3077 Wilshire Boulevard


Gilbert S. Wright of Wright & Callender—a real estate firm very active in Los Angeles in this period—built 3077 Wilshire in 1904 as his own residence at the northwest corner of Westmoreland Avenue (before 1910 designated Miami Avenue north of the boulevard). While many real estate operators were given to moving their families into one project until it was sold and then to another, Wright chose to remain at 3077 until 1912, when he would move to a large new house off Beverly Boulevard on property now occupied by Robert Burns Park. While the commercialization per se of Wilshire Boulevard was some years off, Wright, blessed with a keen sense of Los Angeles's breakneck westward development, appears to have understood that Gaylord Wilshire's original concept of the boulevard as a palace-lined thoroughfare was short-sighted. Even substantial houses barely a decade old, such as 3077, would have more value in terms of investment than as part of any kind of permanent residential community. Before cafés, beauty parlors, and dress shops came to occupy the old dwellings along Wilshire in the 1920s, some of them became genteel boarding houses. As early as 1916, advertisements for room and board at 3077 itself appeared in the Herald. The actual ownership of the house at this time is unclear; it could be that Wright retained 3077 as an investment long after moving to Van Ness Avenue, knowing that trade would inevitibly follow the conversion of Wilshire's single-family houses into flats.

As seen in the Los Angeles Times, April 18, 1926

It is not clear if the furnishings of 3077 that were auctioned off on April 19, 1926, belonged to Wright or to a new owner, but it seems that the remaining years of the house would be given over to commerce, as had so many of its neighbors. By the time Bullock's-Wilshire would open across the street in September 1929, the old house would have been worth many times what Wright might have invested in it. With the towering new department store anchoring the boulevard's commercial cachet, residences fell like proverbial dominoes. A demolition permit for 3077 was issued by the Department of Building and Safety on April 25, 1930. Within months, a building permit for a one-story taxpayer was issued to a developer named F. T. Grissom, a project that may or may not have been started, or was temporary, or perhaps delayed by the Depression; at any rate, a second permit for a one-story flower shop on the lot was issued to R. G. Schroeter three years later. It was indeed built, and lasted until 1961, when, on November 24, the first permit for the construction of the present nine-story building was issued. Designed by Welton Becket & Associates for the Carter Company, it was leased to U. S. Borax in June 1963 as it neared completion.

The northwest corner of Wilshire and Westmoreland, now addressed 3075 Wilshire, has been occupied
by a nine-story building originally largely occupied by U. S. Borax as its national headquarters.
It has recently been converted into apartments, bringing back to the boulevard some
some of the residential use that Gaylord Wilshire intended for the thoroughfare.

Illustrations: USCDLLAT; GSV