Wednesday, August 17, 2011

William G. Bradshaw -- 338 South Alvarado

According to his entry in Greater Los Angeles--Portraits and Personal Memoranda, William Bradshaw (1861-1911) was a  "promoter and largest owner of Wilshire Blvd. Heights, a high-grade subdivision situated in the western portion of the city, corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Vermont Ave. Has always made a specialty of first-class residence and business property; also extensively interested in oil and mining properties. By years of square dealing has created a reputation for honesty and reliability not excelled by any one in the community."

Relying on that reputation no doubt contributed to the ability for him and his family to own in 1906, this beautiful house on Alvarado Street, a few blocks from Westlake (today MacArthur) Park:

338 South Alvarado Street
Listed in the 1910 census as being in the house with William were his wife Nellie (1866- ), daughter Myrtle (1886- ), son William H. (1889- ), and younger daughter Hazel (1894- ).

But not all was roses for Bradshaw. In early 1909 Bradshaw appeared as a witness for a contested will hearing.  It seems that Robert (or Richard, depending on your paper of choice) Crawford Smith, who had done quite a few deals with Bradshaw, had added a couple of codicils to his will just prior to his death in 1907, and named Bradshaw a paid executor. So Mr. Bradshaw was brought into court to testify, listed by the L.A. Times as "one of the best-known mining men and oil operators in this city", where he spoke of his relationship with Smith. It seems that Smith's codicils provided about $17,000 to three mediums located in the city, who needed the money more than Mr. Smith's relatives. Bradshaw spoke before the court of his believing in the three seances he attended with Mr. Smith, following testimony by former mediums exposing seances as shams.

He appears to have emerged with reputation intact.

Then in the summer of 1911, Bradshaw went to Washington state, but on his return he didn't make it back to L.A. The San Francisco Call posted this headline:
July 27, 1911
According to the article, Bradshaw was alone on deck off the coast of Mendocino, when he pulled a pistol and shot himself in the heart. There were no witnesses--he was found later lying on a coil of rope on the after-deck. The article mentions he was noted as being morose, but did not accept any offer of aid.

Wm. Bradshaw in happier times
By 1915 the Bradshaw family had moved to 8th Street, a couple of blocks away. They remained in the neighborhood for many, many years, with Hazel marrying a Mr. Hallman, then divorcing, and returning to live out back at 737 1/2 Lake Street with mother Nellie along with grandaughter Larnita. Myrtle married a Mr. Joseph but she too, by 1930, was back in the house at 737 S. Lake. It appears son William never left.

That same year widow Jennie Hohmann moved in to the 338 S. Alvarado residence with her two daughters and a son. They stayed a short period, and by 1920 the house was rented to a Virginia Cobbe. She turned the home into multi-family, and rented to five others.

Then in 1922, William and Emma Blaikie, he an architect, she listed as housewife, moved in. But William dies by 1928, and Emma ran the place again as a rooming house, according to the 1930 census.

The house remained as rooms to let, right up to its demise in 1964. In 1961 there was only one roomer listed with a phone,  Mrs. Rose Gottdank--she may have been the only roomer in the building. Then in 1965 a new building is listed, the L.A. Convalescent Center which today is the Country Villa Rehabilitation and Nursing Home, a five-story apartment-type building.

Some side stories:
Lewis Austin steals Bradshaw's auto--1910
An aerial of the neighborhood in 1936--the house was out of frame by two houses to the right...(courtesy of USC digital collections)
Today at 338 S. Alvarado (courtesy of Google Maps) 
A squabble over an inheritance at 338 S. Alvarado


  1. Awesome site -- thanks so much for putting this great information online. Please keep it up!

  2. Thanks, Jason -- glad you're enjoying it.


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