2902 Wilshire Boulevard


Located at the prominent southwest corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Hoover Street across from Sunset (now Lafayette) Park, 2902 Wilshire Boulevard was the second of five adjacent houses built by developer and contractor S. Tuston Eldridge from 1905 to 1909 and designed by the partnership of M. Paul Martin and Neal D. Barker. Eldridge was issued a building permit for 2902 on January 3, 1906; he then appears to have moved into the house briefly before selling it to real estate operator Amos L. Burbank. Burbank was himself a developer, in his case of whole towns. In association with Moses Sherman and Eli P. Clark, he created Hermosa Beach; partnered with Henry E. Huntington, he laid out Huntington Park. He did not, however, as his 1920 obituary in the Times had it, found the city of Burbank.

The family of Amos Burbank and his wife, Mary, would occupy 2902 for its entire lifespan, with the couple's three daughters and two sons in and out of the house for various periods of time. Roy Burbank was also in the real estate business, but appears to have operated separately from his father. After Amos died in the house on October 4, 1920, the family retained 2902 even as Wilshire Boulevard commercialized beginning in the early '20s. Tea parlors and dress shops began to open in houses less than 20 years old along Wilshire Boulevard from Westlake Park to at least Vermont Avenue, with towering Bullock's-Wilshire, opening in September 1929, becoming the headstone of the short-lived residential boulevard. Mary Burbank was still listed at 2902 in the 1929 city directory, but by the next year the house was in the hands of Whiting-Mead, a wrecking company, which was issued demolition permits for both it and 2914 next door on September 16, 1930. A Texaco station would be built on the site almost immediately. In 1936 the station building was moved to the southwest corner of Figueroa Street and Venice Boulevard; by early 1937, a Simon's drive-in restaurant opened where the Burbanks' 2902 Wilshire Boulevard had been built 30 years before.

Seen in its very last days before it was replaced by a filling station,
2902 Wilshire Boulevard still stands at bottom center above. Bullock's-Wilshire
up the street at left and the Town House apartment hotel at right had both opened
in September 1929. Appearing at left in the image at the top of the page are the towers
of the Hershey Arms, east on Wilshire around the Hoover bend; below is another eastward
view with the Bryson and Arcady apartment houses at left on the other side of Lafayette
Park, with the Hershey Arms across Wilshire, in early 1945. A Simon's drive-in has
now replaced the filling station that had only recently replaced 2902 as well as
2914 Wilshire2932 is still in place at right, but has only months to stand.

Illustrations: Huntington Digital LibraryLAPL