Two years after its founding in 1885, a fledgling women’s boarding school named the Los Angeles College began construction on a new building to replace its original facilities at Fifth and Olive Streets. Built for $35,000 at the southwest corner of the city, the three-story wood structure housed 64 bedrooms, 18 music rooms, five classrooms, and two auditoriums. On its opening night in the summer of 1888, the college remained open to the public well into the evening, allowing visitors to admire its use of Edison incandescent bulbs, still a rarity in Los Angeles.
The short-lived Los Angeles College closed its doors in 1892 due to the ailing health of its founder and president, D. W. Hanna. In the following year, its building was converted into a 100-room hotel, christened as the Abbotsford Inn by a public naming competition. During its renovation, new bay windows were built along the Eighth and Hope street facades, as seen in the top photograph. Although the Abbotsford was in turn purchased by the First Methodist Church in 1913, the hotel’s demolition was delayed until 1921, when construction began on the landmark church.
As written previously, the First Methodist Church was demolished in 1983 for a Gas Company office tower which never materialized. Occupied for nearly three decades by a parking lot, the corner is now under construction for a 22-story apartment tower scheduled for completion in 2014. Curiously enough, the project by Atlanta-based Wood Partners also has its own WordPress blog.
First Methodist Church, 1983-2011 [Urban Diachrony]
A view of the Los Angeles College, c. 1890 [USC Digital Library]
Revived Eighth and Hope development adds to housing surge [LA Downtown News]
1. “Fifty years in love’s bonds.” Los Angeles Times. 17 May 1908. V13.
2. “Give complete plans of super-church building.” Los Angeles Times. 23 Jun. 1921. II1.
3. “Los Angeles College for Young Ladies.” Los Angeles Times. 25 Aug. 1885. 4.
4. “Los Angeles College: opening last night – how it is lighted.” Los Angeles Times. 6 May 1888. 8.
Original photo: “CHS-7377 – Exterior view of the Abbotsford Inn on the corner of Eighth Street and South Hope Street, Los Angeles, ca. 1908.” Title Insurance and Trust/C. C. Pierce Photography Collection. USC Digital Library. USC Libraries Special Collection. http://digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/p15799coll65/id/2118/rec/1.