2914 Wilshire Boulevard


Permits for the construction of 2914 Wilshire Boulevard, located in a row of lost houses on the south side of the boulevard between Hoover and Commonwealth across from Sunset (later Lafayette) Park, were issued on April 4, 1906. Its builder was S. Tuston Eldridge, who was responsible for 2902 to its east and 2920, 2932, and 2942 to its west; the design team of M. Paul Martin and Neal D. Barker was responsible for all five houses. It was not uncommon among members of the burgeoning Los Angeles real estate fraternity, of course, to keep abreast of new development and to finesse good deals; it was no doubt in this way that William W. Mines acquired 2914 as his own residence from Eldridge in June 1907. What turned out to be a minor setback was an accident on the evening of the following July 30 when the streetcar Mines was riding home on was "dashed against" by a team of runaway horses, resulting in a horse's death and, among other human injuries, Mines's broken ribs.

It appears that William Mines was a man who felt that real estate should never be idle; if even his own home could generate profit above its rising value, he would rent it. Either having moved into a hotel himself if not into an unoccupied listing of his firm, Mines & Farish, he rented 2914 to Mrs. William E. DeGroot in early 1908. Mrs. DeGroot, the widow of an oil operator, had until recently operated and resided at the exclusive Hinman Hotel downtown, built by her husband five years before. Having sold that building in February for $250,000, she took up residence in the Mines house, but not for long: Adalina Hinman DeGroot, according to the Los Angeles Times "one of the best-known women in this city," died of cancer at 2914 Wilshire on June 10, 1908. Dealing in lots in the many new tracts opening out on Wilshire Boulevard as it was extended and paved toward the sea, Mines wouldn't remain at 2914 for long himself. On June 6, 1911, the Los Angeles Herald reported that he and his wife had sold the house; following fashion, the couple had moved to Normandy Hill and were now domiciled in a new house a half block north of Wilshire at 626 South Kingsley Drive.

The new owner of 2914—yet another short-term-tenant—was Mrs. Melville Hamlin Hudson, widow of a successful Kansas City theatrical manager and theater operator. Mrs. Hudson, as were all recent arrivals in Los Angeles, was confronted with bewildering choices when it came to settling on a new neighborhood. While 2914 Wilshire was barely five years old, its countenance and small lot were already dated by 1911 and traffic was increasing exponentially along the boulevard; by 1920, the residential development of the westerly Wilshire corridor would be well on its way to eclipsing its easterly reaches and rapidly drawing the local establishment away from the easterly neighborhoods of the West Adams District as well. Two years after moving into 2914, eschewing such developments as Windsor Square and Fremont Place (both opened in the "West End" in 1911), Mary Hudson settled on gated and glamorous Berkeley Square in the westerly Adams District.

Although she had a much bigger house to fill when she left 2914 Wilshire, Mrs. Hudson
appears to have wanted to start fresh in Berkeley Square. The advertisement
above appeared in the Los Angeles Times on September 11, 1913.

While there would be single-family diehards such as the Burbanks next door at 2902, some houses in the old Eldridge row would before long fall to the indignities of being cut up into flats and then becoming commercial; it appears that 2914 suffered the former by 1916, and, eventually, the latter with a chiropractic office known as the Bionopathic Laboratories.

Permits for the demolition of both 2902 and 2914 were issued 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 2902 and 2914 Wilshire Boulevard had been built 30 years before.

By the time the image above was made in 1945, Simon's drive-in was a neighborhood fixture. A
survivor of the Eldridge row, 2920 Wilshire, remains at lower right. The first tall building
at left around the bend is the Bryson, followed by the Arcady, former site
of 2619 Wilshire. Across from them is the Hershey Arms.

Illustrations: Huntington Digital LibraryLATLAPL