3300 Wilshire Boulevard


The fortunes of the Wilshire Boulevard residences of automobile magnates Charles E. Anthony and his son Earle C. Anthony reflect their individual personalities—whereas Earle's house at the southeast corner of Wilshire and Berendo Street was an advanced and sophisticated if not flamboyant design by Greene & Greene that was deemed worthy of being moved to a new location when it was replaced by the Talmadge apartments, less is known about Charles's house just across Berendo other than it was a gabled design typical of the aughts by establishment architects Hudson & Munsell. Earle's house is now in Beverly Hills, moved from 666 South Berendo to 910 North Bedford Drive in 1923, frequently photographed and even familiar in Los Angeles—at least to those interested in architecture—as was its innovation-minded builder in his day. Charles was the shyer partner in the Anthonys' Western Motor Car Company, and his 1913 obituary even referred to his dislike of undue show, which was something that his son understood to be helpful in selling cars. Charles's house at 3300 Wilshire was surrounded by trees, and one of the only photographs so far unearthed revealing its existence is the 1925 aerial seen at top. In this view Charles's house is dwarfed by the Talmadge, its demolition not far in the future.

Charles Edward Anthony, born on May 29, 1846, in Washington, Illinois, east of Peoria, grew up to become a banker in the latter city and was successful enough to begin spending part of the year in California by 1890 with his wife Hattie and Earle, their only child of three sons to survive to adulthood. Moving permanently
to Los Angeles in 1904, he bought a newly built house at 2631 Menlo Avenue in West Adams. For a number of years Anthony had been buying up property in a swath from West Adams north to the Wilshire District, where it seems he saw the best investment opportunities even if he could not then have had any idea of the boulevard's even more valuable commercial future. In 1906 he bought three lots on each side of Berendo on the south side of Wilshire on which he would build his house the next year and Earle his in 1909; Charles was issued a permit by the Department of Buildings to begin construction of his on June 6, 1907. He and Hattie would have a busy first few years at 3300. Almost as soon as they moved in, they were involved in a serious automobile accident near the Cawston Ostrich Farm in South Pasadena when their Pope-Toledo limousine collided with a Santa Fe passenger train. Fortunately, they recovered in time to announce the engagement of Earle to Irene Kelly several months later. The wedding took place in December.

On April 27, 1909, Hattie Anthony's 90-year-old mother Angelina Kimble died at 3300. A remarkable woman who with her husband had crossed the plains twice from Illinois to California before statehood, it was on her second trip that she gave birth to the future Mrs. Anthony in San José. Growing to adulthood and marrying back in Peoria, Angelina returned to California regularly after her husband's death and then permanently with Charles and Hattie. While it might seem astonishing to modern sensibilities, her story is not singular; there were actually quite a few women of her generation—Mrs. John Hyde Braly of 38 St. James Park was another—who would know California from pioneer days to the motor age of Charles and Earle's Buicks, Chalmerses and Packards roaring past Wilshire Boulevard windows in ever increasing numbers.

In a land where value was placed on everything new rather than the heirloom as in
the East, there often appeared to be little interest in passing down housefuls
of furniture when the affluent packed it in. When a house went, so went
everything in it. Hattie Anthony advertised her sale
in the Times on June 26, 1921.

Charles Anthony was able to enjoy his Wilshire Boulevard house for only five years. Still working at age 70, he died of a heart attack at home on October 27, 1913. Hattie remained at 3300 until 1921, when she became a permanent resident of the Ambassador Hotel, which had opened on New Year's Day of that year. She put her 14-year-old house on the market and sold everything at auction. The buyer would be the Immanuel Presbyterian Church, then trying to decide between building a larger church to replace its downtown sanctuary at Figueroa and Tenth or a new one in the western suburbs. Some parishioners argued that the church should remain close to its historic ministry, while others understood that the boundaries of downtown Los Angeles would grow before long to include precincts quite far to the west of the traditional pueblo-centric business district. While the decision was being made, the church rented the Anthony house during 1923 and '24 to the Orton School of Pasadena, which was moving its Los Angeles campus east from the old Edwards house at 3677 Wilshire.

After an unsuccessful effort was made in early 1926 to market the house for sale for relocation in early 1926, the decision was finally made to clear the lot by more final means; the Department of Building and Safety issued the church a permit for the demolition of the Anthony house on September 1, 1926. Planning for the new Immanuel Presbyterian seems to have been leisurely; while the choice to build on Wilshire was finalized in March 1925, permits for a new church wouldn't be taken out until August 31, 1927, and the first service in the new sanctuary wouldn't take place until January 20, 1929. 

Hattie Anthony died on August 30, 1931. On September 1, the day of her funeral at Forest Lawn, her devoted son Earle closed his Packard agencies with this notice, here in neon: 

The Immanuel Presbyterian Church replaced the Charles E. Anthony house. Still at
 3300 Wilshire Boulevard
, it is seen above in 1928 and 10 years later. 

Illustrations: LAPLLAT