even while Los Angeles was the capital of California,
during the last half of the decade, 1830-1840, it had no
hotel, though a guardhouse and a church had been built.
is interesting that the first notable construction work was
done by a Yankee, Joseph Chapman, who built the first waterrun grist mill and the Plaza Church.
Los Angeles acquired its first saw and planing-mills
when in 1861 a lumberyard was established by Perry and
'Z 'Z
The first marble-cutter to open a workshop
Newmark, op. cit., p. 256.
Ibid., p. 120.
Ibid., p. 466.
Newmark, op. c i t ., p . 81.
was a man by the name of Miller, who began work toward the
end of 1869.
Prior to this time all marble work had come
from yan Francisco or from places farther away. 34
Little of this early building remains, adobe giving
way to brick, wood, and stone.
The honest simplicity of
the adobe structures yielded to the incongruous complexities
of the Victorian, Gothic, and French styles.
were superceded by shingles.
Tile and brea
Towers, bay windows, metal
cresting, jigsaw and lathe work, and stained glass soon
made their appearance in Los Angeles as in every American
Ibid., p . 406
The event that contributed most ob­
viously to the phenomenal growth of Los Angeles was the ad­
vent in 1876 of the southern Pacific Railroad which caused
much heated controversy.
The concessions demanded by the
railroad were considered exhorbitant by many; but, having
seen towns shrivel and die when shunned by the railroad,
the far-sighted citizens of Los Angeles who realized the
importance of communication and commerce with the outside
world, persuad.ed the community to accept the Southern Paci­
fic's terms.
The value of this agency of transportation
cannot be overestimated in the growth of Los Angeles.
There was a short line to San Pedro, called the Los
Angeles and San Pedro Railroad., which began service October
6, 1869.
This was a great convenience and added to the
pleasure of the citizens of Los Angeles, but had no effect
on the increase of population in the city.
The first hackney coach ever built in Los Angeles
appeared in September, 1870, having been built by John Goller
for J. J. Reynolds for the sum of $1,000.
About the same
time the Oriental Stage Company brought twelve new Concord
coaches from the East*^
Immigration to Los Angeles was ex­
tremely slow until the coming of the Southern Pacific Rail­
road in 1876.
Before this event the arrival of a stranger
was of such moment that records tell of each individual who
arrived, his occupation, and whom he married.
The Yankees,
the first of whom was Joseph Chapman, brought a new strain
of vigor, a faster tempo of accomplishment.
"Manana" was
truly a foreign word to these hardy adventurers.
Shortly after the Southern Pacific came to Los
Angeles, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway Company
entered the city, in 1885.
A disagreement followed between
the railroads and a price war ensued, with the result that
in 1886 it was possible to come from the East to Los Angeles
for one dollar.
This induced thousands of people to come,
many of whom remained.
A "boom" started, with land values
increasing 300 per cent and over,
and new towns sprang
into precarious existence over night.
When the bubble
deflated in 1887, it brought misery and loss to thousands,
Harris Newmark, Sixty Years in southern California,
1853-1915-(New York: The Knickerbocker Press, IU26), p. 417.
Laurance Hill, La Reina, Los Angeles in Three
Centuries (Los Angeles: Security Trust and Savings Bank,
1929), p. 76.
and many people re-turned to the East.
It was at this time
that the Chamber of Commerce was founded to circumvent this
tremendous exodus.
Mr. Graves says that in 1830 there were forty people
in Los Angeles who were not native Californians, the reason
for the scarcity in population being attributed to the city’s
The city was scarcely more accessible
until the coming of the trans-continental railroad in 1876,
although increasing numbers of immigrants braved the hard­
ships of the journey by stage-coach or sea-going vessel.
Traveling was beset with hardship in those d.ays, uncomfor­
table, and. threatened with danger by Indians and robbers.
On August 21, 1869, the mail stage was robbed just two miles
outside of Los Angeles.
It is generally contended that the building
of churches and schools goes hand in hand with civic growth.
If this be true, it offers an explanation -for the lack of
progress in Los Angeles in the period preceding 1869.
by the Methodists in 1853, followed by the Presbyterians,
and then the Episcopalians, futile attempts were made to
J. A. Graves, My seventy Years in California
(Los Angeles: Times Mirror Press, 1927), p . 97.
Newmark, op. cit., p. 394.
hold religious services and establish churches*
Reverend Adam Bland, sent to Los Angeles by the Cali­
fornia Methodist Conference, rented the most pretentious
saloon in the town, "El Dorado," and converted the place
into a chapel.
In the same building his wife maintained a
school, called the Methodist Chapel school.
Bland and his wife carried on gallantly in the face of dis­
couragement, and plans were made to build a brick church
that was to cost $500, but the enterprise was abandoned
and Reverend Bland recalled.
A church was erected in 1857 on the corner of New
High and Temple Streets', as the result of community organi­
zation, but was soon put to other uses.
In 1865 the Epis­
copalians purchased this building, established their organi­
zation on a firm basis, and have flourished ever since.
abandonment of this field by the Protestant sects during the
late ’5 0 ’s gives some indication of the moral darkness that
hung over the city at that time*®
Protestantism was firmly
established in the city in the Mte> f7 0 ’s and ’8 0 ’s and
churches to house their congregations were erected.
Boyle ’
Workman, The City That Grew, 1840-1956
(Los Angeles: The Southland Publishing Company, 1935), p. 53.
Charles D. Willard, The Herald’s Story of Los
Angeles: Kingsley-Barnes and Neuner Company, 1§0TT, pp.
To appreciate what this meant to Los Angeles, one
must understand that between 1850 and 1870 Los Angeles was
known to be the toughest frontier town in the United States.
In the 1850's the riff-raff from the gold fields drifted to
Los Angeles and hindered moral, material, and. intellectual
growth, for twenty years; and during most of this time the
town contained a larger percentage of bad characters than
any other city, and for its size had the largest number of
fights, murders, lynchings, and robberies.
With much
practice, the local vigilantes developed an expert technique
in catching and executing offenders, especially if it seemed
that the law might allow them to escape.
Vasquez, California's most famous bandit, ranged the
state with his band from 1863 to 1874, generally making his
headquarters in the southern region.
He was captured in
the Cahuenga in 1874 and hanged the next year.
The lawlessness of the towrn came to a climax with
the Chinese massacre of October 4, 1871, which brought the
town to a realization of cond-itions.
The pendulum of pub­
lic, opinion then swung so far to the side of rectitude as
to bring about a Sunday-closing law, and in 1889 the
^ rbid., p . 279.
Ibid., p. 321.
gambling hoixses were all closed.
Thus the city grew physically,
spiritually and
morally, unaware that it was destined to become one of the
metropoli of the world.
Ibid., p. 341,
It is not surprising that less has been written about
this era in American architecture than of the years or following.
American taste was at low ebb, and
the architecture of this period is as much a measure of the
level of life of the times as its literature, its politics,
its economic standards.
The lusty oratory of the day,
replete with gestures and flowery but meaningless phrases,
parallels its architecture, if the integrity o'f the word
may be discredited by using it to describe the buildings of
this period with their chaotic conglomeration of forms,
excess of meaningless ornament, cheap imitations.
Within the years of this study was an epoch in the
history of American culture beginning with the Philadelphia
Centennial in 1876 and terminating with the Chicago World*s
Pair in 1893.
The European displays of fine, beautifully-
executed merchandise at the Philadelphia Gentennial sewed
the seeds of discontent in the smug minds of American citizens
who had been complacently unaware of the crudeness and poor
taste evident in American products.
The very buildings in
which the Centennial was housed v/ere the consummation of
every violation of good taste in architecture.
In the seven­
teen years which intervened., the ferment of taste-culture
started by the Centennial matured, and the Fair became the
symbol which marked the arrival of the beginning of modern
American architecture.
But in the interval, in American cities all over the
country, architecture was having a carnival.
As lawless
and as unsound as the economic practices of the times, in
which booms and. panics and wildcat promotions were everyday
the architectural profession demanded no for­
mal training; even the number who received apprentice train­
ing as draftsmen was meager.
The designer of the majority
of buildings was the carpenter.
Because books of fine architectural forms were rare,
the American builder used as his copy-book editions of
architectural forms published by other American builders
who called themselves architects.
House-plan books sold
by ”architects'1 were in great demand,
their plan's combining
all the worst elements of "Italian,” "Gothic,” and "Queen
Anne,”*with the heavier types of Louis XIV work.^
advertisement in one of these plan books
was ”A design
^ Talbot Faulkner Hamlin, The Pageant of America.
The American Spirit in Architecture (New Haven: Yale Uni­
versity Press’^ 1936) , p. 155.
Marcus Fayette Cummings, Mod.ern American Architec­
ture (Toledo, Ohio: S. Bailey and. Company^ 1868), 36 pp.,
54 pis.
patented by C. Graham and bon, architects of Elizabeth, New
There is an elevation of a house showing a com­
bination of many styles and much ornamentation, under which
is printed
The above cut represents a design . . . which may be
applied to French roofs of any size or description,
forming a great and acknowledged improvement in the
ornamentation of French roofs--destroying the monotony
of continuous slating, and presenting to the eye a
beautiful, bold, and characteristic feature--particularly adapted for fronts of smaller cottages, as repre­
sented in cut. Designs furnished embodying said patent
in various designs.
Also plans, specifications and
working drawings for the same. Also the right to use
said patent design.3
The 11cut" is a three-story house with mansard roof which
has mosaic-patterned bands in slate, and cresting of metal,
fantastic piazza posts, et cetera.
The Art Journal published in New York 1876-1879 also
showed sketches of f!Ideal" houses, exterior and interior.
One such illustration shows an elevation of a house with
much unnecessary banding and paneling,
curved-bottom shingles
and observatory tower, based largely on the contemporary
Large panes were supplanted by small ones, some
of colored glass.
Books of designs published in 1875 by
G. B. Croff contain illustrations of buildings typical of
the times.
The designerfs object seems to have been to
Cummings, l o c . cit.
assemble the greatest possible variety in windows and jig-saw
detail and to break every consistency and continuity of
style or composition.
In Los Angeles the same undisciplined spirit pre­
vailed, particularly in the smaller commercial buildings and
For the more important buildings, architects
were imported from New York or ban Francisco, and their work
indubitably Influenced local builders.
Of the architects' in the United States who had studied
abroad, each showed a preference for a different historic
Richard Morris Hunt,
the first American architect to
receive training in the Ecole des Beaux Arts, in Paris,
employed Neo-Grec or Francis I; Henry Hobson Richardson used
Byzantine and Romanesque.
Ware and Van Brunt, and Upjohn
and Haight used Victorian Gothic, while James Renwick pre­
ferred Ueo-Gothic.
Evidences of all these styles were found In architecture of the era in Los Angeles, as well as elsewhere, and
whether the work of these trained men was imitated or whether
the forms were copied from plan books is debatable, but
Inquiry points to the latter, since so frequently several
styles were combined..
Certainly very few of the architects
practising in Los Angeles at the time had seen the original
work of these nationally respected architects.
It was
said^ that Los Angeles builders attempted to imitate the
styles of architecture found in San Francisco at this time.
Two plates of extant buildings in San Francisco (See Pis.
67 and 68) are included in this study, and similarity is
There was some travel back and forth from San
Francisco, especially by those members of the citizenry who
were financially able to employ architects.
John C. Austin
spent three years in San Francisco after his arrival in
the United States from England, Julius W. Krause was born
in san Francisco, and undoubtedly other builders visited,
or worked, in that city long enough to be influenced by
its styles.
Octavius Morgan, a native of Canterbury,
England, who arrived in Los Angeles in 1874,
probably made
San Francisco his first port of call on the west coast.
Some architects who practised in Los Angeles during
the years 1869-1900 were: E. F. Kysor, Octavius Morgan,
Herbert and Buchanan, Gurlett Eisen and Cuthbertson, Count
Opponyi, Boring, Haas and Caulkins, C. Ii. Brown, W. R.
Norton, James H. Bradbeer, Walter Ferris, R. B. Young, John
Hall, A. F. Rosenheim, Paul Haupt, A. M. Edelman, John C.
^ .Interview, Mr. Phil Townsend Hanna, November 17,
Harris Newmark, Sixty Years in southern California,
1853-1913 (New York: The Knickerbocker Press, r9"26), p"“ 469.
Austin, Sumner Hunt, Frederick L. Roehrig, John Parkinson,
Julius W. Krause.®
Listed in Builder and Contractor for
Wednesday, March 7, 1894, were and Ferris, John
P. Krempel, James H. Bradbeer, John A. -Walls, Fred R. Dorn,
Hugh Todd, W. J. A. Anderson, Seymour R. Locke, Edwin P.
Carnicle, Frank D. Hudson, T. W. Parkes, William R. Bell.^
Los Angeles Times, Sunday morning, December 4,
1881, in “Professional Cards” column.
Builder and Contractor, March 7, 1894.
The buildings described in Chapter Five were selected
as representative of architecture of the period 1869-1900 in
Los Angeles.
Space prohibited the inclusion of all extant
buildings of the era,
Amestoy Building, 555 South Main Street, northeast
corner of Main and Market Streets.
As a decorative memorial
to the era when unadorned functionalism was not of primary
stands this Victorian Gothic effusion of many
bays, much embellishment, and two towers, one of which is
surmounted with four false chimneys.
Added to the exuber­
ance of this style, as found throughout the United States
during this period, is the extravagance engendered by the
"boom," at its height in Los Angeles when the Amestoy Build­
ing was erected., 1887.
Its many brackets, panels, and
window frames are decorated with machine-carving in the
popular Eastlake style.
It was erected the same year as the
Westminster Hotel, at Main and Fourth, and is so similar in
style as to suggest that one architect designed both.
B. Young designed the Westminster Hot el.
Interview, Mr. A. M. Edelman, December 12, 1959.
The Ames toy hull ding is of brick and wood, and is
said to be the first building in Los Angeles to use a steel
frame for the first floor, the steel being supplied by the
Baker Iron Works.
The attic of this building was used for
some time as the Chamber of the Supreme Court.
Baker Block, 546 North Main Street.
modeled after the,Hotel de Ville in Paris
Erected in 1878,
(in much sim­
plified form), this was a building extraordinary for Los
There are Mansard towers at each end, embellished
with traditional swag and wreath, and an impressive central
tower with octagonal dome.
The facade is o.ivided into three
horizontal bands by continuous cornices.
The center entrance
is mildly emphasized by a small pediment at the roof line
under which are grouped a pair of triple-arched windows.
From the center pediment to each end are evenly-spaced ver­
tical divisions, achieved on the second floor by attached
columns, on the third floor by pilasters.
On the second floor
variety is secured by alternating three single-arched windows
with three pairs of arched windows, while on the third floor
Interview, Mr. Joe Amestoy, January 22, 1940.
Lanier Bartlett and Virginia stivers, Los Angeles
in Seven Days (New York: Robert M. McBride and Company,
1932), p. 53.
a pair alternates with a single window and the arch is
The light well in the center of the interior is
filled with a staircase of much elegance, the stairs rising
on right and left to join in a single flight to the third
Expansive halls extend to 'right and left off the
well on each floor.
This building was the scene of many social events of
the era and its apartments were much sought after by social
The owner, Colonel Robert 3. Baker, and his wife
Arcadia, maintained their apartment at the north end of the
third floor, and. frequently entertained visiting celebrities.
Other apartments opened from the broad gallery around the
stair well.
Once a year, when open-house was observed by
all the occupants, there was dancing on the spacious
n *.
The first floor was occupied by shops.
Mr. J. A.
Graves says that the building was begun too late, for by the
time it was finished business was moving further south.
Graves was the agent for the building and had. his offices
there until 1904.^
The lfPalaciorl of Don Abel Stearns, Arcadia Baker1s
Interview, Mrs. Boyle Workman, March 13, 1940.
J. A. Graves, My Seventy Years in California (Los
Angeles: Times Mirror Press’
"^ 1927), p. 114.
first husband, was demolished to make way for the Baker
The architects were Buchanan and Herbert, thought
to be an Eastern firm.
Mr. Graves refers to a "successful
shoot with Mr. S. H. Buchanan, an architect here" in the
winter of 1878.*^
Barclay Hotel, 103 West Fourth Street, northwest
corner of Main and Fourth Streets.
Erected in 1896, this
building was named the Van Nuys Hotel.
Its architect was
Octavius Morgan, one of the few English-trained architects
who practised in Los Angeles,
its style, Neo-Renaissance.
The facade is divided by four-story pilasters,
the square­
ness of the fenestration relieved by arched windows on the
top floor.
This is one of the earliest evidences in Los
Angeles architecture of ornamentation subordinated to form.
The ornament is used sparingly, but effectively.
Many distinguished guests were entertained at the Van
Nuys Hotel since it was then considered the best hotel in
Los Angeles.
When President McKinley visited Los Angeles,
he was welcomed by Mayor Snyder from the portico that prog
Interview, Mr. A. M. Edelxnan, December 12, 1939.
Graves, l o c . cit.
Interview, Mr. A. M. Edelman, December 12, 1940.
jected from the second floor.^
The first floor, once en­
tirely occupied by a pretentious lobby, has been divided
into shops.
Bradbury Building, 504 South Broadway.
Built in
1 8 9 3 ^ by John Bradbury, this building holds a unique place
in Los Angeles architecture for the treatment of its interior.
The rooms open off corridors which surround a light-well.
The walls are of glazed terra cotta brick, which reflect and
increase the light.
The balcony-like corridors and stairs
are railed with ornamental cast-iron.
Two elevators operate
on either side of the well, and are enclosed in cages of
cast-iron grille work, through which the elevator may be seen
as it journeys from first to fifth floor.
Sumner H unt .
The architect was
Brunswig Drug Building, 501 North Main Street, north­
west corner of Main and Republic Streets.
The handy
builders’ plan book was apparently put to use in designing
this facade, with details selected at random.
The windows
at either end of the top floor have the squat rounded arch
Interview, Mr. Boyle Workman, March 13, 1940.
Assessment Rolls.
Interview, Mr. A. M. Edelman, December 12, 1940.
of the Richardson-Romanesque, while the third floor windows
are embellished with the products of the lathe— the spindles
and posts, so popular in America in the Brown Decades*
While the forms employed in the fenestration are confusing,
the general effect is much less over-embellished than many
buildings of this period,
such as the Sentous Block,
Puoy Pourcat Building, or the Robarts Block.
Erected in 1883, this building was originally a room­
ing house,
the interior being remodeled for the occupancy of
the drug company.
The first automatic sprinkler system in
Los Angeles, the G-rinnell system, was installed in this
building .
Douglas Building, 257 South Spring Street, northwest
corner of Spring"and Third Streets.
ing is set at approximately 1899.
The date of this build­
Thomas Douglas Stimson,
who died, in 1898, had planned to erect a building on this
site; so, immediately after his death, the Estate went for­
ward with the construction.
Reed Brothers, of San Francisco,
known at the time as the finest architects of office build­
ings in the United States, were engaged.
When completed,
the Douglas Building was considered the best office building
in Los Angeles, and brought the highest rentals.
It was
Interview, Mr. Thomas stone, publisher California
Druggist and associated v*rith the Brunswig Drug Company.
named for Mr. Stimson, using his middle name.
An outstanding building on the day of its birth,
holds a creditable place on its forty-first birthday.
of all ornamentation except that found over the secondfloor windows, and the cornice, this building was a forecast
in brick of the school of functionalism, already begun in
the work of Sullivan.
First Christian Church, 1059 South Hope street, north­
west corner of Hope and Eleventh Streets.
This is an almost
perfect example of the Zeitgeist of the last of the nine­
teenth century in America--Gothic expressed in wood.
Italian influence found in the Victorian Gothic is pronounced
in the Corinthian capitals, the Renaissance embellishment
over the doorways.
The lack of texture in the material has
been overcome by the fish-scale surface on the front facade,
while the a r c h i t e c t s
ingenuity provided the organ-pipe
columns bounding the spire, the flutings emphasizing the per­
pendicular line.
Employing the symbols of the service of
the edifice in its structure demonstrates the sentimental
approach to architecture of the Mauve Decades.
The Lecture Room was dedicated on July 1, 1894, and
the Auditorium on the first L ord ’s Day in September, 1897.
Interview, Mr. C. W. Stimson, January 19, 1940.
The architect was John C. Austin. 14Oarnier Block, 509 North Main Street, on the Plaza.
Done in the same style as the adjoining building, the
Brunswig Building, which was erected in 1883, the Garnier
Block is unquestionably of the same era.
This was the
site of the town house of General Andres Pico, whose country
estate was the San Fernando Mission, during the administra­
tion of his brother, Pio Pico, California1s last Mexican
Garnier Block, 415 North Los Angeles street.
in 1890, its style is unprepossessing, with its cornice of
medieval character the only distinguishing feature.
To the
left of the Garnier Block^as shown in Plate 15 is the
Jennette Block, erected in 1888.
William H. Hoegee Building, 158 south Main street.
Erected in 1880, this building was originally known as the
11Crystal Palace'1 when it was occupied by the Meyberg
The building runs through to Los Angeles Street
and. boasts a ten-foot high balcony on the north interior
The ornamental panels are an unusual treatment of a
Church Fiecords.
^ Lanier Bartlett and Virginia stivers, Los Angeles in
Seven Days (New York: Robert M. McBride and Company^ 1932),
pp. 37 and 253.
facade in Los Angeles at this time.
They are vaguely sug­
gestive of a Sullivanesque decoration, such as that of the
Wainwright Building in saint Louis, but since Sullivan was
but twenty-four when this was built the motif found source
elsewhere, probably in the contemporary Crafts movement in
The first local display of home products, sponsored
by the Merchants and Manufacturers Association in May, 1896,
was arranged in this building, then occupied by Meyberg
Elizabeth Hollenbeck Home, 575 South. Boyle Avenue.
Erected by Mrs. Elizabeth Hollenbeck as a memorial to her
husband, John Edward Hollenbeck, the cornerstone of this
building was laid in September, 1895.
The group of buildings
now standing represent a cost of over ^800,000,
occupying thirteen and. one-half acres.
the grounds
This marks the first
appearance of the Mission style in any important building in
Los Angeles.
Arthur Benton inaugurated and furthered atten­
tion to the revival of this style with his Riverside Mission
Inn a few years earlier; and, recognized as indigenious to
Southern California and. well suited to its climate, the style
Interview, Mr. Dougherty (Wm. H. Hoegee Co.),
Leonard J. Meyberg, and Manfred Meyberg.
was adopted for many buildings in the a r e a . ^
Designed by the architectural firm of Morgan, Walls,
and Clements, the building was constructed of concrete and
brick, plastered over with cement and covered with a tile
Hollenbeck Presbyterian Church, 126 North Chicago
Originally named the Boyle Heights Presbyterian
the cornerstone for this edifice was laid on Septem­
ber 2, 1895, the church being completed and opened for
services on December 29, 1895.
At the rear of the building
(See PI. 95) may be seen the old church, erected in 1885,
to which the new building was added.
The first pastor was
Reverend William s. Young (1885-1896), who is thought to
have played an important part in the designing of the
Mrs. W . J. sanborn, whose husband now bears the
distinction of holding the longest membership record in the
church, believes that the house on the north side of the
church was erected in 1887 by Mr. Fessenden.
Among the char­
ter members were Mrs. Nancy Workman, mother of Boyle Workman,
•Interview, Mr. John C. Austin, November 15, 1939.
Interview, Mr. John King, Assistant Superintendent
Hollenbeck Home, March, 1940.
Interview, Mrs. W. J. sanborn, April 6, 1940.
and Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Bell, parents of Alfonso Bell, for
whom Bel-Air was named.
This is representative of ’’Country Ecclesiastic”
buildings of the times--an attempt to express in wood the
spirit of the English Gothic--outlining the windows with
pointed arches, imitating stone in the horizontal divisions
of wooden sheathing; its counterpart was found in villages
and cities all over the United States.
Homer Laughlin Building, 315 South Broadway.
on the site of the old Brick Methodist Church in 1897, John
Parkinson architect, this was the first fire-proof building
in Los Angeles,
excepting the corrugated-iron buildings
mentioned on page 18.
Built over.a frame similar to the
Barclay Hotel, ornament has been excoriated, the entrance
being marked by a slight obtrusion at the north end of the
The simplicity of the facade shows an early
Sullivanesque quality,
the ornament being confined to the
cornice and the entrance.
It tends to express the construc­
tion outwardly and not disguise the shape or intention with
an envelop of embellishment.
K1 inker, northwest corner of Main and Broad-
Boyle Workman, The City That Grew, 1840-1956
(Los Angeles: The Southland Publishing Company, 1935), p.
Originally called the Tajo Building,
this structure,
now being demolished, maintained a dignified facade,
achieved with well-considered proportions and an impressive
series of swan-neck pediments over the gable windows.
Georgian style indicated by the pediments was not supported
elsewhere in the structure, the whole being developed like
a factory, with the skeleton too thinly embellished to de­
clare it authentically traditional.
The treatment of the
fenestration seems remarkable for a building of 1884 in a
comparatively isolated town.
Krutz Building, northwest corner of hos Angeles and
Second Streets.
Erected in 1888, the counterpart of this
building, with its squat, octagonal tower, m a y be found on
several corners in the older section of Los Angeles, espe­
cially south and east of this corner.
Many corner buildings
employed a tower to add prestige and distinction.
Its bays
and cornice are of metal, the rest of the structure being
Los Angeles Orphans1 Asylum and School, 917 South
Boyle Avenue.
The cornerstone for this building was laid
on February 9, 1890.
The erection of the building was the
Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1940.
result of concerted action on the part of the community,
money having been raised for several years by means of Pairs
and contributions.
A list of Fair prizes includes objects
so uniquely typical of this era as to justify inclusion:
leather rocker, plush lambrequin, lace spread and shams, top
buggy, boquet stand, driving whip, shell basket, gent *s gold
cane, camel’s hair shawl.
Eisen and Cuthbertson,
The architects were Curlett,
the contractor for the carpenter work,
Sylvester Grant, while the contract for the masonry was
given to A. McNally.
The newspaper description of the style
of architecture was termed ’’Modern Gothic.”
The style was a
rather grim solution to a problem where many rooms of almost
identical size and use were required, its source French
The building, which is of brick, cost approximately
Its tower terminates 145 feet from the ground.
Lyceum Theater, 227 south Spring Street.
o p
called the Los Angeles Theater, erected in 1888 by Mrs.
Juana Neal,
this building demonstrates the trend of archit
tecture in that era, when functionalism and taste were
abandoned for ostentation and unrelated embellishment.
p p
From newspaper clippings in a scrap book kept by
Sister Cecelia at the Los Angeles Orphans’ Asylum, March,
Workman, op. cit., p. 195.
semi-circular bay with its conical roof, the cornice and the
minaret-finials at either end, are of metal.
The vulgarity
of proportion in tower roof and minarets, the Christmastree-ornaments effect of the bands of molding create a
carnivalesque appearance which was probably desirable in the
mind of the builder for the purpose to which the building
was put.
Martz Flats, southeast corner of Seventh and Flower
In the midst of tall buildings, hurrying crowds,
rushing traffic, this reminder of the gentility of a more
leisurely day stands apart, literally as well as stylisti­
cally, for here the sidewalk deepens to meet the facade.
Two grass plots have been preserved.
Its facade a design of
Regency inspiration, maintained by the delicate details
included in the formula for Classic Revival, it has a series
of recessed balconies, Palladian windows, and shallow pedi­
ments supported by pilasters.
The cornice and panels, as
well as the pediments at the roof line, are adorned with
delicately moulded staff work.
It was built by Henry Martz
in 1898, with Julius W. Krause as architect. 24
Merced Theater, 418 North Main Street.
This building
became so well known as the Merced Theater that the name
Interview, Mr. Julius W. Krause, March, 1940.
clings, although it has housed no theater for many years.
The site was first occupied "by f,El Dorado,” an early and ele
gant saloon, which was a ready-cut building, shipped around
the Horn from Maine.
Later as mentioned above it was con­
verted into the first Protestant church in Los Angeles, a
Methodist church, founded by the Reverend Bland.
theater was built in 1869 by William Abbott, using the money
of his wife, Dona Merced Garcia, who refused to contribute
unless the building were higher than the Pico House adjoin­
A cornice and firewall were added, thus solving the
delicate problem of prestige.
o c
It originally had a por-
tico over the sidewalk and four finials atop the cornice.
This building is French In origin, its elegance being en­
hanced by the heavy cornice and the shallow, balustraded
balconies on the third floor.
For an owner who wished to
secure prestige, this imposing Renaissance facade was well
cho s en.
Music Art studio Building, 233 south Broadway.
Designed by A. M. E d e l m a n , ^ this building was erected in
1899 by Harris Newmark for Fred L. Blanchard, for whom it
was originally named Blanchard Hall.
It housed all gradua-
0 5
Bartlett, op. c it., p. 38.
op. cit., p. 193.
Interview, Mr. A. M. Edelman, December 12, 1939.
tion exercises until a larger auditorium was erected.
studios were occupied by some of the leading music teachers
of the times and many musical artists were "discovered"
within its walls, one of them being Lawrence Tibbett.
In details of Neo-Renaissance derivation,
it resembles the
Barclay Hotel (built three years earlier) with the tradi­
tional Classic forms in a changed pattern.
Music Building, University of Southern California.
This building represents a restrained handling of the Victor­
ian Gothic style, a style which dominated in educational
architecture in America at this time*
The windows, set
at unvarying intervals between pilasters, are narrow and
high--the accepted form of the era.
The veranda at the
front and the pavillion at the side are later additions
which relieve the box-like severity of the original structure
and with the gallery at the roof-peak contribute to a
pleasantly proportioned design.
As the building now appears,
it resembles a design by Minard Lafever, called the "Italian"
type, Y/hich appeared in The Architectural Instructor, New .
York, 1856.30
28 Office of the Building.
Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Jr., Art in America
(New York: Halcyon House, 1934), 162 pp.
30 Talbot Faulkner Hamlin, Pageant of America. The
American Spirit in Architecture. (New Haven: Yale Univer­
sity Press, 1936*77 353 pp.
The cornerstone for this building, the first to be
erected on the campus of the University of southern Cali­
fornia, was laid on September 4, 1880,
The day was memorable
in another way, being the ninety-ninth anniversary of the
founding of Los Angeles.
The building housed all the classes
then offered by the University and was, as it is today, a
two-story frame structure, the lower floor divided into
the upper floor containing a large assembly
hall and smaller offices.
It was ready for occupancy on
October 4, 1880, costing approximately $5,060, plus $1,200
for furnishings.
The population of the city in the year 1880 was
11,145, of which fif*ty were enrolled as students.
The erec­
tion of this building, as the symbol of the beginning of an
institution of higher learning, was an important event in
the history of Los A n g e l e s . ^
Natick House, 108 West First street, southwest corner
of First and Main Streets.
Built in 1880, at a cost of
this hotel was originally a two-story structure.
The third story was added in 1893 and successfully maintained
the architectural spirit of the whole.
This is another ex­
ample of the simple, restrained treatment of the French style
^ Leslie F. Gay, "History of the University of
Southern California," (unpublished M ast er’s thesis, Univer­
sity of southern California, Los Angeles, 1910), 301 pp.
in architecture,
the influence of which pervades much of the
older sections of Los Angeles.
It is similar to the Pico
House, its use probably indicating some duplication in
The ingenuity of the builder in presenting variety
in embellishment appears in the scalloped arches over the
second-story windows.
as it was in 1880.
The portico on First street remains
Mr. Frank Bernard, whose family owned
the Natick House for many years, believes the a r c h i t e c t s
name to be Reeves.
Mr. Hart, now the proprietor of the
Rosslyn Hotel, was the manager of the Natick House from
1 8 9 0 - 1 9 1 6 . The building is situated on Lot 4, Block 1 of
the Ord. Survey.
National Title Building, 126 West Third Street, south­
east corner of Third and Spring streets.
This was formerly
the Lankershim Building, having been erected by Colonel J.
B. Lankershim in 1897.
It was acquired by the National
Title Insurance Company about two years ago, at which time
the entrance was changed, the exterior cleaned, and the name
There are four horizontal divisions in the
^ Interview, Mr. Frank Bernard, March 29, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Hart, March 29, 1940.
Map, City Engineer!s Office.
Newmark, op. cit., p. 611.
Interview, Mr. Gordon, National Title Insurance Com­
pany, February, 1940.
facade, the tower corner uniting them.
The top section has
a Venetian flavor with tall, slender, divisions created by
engaged columns completed with groups of arches.
The spirit
of the style of this section might be assigned to McKim,
Meade and White, and the bands of ornament to Louis Sullivan
or H. H. Richardson.
It is apparently a composite of forms
popular in contemporary taste, predominantly Neo-Renaissance*
The tower on the c o m e r was a form often employed to secure
a degree of distinction.
Old College, University of southern California.
cornerstone was laid for the center portion of this building
on September 20, 1884, but the building was not formally
opened until January 1886, the interim necessitated by lack
of funds.
Here is a symbol of the Zeitgeist--an educational
building in the Victorian Gothic style, generally considered
suitable for churches and schools.
It has a tower (originally
a clock tower with four faces) a flight of steps leading to
a sturdy,
squat arched entrance, colored glass windows in the
circular bay.
It has memories, and ghosts, and skeletons and
ivy-covered walls--it is Alma Mater.
And such a building on
hundreds of campuses across the United States .'cons tituted
the American traditional college building.
Most campuses on
which buildings were erected during this period harbor a con­
glomeration of styles*
The original structure of Old College was of brick.
It is now covered with stucco and the clock tower has been
remodeled and enclosed. 3*7'
Whatever there is of style in
the building seems to have been better expressed in brick
than in stucco.
Pico house, 450 North Main street.
This bears the
legend "Old Pico house," though it is listed in the tele­
phone directory as the "National Hotel," to which name it
was changed some years ago.
Erected in 1869, this structure
still presents a pleasing facade to a populace for the most
part unaware of its former aristocratic grandeur.
establishment astounded the citizens of Los Angeles- when it
installed gas, and a bathroom on each of the upper floors,
the bathtubs being of zinc in a wooden casing.
This build­
ing of over eighty rooms, which cost $50,000 and the furnish­
ings $55,000, was owned by Pio Pico.
The site was formerly
occupied by the adobe home of Jose Antonio Carrillo, whose
house was used as an initial point for the first survey of
Los Angeles.
Mr. Kysor of New York was engaged as archi­
tect, having been recommended to General Andres Pico, brother
of Pio.
The contractors were Messrs. switzer and GtappenCharles Knowlton was an early manager who was
Gay, loc. cit.
Interview, Mr. Julius W. Krause, March 1940.
succeeded "by Dunham and Schiefflin.
Pico House,
Upon the opening of
the Banning stages changed their terminus from
the Bella Union to the new hotel, which indicated the degree
of respect with which it was regarded.
In its formal arrangement of geometric forms it is
Classic in spirit whether its immediate inspiration was of
Venetian, French, or English origin.
The proportion main­
tained between the first and upper floors, the scale of the
arches, the simplicity of detail is pleasing.
The modified
arches on the second floor afford relief to an otherwise
monotonous repetition.
The Pico House is the earliest extant building to
replace adobe in Los Angeles.
With its refined, static,
orderly design, this building inaugurated in Los Angeles
that era which was to develop into a vulgar,
chaotic con­
glomeration of illogical uses of unrelated forms in archi­
That Mr. K y so r!s architectural influence was felt
in Los Angeles is indicated by the number of contemporary
buildings in which his style has been imitated.
Pouy Fourcat Building, 115 East First Street.
ently the product of a Builder1s Plan Book, with NeoRenaissance details predominating, the bay window, hemihexagon tower capped with the final flourish of bell-shaped
Newmark, op. cit., p. 396.
roof undoubtedly added much value to this structure in the
eyes of the builder.
The excessive embellishment creates
This particular arrangement of classic details
in the facade was comparatively rare in Los Angeles, al­
though many Victorian Gothic buildings abound in bay windows
and towers.
It was built in 1893.
Rees and Wirsching Building, 225-227 North Los Angeles
Much of the exterior of this building has been pre­
served although the interior was rebuilt after a fire in
1915 while the building was occupied by the Newmark Coffee
Built in 1 8 9 0 , ^ C. J. Kubach architect ,^
is an example of the local expression of the French R e ­
simply treated, which pervades the architectural
picture of Los Angeles in the era 1869-1900.
There are
pediments over the windows, alternating gable and flattened
The quoined window-frames on the third floor are re­
peated many times in buildings of this period in Los Angeles
(See PI. 1).
That there was originally a portico is indi­
cated by the pair of doors at the center of the second
A contrast provided by the change in styles of
architecture over a period of fifty years is observable in
Assessment Rolls.
Interview, Mr. Carl Wiraching, March 29, 1940.
^ Assessment Rolls.
Interview, Mr. Carl Wirsching, March 29, 1940.
Plate 33, in y?hich the Federal Building, erected in 1939,
is seen as a back drop.
Robarts Block, northeast corner of Seventh and Main
Erected in 1893,44 this is an individual inter­
pretation of Victorian Gothic.
The cornice is very heavy
for the building, with its pinnacles and simulated crenulations, plus Gothic embellishments.
The degenerated form of
Gothic arches at the entrance and over the windows between
the bays expresses the Zeitgeist♦
S t . Vibiana*s Cathedral, North Main Street near S econd
The first public service in this building took
place on Sunday, April 9, 1876.
Designed by Walter Matthews
of Oakland,45 (Newmark credits the building to Kysor and
the original building was faced in brick, and was
inspired by the Puerto de San Miguel in Barcelona, Spain.4^
The original building had a front railing along the street of
blocks of artificial stone, manufactured by Busbard and
Hamilton, who started a stone factory in East Los Angeles in
Assessment Rolls.
Interview, Mr. John C. Austin, November 15, 1939.
46 Newmark, op. cit., p. 490.
Ibid., p. 490.
.Later, when it was remodeled by John C. Austin,
the front facade was brought nearer the street and faced in
The cathedral stands in calm dignity, enveloped
in the character of its Renaissance forbears, its clearcut,
simple, details emphasized by the contrast of light against
Santa Fe Station, Santa Fe Avenue at the foot of
Second Street .
This building was erected in 1893 at a cost
of $25,500,
the architect being Mr. Griffith, the con50
tractor, Duvall Mills and Company.
This .stands as a mon­
ument to the undisciplined architectural spirit of the era.
Medieval-Romanesque, one would expect to find the building
surrounded by a moat, and the turrets manned by knights in
armor, pouring hot lead on any one hardy enough to attempt
an entrance.
Lanier and Virginia Stivers Bartlett, in Los
Angeles in Seven Days^
refer to it as a peanut stand.
It is thoroughly in the spirit of the times In which it was
built in which variety in shapes, particularly with tradi­
tional antecedents, however inappropriate, were seized upon
as the solution to any and all architectural opportunities.
^ L o c . cit.
Interview, Mr. John C. Austin, November 15, 1939.
Letter, Mr. H. L. Gilman, Architect, Santa Fe
Railroad, January 20, 1940.
Bartlett and Stivers, op. cit., 298 pp.
Sentous Block, 615- 621 North Main street.
Built in
this restless facade with over-bracketed cornices
shows the imprint of Victorian Gothic.
Six Thirty-three South Main Street.
The component
forms of this facade are derived from several styles.
semi-circular hay in the center enlists attention, suggest­
ing Regency.
Built in 1888, this property was known as the
Catherine L. Edgar property, and the assessment rolls in­
dicate that G* W. and J. E. Stillwell owned it at one time.
Spring and Second Building, 129 West Second street,
northeast corner of spring and second Streets.
First called
the Burdick Block, then the American Bank Building,
it was
begun in 1895 with two stories and finished in 1900, the
architect being John Parkinson.
The Richardson-Romanesque flavor of the first two floors, with heavy,
arches, of rough-cut stone, give the feeling, as well as the
actuality, of a sturdy, substantial base, from which the
f-ive upper stories rise to a checkered cornice.
Above the
second story the style is ineffective and characterless, with
an attempt at an impressive and novel conclusion at the top
floor, which achieves the appearance of frosting on a cake.
Interview, Mr. Boyle Workman, March 13, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Cox, manager of the building.
It appears that most of the monetary investment and archi­
tectural designing was in the original building of two
Stimson Building, 129 West Third street, northeast
corner of Third and Spring Streets.
This building was
erected in 1893 by Thomas Douglas Stimson, who came to Los
Angeles in 1891 or 1892 to retire.
Instead, being en­
thusiastic about the climate and the country, he invested in
property and began a program of building.
Some of the in­
vestments were: the site of the Stimson Building, the site
of the Douglas Building, the Brody Block and the Oneida
Block (on Spring Street between Second and Third Streets),
the southwest corner of Third and Broadway, the southeast
corner of Seventh and spring, and the site of the Million
Dollar Theater.
On these properties he erected: the stim­
son Building, the Muskegon Building (on the site of the
present Million Dollar Theater), and made plans for the
Douglas Building, which his estate completed after his death.
During an interview with Mr. G. W. Stimson,
photograph taken of the Stimson Building in the course of
construction was produced.
signs posted here and there in­
dicated that the architect was C. H. Brown, 132 South Broad­
way; the structural steel work was done by Llewellyn
Interview, Mr. C. W. Stimson, January 19, 1940.
Brothers; the plumbing,
steam and gas fittings were in­
stalled by Stephen and Myer, 307 Ylest second Street,
contractor was Mr. Knebec.
The Parrott Building was de­
molished to make way for the Stimson Building.
While some of the details here are Richardson-Romanesque--the squat arches, the recessed balcony,
the bands of
ornament, a tower--the scale is too light, the facade too
fussy to be attributed to Richardson*s inspiration.
Richardson often employed a tower, but one which implied
strength, not one which was light, and. slender, and soaring.
Since this was the largest office building erected in Los
Angeles up to this time, and. consequently presented a new
problem, it seems possible that the architect has selected
details suggested for a smaller building and, maintaining
the scale, has repeated the motif enough times to cover the
required space.
The interior walls have a waist-high panelled dad.o
of golden oak, above which the projecting corners are pro­
tected by attached elongated finials of wood.
Third Church, scientist, 730 south Hope Street.
The cornerstone laid in 1888, this edifice was dedicated as
a Methodist Episcopal Church in December, 1889, and was
named Simpson*s Tabernacle for Bishop Simpson.
Its reali­
zation w as achieved largely through the efforts of Judge and
Mrs. R. M. Widney.
Count Opponyi, an Hungarian, was
selected for the architect and worked with Judge Widney to
design a large auditorium with few supports.
The result
was an innovation in the field of architecture and con­
struction, for the balcony was built on a cantilever, and
was suspended so that there was no pressure against the
outside walls.
The construction was particularly sturdy,
as was proved when the church was shaken by an earthquake
which cracked one of the corner columns of granite.
was thought best to remove all four columns to eliminate any
hazard, but this proved almost impossible because of the
stout construction.
Funds ran out when the building was
half finished; Count Opponyi left, and Judge Widney finished
the undertaking a l o n e . ^
A newspaper comment at the time of the dedication in
December, 1889 refers to the "Moorish architecture" of the
It is an example of the transition from
Romanesque to Gothic.
Veterans1 Administration Facility, Sawtelle.
The early
frame buildings on this property stand as a memorial to Stan­
ford White, the well-known Hew York architect who met an
Clerk of the Church, January 12,
Los Angeles Times, December, 1889.
untimely death at Madison square Garden.
When a young man
he was engaged by the National Soldiers* Home Board in
Washington, D • C.
That Stanford White designed these buildings under­
scores the fact that even the best architects of the period
succumbed to the popularity of the hodge-podge of the
styles of the times.
Towers, bay windows, over-ornamentation,
were accepted as marks of skill on the part of the architect
and prosperity on the part of the owner.
The chapel on the grounds is designed to accommodate
Catholic services at one end and Protestant services at the
other, a physical wall dividing the participants.
The style
is "Country Gothic," and the building is frame, the pro-jecting gable roof ornamented rather than supported by many
It was first occupied on May 2, 1888.
These buildings, with their confusion of forms and
ornament, probably followed a style adopted by the National
Soldiers' Home Board for their buildings elsewhere, for a
paragraph in The Pageant of America by Talbot Faulkner Ha m­
lin, describes the Library of the soldiers' Home in Wash­
ington, built in 1851, as being Victorian Gothic in wood at
its worst, adding that meaningless turrets, pinnacles and
Interview, Colonel J. D. Davis, March 30, 1940
other incongruous forms contributed to an awkwardness termed
"carpenter Gothic."5®
Westminster Hotel, 546 south Main street, northeast
corner of Main and Fourth streets.
Built in 1887, in sec­
tions, the corner first, this building w a s •considered the
height of grandeur.
Its many bay windows, balconies and
bracketed cornices indicate Victorian Gothic.
The high
mansard tower on the corner and the delicacy of the iron
railings add a French quality to this fussy facade and es­
tablish it as an elegant structure.
The architect was R.
B. Young.59
Wilcox Building, 206 south spring Street, southeast
corner of second and spring Streets.
A Heo-Renaissance
example, shorn almost entirely of embellishment,
the subtle
division of the entire area into layers but little
pattern in this restrained
design. The architect
took ad­
vantage of the location by
rounding the corner to
relieve the
monotony of the rectangular patterns,
more light.
as well as to provide
He emphasized the curve by repeating the motif
of the capping balustrade above the second story window.
The site of the building was bought for Captain A. H.
Hamlin, op. cit.,
59 Interview, Mr. A.
p. 154.
M. Edelman, December 12, 1940.
Wilcox, from Hammel and Denker, for $18,000.
Begun in
1895, completed in 1896 with Pissis and Moore of Ban Fran­
cisco as architects, the building was erected by the Wil­
cox Estate.
The contractor was Robert Smiley.®^
stone was used over a steel frame.
The upper floors were
finished for the California Club, which remained there until
it moved to it's own building at Fifth and Hill streets.
This was the first building in Los Angeles to boast two
elevators, one being installed expressly for the convenience
of California Club m e m b e r s . ^
Willard Block, 524 South spring street.
Willard H. Stimson,
Built by
son of Thomas Douglas Stimson,
in 1895,
this structure shows the influence of the RichardsonRomanesque style in the texture achieved by the material,
Lordsburg sandstone, and the series of three two-story arches
in the facade.
Whatever dignity might have been achieved
by the arches was destroyed by the strange, triangular pro­
jection for the windows.
The rough-cut stone is too coarse
for the size of the building.
There were no partitions in
the upper floor, that entire area being occupied by Mr.
the photographer.^
Interview, Mr. Engelke, Manager Wilcox Building.
61 Workman, op_. cit., p. 252.
Interview, Mr. C. W. stimson, January 19, 1940.
It was said that Los Angeles architects of the period
1869-1900, particularly the latter half, attempted to imi­
tate styles in ban Francisco rather than in New York,"*though this is difficult to prove, since the earthquake and
fire of 1906 in San Francisco destroyed much evidence.
plates showing houses in San Francisco were included in
this study, the de Young house and the Gertrude Atherton
house (See Plates 67 and 68), imitation of the latter heing
evident in the Capen House and the Pinehurst (See Pis. 53
and 52).
The other houses selected for this study were
chosen to represent other varieties in style.
Chester C . Ashley House, 1142 West Adams Boulevard,
southwest corner of Adams and Monmouth Avenue.
Built in
1892, this is a splendid example of the sturdy construction
found in the better homes of the day.
It was truly typical
of the times, with its attempt to impress with its cut-up
forms and varieties of embellishment.
The era, called the
11Age of Confusion,11 was a Roman holiday for the .architect,
for he was permitted, in fact, expected, to toss together
^ Interview, Mr. Phil Townsend Hanna, November 17,
forms and decorations that had never been companions before•
The round pavilion at the entrance has a classic
feeling to the top of the balustrade, beyond which the
shape of the arch bears no classification, while the mush­
room line of the roof of the pavilion, if continued as b e ­
gun, would be Moorish.
The latticed aprons on the balconies
add. to the Moorish impression.
The Renaissance influence is
represented in the embellishment of the cornices, and the
details surrounding the windows in the gable ends.
treatment of the facade, including the chimney-breast, is
unique, even to the line of demarcation between materials,'
which suggests Renaissance, but does not maintain it.
location of the window at the right end of the first floor
is startling.
The architectural firm is thought to be Bradbeer and
The date of erection was established in 1932, when
a plumber, engaged to do some work within the house, found
the original plumbing permit, dated 1892, and bearing the
name of "William Henderson, plumber."
£. J. Baldwin»s "Queen Anne Cottage," Santa Anita.
Here is the essence of the formula for the domestic archi­
^ Interview, Mr. Fred Ashley, March 4, 1940.
Interview, Mrs. Chester C. Ashley, March 4, 1940.
tectural style of the period.
The sight of this house, built
for a week-end cottage, must have put the guests, as well as
the owner, into a frivolous mood.
At least, compared to
present standards, its style seems a burlesque.
It main­
tained, however, in true and labored form, all the essen­
tials of the requirements of architecture of the era.
like a torturer’s gate presently to be lowered
on its victims, the lack of straight lines where arches
could be employed, the absence of simple arches where em­
bellishment co\ild be added, the wood tortured into fretwork,
cresting, patterned panels and dadoes, left nothing to be
desired according to the standards of its day.
The tower,
with its many divisions and variety of patterns in decora­
tion, was a symbol of real prestige.
The coach house, constructed on the same general
lines, shows the same dado paneling and snow-flake pattern
in the gable screen, but other motifs and the batten boards
show variety.
There is no area on which pattern has not
been employed, and the pendants and finials on the gables are
This is an example of a horizontal form blanketed in
vertical pattern and decorative motifs of the Victorian
Gothic style so popular in its day.
Built in 1881, the
architect was A. A* Bennett.
Capen House, 818 West Adams Boulevard.
Erected in
this is a splendid example of the Parvenu period at
its height.
The heavy, Georgian,
swan-neck pediment over
the entrance, the towers and bays and pinnacles, the
variety of shapes of arches, the fish-scale texture achieved
over the surface of the second floor, the spindles in the
railings, the embellishment of every exposed, surface,
assembles in one structure the essence of the Zeitgeist.
In the front lawn remains the cement-lined ditch through
which the zanja flowed.
K i n g 1s Arms Ho tel , 2506 South Figueroa Street.
Erected in 1896 by Mrs. Ella Brooks Solano, this house later
became the property of Mr. George Birkel, of the Birkel
Music Company.
It is now owned by Mrs. E. G. Warner and
Mr. Arthur Avon.
The architects were Hunt and Eisen.
This is a fine example of Eclecticism in domestic
the English manor-house, stemming from the
Elizabethan era, being the inspiration for the style.
Legend on the Cottage, December, 1940.
Assessment Rolls.
Interview, Mrs. W. Jarvis Barlow, April 15, 1940.
W. Jarvis Barlow, daughter of Mrs. Solano, Believes the choice
in style can he attributed to the conservative hew England
background of the family.
It is sturdily constructed, much
attention having been given to details.
The entrance portal
and door is elaborately and expertly hand-carved, of
selected redwood,
as is the archway leading to the wide
stairs In the hall, in which interlacing grapevine motifs
have been employed.
The English manor style has been maintained consist­
ently in the interior.
The wide, hospitable-looking hall
has a fireplace of smooth, stone, with a Tudor fire-opening,
and restrained detail.
Gothic-arched, diamond-paned
vdndows encompass the Solarium, in which are interesting
wall light-brackets developed from a water-J_ily motif, and
originally burning gas.
The colored window glass in favor
in America at this time is found on the stair landing, and
the ceilings are beamed.
K i n g fs Arms Hotel Annex, 2316 South Figueroa Street.
The bands of ornament inserted between the roof cornice and
the tower too seem to be the invention of the builder and
refuse to be classified, although there was a similar treat­
ment of the tower on the Gertrude Atherton House in San
(See PI. 68).
The small windows in the
tower smack of England, but the placement is original.
in 1895, 7 the interpretation of the Classic in wood seems
to complete the label,
"Parvenu, Made in America."
D r . Charles F. Lummis House, "El Alisal,n Highland
The home of Dr. Charles F. Lummis, whose personal
influence was so widely felt in Los Angeles at the close of
the nineteenth century, was built by Dr. Lummis himself,
over a period of years.
He arrived in Los Angeles in the
The building employed native stones in an unique
interpretation of the mission style, with medieval tower
and the inevitable small panes of colored glass in some of
the windows.
It houses a collection of articles bequeathed
by Dr. Lummis to the Southwest Museum.
The Pinehurst, 5151 South Figueroa Street.
This is
the type of house leading citizens of means in communities
all over the United States were building at this time.
employs the compact form of disorganization found in the
Gertrude Atherton House in San Francisco.
Its resemblance
to the Capen House, at 818 West Adams Boulevard, is so obvious
as to suggest that one architect designed, both.
Built in
1895 by Mr. Aaron Ozmun, this house is a monument to the
thorough workmanship of the build_ers.
7 Assessment Rolls.
Mr. Ozmun was an
importer of fine lumber, which doubtless gave incentive to
sturdier craftsmanship.
the house abounds in
wainscot walls and. carved, mantelpieces.
Electricity has
been installed, and the gas fixtures replaced with but few
The porte-cochere,
the recognized symbol of
affluence in this era, and without which no pretentious
house could maintain its prestige, is repeated in the car­
riage house.
The architect was Paul Haupt.
The property was acquired by the Brandt family in
1899 and has been in their possession ever since.
Samuel Rees House, 652 'Brittania street, Boyle Heights.
Built in 1886 by Samuel Rees, the lumber was supplied by the
Cole Lumber Company, who also did the scroll work with which
this house is embellished.
The Victorian Gothic influence
appears here, Mr. Rees doubtless having seen many examples
in his native -country.
The tower is an interesting, indi­
vidual interpretation of the Captain*s watch, lookout tower,
and cupola combined.
Within, the walls were frescoed by a
Mr. Kruger who had just arrived from Germany.
His workmen
performed on stilts, wearing vests with many small pockets
in which they carried paints, brushes, et cetera.
Interview, Mr. Robert Brandt, March, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Carl Wirsching, March 29, 1940.
Madame Severance House, 806 West Adams Boulevard.
Here is an example of functionalism,
and, as is generally
the case when use and purpose are considered before orna­
the result is charming.
It is said that if this
was built with benefit of architect the designer was Madame
Severance herself.
Begun as a ranch-style house, it has
been added to many times.
It is enhanced by the beautiful
sycamore tree of great age, which stands directly opposite
its entrance*
The assessment rolls assign 1870 as the d.ate of
construction, but qualify it with a question mark.
doubtless a fair estimate.
It is
William A. Spalding, in his
History of Los Angeles, states that Mr. and Mrs. Severance
called their house "Red Roofn from 1875 to 1892, later call­
ing it nEl Hido.,,^°
Sibley Severance House, 758 West Adams Street.
Erected in 1888 by Sibley severance, it has a substantial,
dignified air that is largely attributable to the height of
the house,
the rough, sturdy stone used, in parts of the
first floor,
to the squat tower with its conical roof, as
well as to the dark brown paint with which it is covered.
William Andrew Spalding (compiler), History and
Reminiscences of Los Angeles, City and County*]; California
(Los Angeles: J. R. PinnelT and Sons Publishing Company,
1931), Vol. III.
Its origin is in the yueen Anne style, although many of the
details which are associated with this style have been
Its architects were Curlett, Eisen and Cuth-
> , 411
Frank Sibichi House, 2457 South Figueroa Street.
Built in 1886, this stands today as a relatively restrained
treatment of contemporary popular components in style.
Built of wood, the house proper shows Victorian Gothic in­
fluence, the bays simply decorated with an Eastlake touch,
the popular, bracketed cornice much less prominent than
usual in this type.
Most of the embellishment has been
expended on the roof, which is high and steeply pitched and
has pretentious gables of Renaissance origin.
The first
floor has a ceiling of 16 feet, the second, 14 feet.
architects were Morgan and 'Vails. 12
Stimson Hou se, 2421 south Figueroa street.
by Thomas Douglas Stimson sometime before 1898, when it was
assigned on the assessment rolls to Ella B. Solano,
shows the influence of Richardson and the Victorian Gothic.
The use of rough cut stone, polished granite columns with
flattened, Romanesque capitals and appropriate carving, the
Interview, Mr. W. Krause, March 14-, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Julius W. Krause, March 14, 1940.
typical Richardsonian portal, the castellated, octagonal
tower, borrowed from the Victorian Gothic, evidence a
trained architect.
It is known that the interior woodwork
was imported from the east,
and it may be possible that
the stone came from there, also, Mr. stimson having come
from Michigan where he had been in the lumber business.'*’^
That he cherished fine wood work is indicated in the fact
that even the roof of the porch is sealed in panelled oak.
Interview, Office of Mr. C. W. Stimson, Douglas
Interview, Mr. C. W. stimson, January 19, 1940
The City of -Los Angeles, founded purpose­
ly because of its water supply and agricultural potential­
ities, surpassed all expectations in production and growth.
Its first buildings were of adobe, a material indigenous
to the southwest and suitable to the climate.
material was superseded by brick,
When this
stone, and wood, the
simplicity of structure dictated by adobe was replaced by
an ever-increasing ornateness and ostentation.
tions were first slight and were of comparatively simple
designs of Classic French derivation.
Later, as communi­
cation with san Francisco became easier, and in more recent
years when the transcontinental railroad brought immigrants
from other localities,
the architectural forms became
identified with buildings representing current popularity
throughout all parts of the country.
These structures
employed features of the -Victorian Gothic, French of the
Third Empire,
the Eastlake, and (^ueen Anne Cottage styles--
representing a combination of bombastic forms that have since
been designated as "parvenu," a type of American architecture
characterized by opulence and poor taste.
Immigration to Los Angeles was slow until the advent
of the southern Pacific transcontinental railroad in 1876.
When the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Pe railroad completed
its lines to the city in 1885, a price war ensued; and
during the year 1886 it was possible to come from the East
to the Pacific Coast for as little as one dollar.
bargain rate induced thousands of people to- come westward and
many of them remained.
A boom started, land values in­
creased at a rate of over 300 per cent, new towns sprang
into existence, and building was given a great impetus.
With the coming of the railroad came untold prosperity, and
with it an influx of population and wealth.
The effect
upon the landscape was that of architectural disintegration;
chaotic designs, resulting from an uncultured taste and a
love for complex forms, multiplied.
Available art journals and house-planning books
offered designs acceding to the popular demand for elaborate
These employed the industrial tools of the era—
the jig-saw and the lathe.
since most of the building was
done by carpenter-architects who were untrained in archi­
tectural -design and who copied their patterns from the de­
signs of their contemporaries, public taste did not improve
during this expansion.
Probably the best early influence
came from the work of those architects who were brought to
Los Angeles for the designing of important buildings such
as the Pico House and the Baker Block.
The scarcity of
well-trained architects,
the predominance of the "jerry
builder” and the c a r p e n t e r - a r c h i t e c t t h e dearth of taste
in the consumer, the sudden acquisition of wealth by many
in the industrial boom following the Civil War, all con­
tributed ‘to a chaos in architectural forms which has been
variously named nThe Age of Confusion,” ‘’The Brown De­
cades,” and ’’parvenu,”
Some examples of these trends in architectural taste
are evident in the Capen House,
the Pinehurst,
and the
"General Barry” building at the Veterans1 Administration
Here one finds structures tormented into bays,
recesses, and towers, their exposed surfaces embellished in
the ’’parvenu" spirit.
The Samuel Rees house and the E. J.
Baldwin cottage are wooden sarcophagi entombing the relics
of the jig-saw and lathe.
The Amestoy Building with its
exuberance of bays and ornamentation,
the smaller sentous
Block/ and the Westminster Hotel combine Victorian Gothic
and Eastlake forms with metal balconies,
cresting, and
mansard tower of French origin, exemplifying "The Age of
The Stimson Building, considered a colossal
structure at its erection,
consisted of an interior poorly
arranged for an office building and an exterior sheathed with
a curtain of bays, recesses, and horizontal bands at endless
war with pilasters.
It hid for prestige in size and orna­
mentation, as the Stimson residence did with its MedievalRomanesque-Vietorian-Gothic forms in stone.
The hodge­
podge of Neo-Romanesque forms found in the Santa Fe Station
added confusion to the architectural scene.
This local
view was also cluttered by the conglomeration of forms in
the Lyceum Theater and the contradictions in the Old College
Building at the University of Southern California.
First Christian Church and. the Hollenbeck Presbyterian
Church expressed the Zeitgeist in their use of the VictorianGothic forms in wood.
Toward the end of the nineteenth century, probably as
a result of the buildings for the W o r ld’s Fair in Chicago,
there was a return to Neo-Classic and Neo-Renaissance
forms; styles were purified, and meaningless ornamentation
was gradually deleted.
Embellishment was treated less as
a sham for the facade than as a means for emphasizing limited
areas of importance.
The Douglas,
the Homer Laughlin,
Music Art Studio, and the Wilcox Buildings were erected just
before the turn of the century and are evidences of the trend
toward simplification.
Los Angeles was very much like other
American cities after 1869, certainly after 1876.
earliest immigrants brought with them customs, commercial
aspirations, and ideas of architecture which were foreign
to the natives of the pueblo*
the newcomers were
gradually absorbed into the existing culture and adopted
the natives' way of living.
Later, however, as their nu m­
bers increased, they superimposed their culture, their
habits, and their architectural forms on the local pattern.
Because of the tendencies of the time and the fact that
Los Angeles was new and. had few traditions which were suitable
to the conditions of the late nineteenth century, it is not
surprising that many atrocities were committed in the name
of architecture.
It was unfortunate that the building ex­
pansion of 1876 coincided with an era of poor taste in the
United States.
Of the major styles most employed in this era— the
Victorian-Gothic and. the French Third Empire--the latter
seems to have predominated in Los Angeles.
That its static
forms suited the environs and the climate may have been the
cause for its popularity.
It was probably introduced and
its influence augmented because the architect, Mr. Kyson
of New York,
chose it for the Pico House, which secured
prestige and imitation because it was designed by an archi­
tect from New York.
It employed new forms in building r e ­
garded by the local citizenry as the epitome of elegance at
that time.
Imitations of the style by local builders, plus
the work of visiting architects,
such as Mr. S. H. Buchanan,
served to establish it firmly as a predominating fashion.
At any earlier period materials would doubtlessly
have been limited to local sources because of the diffi­
culties of transportation; however, even before the advent
of the railroad, materials that were not available in this
area were shipped from other sources by boat and mule team.
It was the ngringo11 who, scorning indigenous materials,
circumvented the obstacles of the city1s isolation and in­
troduced the previously currently accepted styles in build­
He made the sleepy Spanish town with its simple
beauty into an ordinary nineteenth-century American city
with all of the architectural attributes of the Industrial
The early California village lost that dis­
tinctive character which only recently has begun to be
Bartlett, Lanier, and Virginia Stivers, Los Angeles in seven
Days . New York: Robert Ivl. McBride and "Company, T932U
298 pp.
Behrendt, Walter Curt, Modern Building.
Brace and Company, 1937.
241 pp.
New York: Harcourt,
Brode, Alverda June, History of the University Section.
Los Angeles: Reprinted from the Annual publication of
the Historical Society of Southern California, 1922.
Cahill, Holger and Barr, Alfred H., Jr. Art in America.
New York: Halcyon House, 1936.
162 pp.
Carr, Harry, Los Angeles, City of Drearns . New York: D.
Appleton-Century Company, 1935.
403 pp.
Cummings, Marcus Fayette, Modern American Architecture.
Toledo, Ohio: s. Bailey and Company, 1868.
38 p p., 54
Edgell, G. H., The American Architect Today.
Charles Scribner1s Sons, 1928.
401 pp.
New York:
Graves, J. A., My seventy Years in California.
Times Mirror Press, 1927. • 478 pp.
Los Angeles:
Hamlin, Talbot Faulkner, The Pageant of America. The
American Spirit in Architecture. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1936.
353 pp.
Hill, Laurance L., La Reina, Los Angeles in Three Cen­
turies . Los Angeles: Security Trust and. Savings Bank,
1929. 208 pp.
Hitchcock, Henry-Russell, Jr., The Architecture of H. H.
Richardson and His Times.. New Y o r k : Museum oT Modern
^ Art, 1936". “"3M9 pp.
Kilner, William H., Arthur Letts, 1862-1 925 .
Young and McAllister, 1927.
273 pp.
Los Angeles:
King, Elmer R., Handbook of Historical Landmarks of California.
Los Angeles: Elmer R. King‘d 1938.
La Follette, Suzanne, Art in America. New York: W. W.
Norton and. Company, Inc., 1929.
361 pp.
Lindley, Walter, and Widney, J. P., California of the
3rd. Edition; New York: D. Appleton and Company,
335 pp.
Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles and Vicinity.
Los Angeles: Out West Company, 1904.
TOO pp.
Lummis, Charles F., Out West, Los Angeles and Her Makers.
Los Angeles: Out West Magazine Company, 1909.
420 pp.
McGroarty, John Steven, Los Angeles from the Mountains to
the S e a . Chicago: American His tori c"al7~"s’o ciety, 57921.
3 volumes.
Mumford, Lewis, The Brown Decades.
and Company, 1931.
, Sticks and Stones.
New York: Harcourt, Brace
New York: Boni and Liveright,
Newmark, Harris, Sixty Years in Southern California, 18531913.
New York: The Knickerbocker Press, 1926.
732 pp.
Parks, Marion, Door to Yesterday. A guide to Old Los
Los Angeles: 1932.
16 pp.
Spalding, William Andrew (compiler), History and Reminiscen­
ces, 3 vols. Los Angeles, City and County, California.
Los Angeles: J. R. Finn ell and. Sons Publishing Company,
558 pp.
Tallmadge, Thomas E., The story of Arch.itecture in America.
New York: W. W. Norton and Company, I n c ., Revised
Edition, 1936.
332 pp.
Times-Mirror, Painting and Building House, From Pueblo to
Cit y. Los Angeles: The LeBerthon Publishing Company.
Whitaker, Charles Harris, Rameses to Rockefeller.
Random House, 1934.
360 p p .
New York:
Willard, Charles Dwight, The Herald*s Story of Los Angeles
Los Angeles: Kingsley-Barnes and Neuner Company,
365 pp.
Wilson, J. Albert, History of Los Angeles County.
California: Thompson and West, 1880.
T92 p p .
Workman, Boyle, The City That G rew, 1840-1956. Los Angeless
The Southland Publishing Company^ 1^35.
430 pp.
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Southern California, Los Angeles, 1910.
301 pp.
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land Park Branch, The Five Friendly Valleys. Los
Angeles: security First National Bank, 1923, a pamphlet.
Assessment Rolls, Los Angeles, California.
Builder and Contractor, March 7, 1894.
Church Records of the First Christian Church, 1059 South Hope
Street, Los Angeles, California.
Legend of the "Queen Anne Cottage," Santa Anita, December,
Los Angeles Times, Sunday morning, December 4, 1881, in
"Professional Cards" column.
Los Ange1es Times, December, 1889.
Los Angeles Times, April 8, 1940.
Map, City Engineer's Office, Los Angeles, California.
Office of Mr. C. W. Stimson, Douglas Building, Los Angeles,
Office of the Music Art Studio Building, 233 South Broadway,
Los Angeles, California.
Interview, Mr. Joe Amestoy, January 22, 1940*
Interview, Mrs. Chester C. Ashley, March 4, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Fred Ashley, March 4, 1940.
Interview, Mr. John C. Austin, November 15, 1939.
Interview, Mrs. W. Jarvis Barlow, April 15, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Frank Bernard, March 29, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Robert Brandt, March, 1940.
Interview, scrap book of newspaper clippings kept by Sister
Cecelia at the Los Angeles Orphans1 Asylum, March, 1940.
Clerk of the Third Church, Scientist, 730 south
Hope Street, Los Angeles, California.
Interview, Mr. Cox, manager of the Spring and Second
Building, 129 West Second, street, Los Angeles, California.
Interview, Colonel J. D. Davis, March 30, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Dougherty (Wm. H. Goegee Co.), Leonard. J.
Meyberg, and Manfred. Meyberg.
Mr. A. M. Edelman, December 12,
Interview,Mr. Engelke, Manager Wilcox Building,
Spring Street, Los Angeles, California.
206 South
Letter from Mr. H. L. Gilman, architect, Santa F'e Railroad,
January 20, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Gordon, National Title Insurance Company,
February, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Phil Townsend Hanna, November 17, 1939.
Interview, Mr. Hart, March 29, 1940.
Interview, Mr. John King, Assistant Superintendent Hollenbeck
Home, March, 1940.
Intervievy, Mr, Julius W. Krause, March 14, 1940.
Interview, Mrs. W. J. Sanborn, April 6, 1940.
Interview, Mr. C. W. Stimson, January 19, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Thomas Stone, publisher California Druggis
and associated with the Brunswig Drug Company. .
Interview, Mr. Carl Wirsching, March 29, 1940.
Interview, Mr. Boyle Workman, March 13, 1940.
Amestoy Building
Plate 1
Amestoy Building
Baker Block
Plate 3
Baker Block
Plate 4
Baker Block
Plate o
Baker Block, interior
Plate b
Barclay Hotel
Plate 7
Bradbury Building
Plate 8
Brunswig Building
Plate 10
First Christian Church - Plate 12
First Christian Church.
Plate 13
Garnier 31ocic
Plate 14
Garnier Block
(second from left)
Plate 15
William H. Hoegee Building
(Sport Goods)
Plate 16
Elizabeth Hollenbeck Home
Plate 17
Hollenbecit Presbyterian Church.
Plate 18
Homer Laugiilin Building-Plate 19
Krutz Building
Flate 21
Los Angsies Orphans * Asyluin and School
Plats 22
Lyceum Theater
Plate 23
Martz Flats
■[■m ELPCQ6
Music Art Studio Building
(second from left) Plate 25
i J i,
s -w o m b k s -c h u b h e
Music Building
University of Southern California
Plate 27
Natick House
Plate 28
.•v ,' -
National Title BldLg.
Plate 29
Old College
University of Southern California
Plats 30
Pico House
Plate 31
Pouy Pour cat Building
Iiz f f c QITinni^iip^
G K r ^ !
m m
Rees and Wirsching Bldg.(second from left)
Plate 33
Robarts Building
St. Vihiana's Cathedral
Plate 35
Santa Fe Station
Plate 36
Santa Fe Station
Plate 37
Sentous Block
Plate 38
>r '?h< <<',/•/
jD ip tv D E M
Six Thirty-three South Main Street
Plate 39
Third Church
Seconi 31dg,-Pl&t.e 41
Stimson Building
Plate 43
Veterans* Administration Facility
Veterans* Administration Facility
Plate 45
Westminster Hotel
Plate 46
Westminster Hotel
Plate 47
Wilcox Building
Plate 48
Willard Block
(second from left)
Chester C* Ashley House
Plate 50
E # J. Baldwin rlQueen Anne" Cottage
E. J. Baldwin Coach. House
K i n g ’s Arms Hotel
Plate 54
King's Arms Hotel Annex
Plate 55
Dr. Charles F. Lummis House
3Sfc- 'w
The Pinehurst carriage house
Plate 58
Madame Severance House
Plate 60
Frank SibictLi House
Plate 62
Stimson House
Plate 63
Stimson House
Plate 6^t
Boynton Hall
Plate 65
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Washburn Shops
Worcester Polytechnic Institute
Plate 66
De Young House, San Francisco
Plate 6 7
15 5
Gertrude Atherton House
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