Monday, January 22, 2024

New England, in LA

TL;DR -- Continuing the theme of the west coast, we look at the LA area. A Cogswell reference was one motive. Then, reports about early downtown LA are always interesting. 


In FB, a post with the name of Cogswell (kin) got our attention. And, the setting was the western coast. So, what not to like? 

Los Angeles, CA has been mentioned in several posts on FB. One post dealt with Pasadena with respect to a Cogswell/Rhoades house. On looking further, the Cogswell was William F. (Wikipedia, Stanford U. bio) who was a painter born in New York with early Massachusetts ancestors. 

Source: California History (Facebook)
Sierra Madre Villa Hotel

This property was written up for being designated as a Historic Monument or Landmark in 2007. At that time, only one building (the laundry) was still on the property. The Water and Power website has early photos of the Pasadena area, inluding this hotel. This photo is from the Huntington Digital Library. 

View, 1877 to 1880

The area is now known as Sierra Madre, CA. This description of the property's history is from the California Historical Resources Inventory

The house is the only structure that remains from the Sierra Madre Villa Hotel. The Hotel was the first of its kind in Southern California. In 1874, William Rhoades and William Cogswell purchased 473 acres of the old Rancho Santa Anita, eventually planting the hillsides with flowers and orange groves. In 1877, they built a 70-room hotel, with a glass veranda, on the property.

Newspaper articles, interviews, and photographs document the use of the house as a laundry and employee housing for the hotel. Around 1900, other hotels had been built nearer the center of the city, and the Sierra Madre Villa Hotel became obsolete in its remote location. The property was divided and sold off in the 1920’s. The “Old House” has been the only remaining structure from the hotel since the late 1940’s.

Another post (California History) was about a Belmont Hotel in Los Angeles being in a photo of a cable car on 2nd Street. The view was west where one could see the area (see Bunker Hill, west) and the hotel plus the San Gabriel Mountains. This was in 1886. In 1887, the hotel burned to the ground. The hotel was later rebuilt (On Bunker Hill - Hotel Belmont 251 S Hill). 

The following photo was colorized. It shows that Los Angeles (its downtown area) was hilly. 
Source: California History (Facebook)

There are several themes that could relate to this post and further research which we will be getting into. We have 400 years to look at while we also get deeper into Origins.  

Remarks: Modified: 02/04/2024

02/04/2024 -- Found lots of more images and stories. The response to a query of "Los Angeles, CA" and the current map at Google shows Bunker Hill (Wikipedia) supporting a collection of tall buildings. By the way, the largest is 70 some stories or so. The Wells Fargo Building (54 floors) stands at the highest point of the hill. 

This view is from an area east of DTLA, say, down in the valley. 

see Bunker Hill, Los Angeles

The Water & Power Associates have a great collection of early DTLA (downtown, LA) including those from several eras of Bunker Hill which is the focus of study for many reasons.  

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