Friday, February 18, 2011

John H. Braly--Los Angeles

Updated 3/13/17

John Hyde Braly was age 73 when he and his wife Martha moved to their new house in Pasadena in October, 1909. Their one son (Arthur) and his wife joined them the following year, and in the 1910 census they are listed along with five servants. The elder Bralys had just finished a world tour which began the year before in August, ending in April, 1909. And before that they had lived with Arthur at his residence at 991 Arapahoe, a few houses north of their residence at 1025 Arapahoe, which they put up for sale after moving in in 1906. The Bralys did move around--A LOT. 

In 1902 they had purchased (for the second time) in St. James Park, but after less than 18 months, they sold. For awhile they were in a hotel (according to another source), and were out of the country from May, 1905 through August. That November it was announced they had plans for a new two-story dwelling at 10th and Arapahoe, which they moved into later that year.
Mr. Burdette, editor of our primary source book, first published a 1906 edition before the 1910 edition your author references. For this 1906 edition Mr. Burdette evidently needed to get his photographer out to take Mr. Braly's house photo prior to the Arapahoe house being finished. So the question was--what house does he take a photo of? Well you see it below. The same photo was used in both editions.

The Braly house for the 1906 and 1910 Burdette publication

The house's location turns out to be a mystery. Using Sanborn maps as a guide, your author thought at first the house could have been a mis-addressed home in St. James Park, but upon further inspection, that turned out to not be the case. 32 St. James Park did not have a retaining wall out front (as seen in the left foreground of the shot below), and 38 St. James Park, where they were known to live in 1904, was not on a corner. And while 991 Arapahoe was on a corner, the house's outline was nothing like the image above.

34 St. James Park--38 St. James Park in the background

And so we have a mystery house.

But enough on the house--more on the Bralys.

John Braly, along with his son Arthur, was instrumental in creating the first Los Angeles skyscraper at 4th and Spring Streets downtown. As part owners of the Southern California Savings Bank, they convinced the board to build a new 12 storey steel building, which the board then named in their honor. Today the building still stands as the Continental building, and its erection stirred the L.A. City Council to pass a height ordinance that stood until the early 1960's.

The Bralys were closely involved in both family and business with the Janss family, a developer prominent in early 20th century Los Angeles. John's son Harold was married to Etta Janss, while John's daughter Emma was married to Herman Janss. This ad taken from the March, 1906 L.A. Herald, gives some idea of the relationships.

In 1912 John Braly documented much of his life in an autobiography which followed his journey to California in 1847 and his ultimate settling in Los Angeles in 1891. It includes photographs of the family--here are two of daughter Emma and her developer husband.
Emma Braly-Janss and her husband Herman Janss in 1912.

And the house above? Show us your searching skills by identifying it with a comment below...good luck!
If you're first, the author will gift you your choice of the two postcards shown on the DeLongpre page. Judgment of accuracy is strictly at the whim of the author.

And for reading this far, enjoy this short excerpt from a Harold Lloyd movie showing the neighborhood. The home on the right is 34 St. James Park.

St. James Park in 1919.
Old Homes of Los Angeles

1 comment:

  1. Given that Burdette used the same house photo in 1906 and 1910, and Braly did not move to the house at 201 S. Orange Grove until sometime after 1908, it seemed unlikely. A check of the Sanborn map (1910) for the house at 201 is not a match for the image shown above.


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