Monday, October 16, 2023

Los Angeles, again

TL;DR -- Los Angeles has had a few mentions in this blog. Following up on details related to development in the downtown area, we looked further at some historic moments. For one, a service club started in 1942 went on for over 10 years. That building was next to a Cathedral. We look at some details related to that associated area of downtown LA. 


We have had a few posts on this city (recently, Mirror Building) and its northern neighbor (San Francisco). Yesterday, we saw that Facebook has a group dealing with LARelics which has many older photos of the LA area. The one that got our attention was from the Victory Service Club (VSC) from 1942. Since we are following the long arm of New England to LA, we had to dig deeper. 

We won't detail every site that we visited, today, but we followed several threads. One dealt with Main Street in LA, in particular the area around where the City Hall was built. It's remarkable, for several reasons. But, there were many blocks along the street with differing histories. For this case, we wanted to know what building housed VSC. In that area, several bank buildings were built in the late 1890s. That brings up how things worked before banking. Expect a post on that topic. 

Where the VSC was, the 1st National built. But, many changes had taken place between the 1890s and 1942. First, what was that VSC building, and when was it built? Turns out that the VSC was run by the Union Rescue Mission (URM, see notes on Wikipedi page for Main Street (Los Angeles). Those are my notes which reference a 1955 book plus pionts to various other photos from different times. The URM was on of the early missions and was large. 


Turns out that the book noted that the URM picked up part of the Swanfeldt building at 226 So. Main. Next door was the IOOF building that they acquired in the late 1930s. That's not the gist of this post, it's coming. The Swanfeldt family had a canvas company and did tents and awnings in the LA area. They were from Sweden and show the influence of a new family. We have many New Englan families to detail, though, some of which deal with the LA Times and the buildings in the area. 


Next door to the VSC and URM was an old Catholic cathedral (Saint Vibiana). That's our theme today. The parish had to move. Part of the reason might have been earthquake damage, however enough of the structure was saved to be extant today. Most likely, the move was through gentrification which had earlier brought the URM into the area as it had to move back in the 1930s to make room for LA's new City Hall. There are sites with photos taken during the construction which ought to be of interest. 

This photo is of the church not long after it is built. This area is right downtown LA off of US 101. 

Vibiana Lofts

Does it look to be in a scrubby desert? Well, LA is a dry place. Guess what? That building still stands. When the diocese was forced to move, there was an effort to save the building which worked. Then, the government got involved and made it a National Historic building. Now the site is an events center of some note. This is very analogous to what happened to the Presidio in San Francisco

While searching I found this site which has period photos. It is just wonderful what the web is allowing in terms of independent historical work. We want to encourage that. 

So, the site shows both the IOOF and the Swanfeldt buildings. Now, we want to look for when they were built and by whom. 

Remarks: Modified: 10/25/2023

10/17/2023 -- Following our usual mode, we went to the FB page for TGS, Inc. and posted a few words with a link to this post. It was liked by one of the regular readers. But, within about 10 minutes, there was a message of the FB post being deleted with an ominous message. Still not sure what precipitated this reaction by Meta's watcher (which one and of what variety - I would like to know specifics). Have heard of this type of thing. Have been watching over the past decade, various debacles, as technology was put into the place of people. Also, noticed that companies that cared about the clients kept people in the loop that one could talk to. This image is the message about the FB (Meta) post. 

10/18/2023 -- More on the theme: Los Angeles, againBunker Hill, west

10/25/2023 -- Earlier (or Earliest) LA. -- Why was downtown LA built so far inland? Erik Painter, on Quora.  

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