Thursday, December 11, 2008

Going Right to the Heart of Hellman's Financial Empire

I am heading back down to Los Angeles, where I will give a talk this evening at Metropolis Books, a small independent bookstore in the heart of the city's downtown and banking districts.

I am really looking forward to this reading because the store sits next door to the building Isaias Hellman constructed in 1905 for his Farmers and Merchants Bank. It is also the site of his old homestead. He constructed a house here in 1877, one that was so far away from the center of Los Angeles that he gave an adjacent plot of land to a friend with the caveat he build a house, too. See, Hellman didn't want his wife, Esther, and son, Marco, to be lonely living so far away from everyone else.
The house Isaias Hellman built in 1877.

What the same intersection looked like in the early 20th century. The building on the corner is the Farmers and Merchants Bank. The L-shaped building wrapped around the bank is the Isaias W. Hellman Building, a large office building.

Hellman's brother Herman built this office building on Spring Street in downtown Los Angeles around 1903. It is known today as Banco Popular.

The current owners of the bank and office building (now converted to lofts) are going to give me a tour before my talk. They also own the popular Pete's Cafe across the street, where there is a delicious Hellman burger on the menu.

In advance of my arrival, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles gave Towers of Gold a great review.

No comments: