3100 Wilshire Boulevard
PLEASE SEE OUR COMPANION HISTORIES
PLEASE SEE OUR COMPANION HISTORIES
FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO WILSHIRE BOULEVARD, CLICK HERE
|Reuben Shettler, circa 1895|
|An architects' rendering of the proposed 3100 Wilshire as it was to be seen|
from the northeast appeared in the Los Angeles Times on June 14, 1908.
The Shettlers were in residence in their new house by February 1909, and for the next 16 years there ensued exhausting newspaper coverage of one party after another. These were mostly Sarah's entertainments, purely social occasions as well as those involving her various charitable and literary pursuits—among her clubs were the Ebell, the Friday Morning, and the Ruskin Society. Visitors within weeks of moving in were Mr. and Mrs. Ransom E. Olds of Lansing. Reuben is variously described during these years as "mostly retired" or engaged in various business activities such as bank directorships. But he maintained a strong interest in automobile manufacturing, still heavily invested in REO. He made regular trips back to Lansing, returning to Los Angeles with news of the latest models. Leon had been set up as the REO dealer in the city since before his parents moved west permanently; father and son tirelessly promoted automobiling with well-publicized touring events for years.
|Mid 1928: The Wilshire Special streetlamp was just installed during a major boulevard widening and|
improvement project. The Busch house at 3124, in place since the '90s, has been moved from
the lot in the foreground; Shatto Place at right has only recently been cut through south of
Wilshire. Appearing overgrown, the Shettler house would be gone within a few months,
having been used in recent years for commercial purposes. Just getting underway
at left beyond the trees are the massive excavations for the game-changing
241-foot-tall Bullock's-Wilshire, which would open in September 1929.
By the mid-'20s, Wilshire's day as a residential boulevard were all but done. Bullock's-Wilshire would be opening across Westmoreland from 3100 by 1929. While builders of the early houses along the thoroughfare weren't to understand what a wise investment they were making in buying property along it—they were perhaps assuming much more in the way of permanence for their expensive dwellings—by mid-decade most of them were probably thrilled with the return on their initial investment even if they had to move. A few householders took their houses with them; most were content with building new mansions in newer styles in less linear neighborhoods. The Shettlers moved on to a new Wilshire District house. Whatever they decided not to take with them to 705 South Serrano Avenue was disposed of in an auction in September 1925.
|The departure of the Shettlers from 3100 was announced by|
an advertisement in the Times on September 23, 1925.
Eventually Reuben and Sarah would divide their time between Los Angeles and a house in Palm Springs. The couple remained popular into their dotage. Mrs. Shettler in particular continued to pursue club activities with a vengeance. So devoted was she to the Ebell that along with Mrs. Nicholas Rice, once of 2520 Wilshire Boulevard, she donated an elevator to the club in 1932. Reuben lived into his 88th year, dying at home on Serrano Avenue on June 14, 1942. Leon had died in Los Angeles two years earlier on September 5, 1940, according to the Times and the next year according to the inscription on the elaborate gold Shettler crypt at Forest Lawn. Sarah joined her husband and son there after she died on July 12, 1946 at the age of 84.
|The Shettlers were the only noncommercial residents of the 3100 Wilshire; "Captainess"|
(and amateur plastic surgeon) Irene Hobson opened a shop in the house in 1927
as did a Los Angeles sales office for the new development of Dana Point. The
ads above appeared in the Times on March 2 and April 20, respectively.
It appears that 3100 Wilshire Boulevard was converted to commercial use soon after the departure of the Shettlers. Moving in by early 1927 was Irene Hobson, who sometimes spelled her name "Irehne" and who managed to operate
successfully a number of shops along Wilshire for many years beyond an incident in 1930 when a customer was blinded by a facelift. (There is no evidence of her having had any medical training.) Briefly a tenant in the house was the Los Angeles sales office for Dana Point, a new seaside development 60 miles south of the city; the office moved across the street to 3043 Wilshire after the Department of Building and Safety issued a demolition permit for the 20-year-old old Shettler house on October 8, 1928. The Depression delayed redevelopment until the large L-shaped commercial building now on the site was completed in 1939.
Gone by the start of the decade, the site of the
Shettler house remained vacant for much of the '30s. Built
there in 1939 was the current low-scale, angled-roof commercial building
of a style that became almost a Wilshire Boulevard trademark
before glass highrises began appearing in the '50s.