Friday, November 30, 2012

Herbert P. Barton -- 1013 South Westlake Ave.

As a great-nephew of Clara Barton, founder of the Red Cross, Herbert Parks Barton (1866-1925) settled into the health profession after his graduation from Jefferson Medical College in Philadelphia in 1890. He served on the New York City Board of Health for two years, then moved to Denver for two years to practice.

An ad for Montezuma Stock, 1900
In 1897 he moved to Southern California, where he settled in Ontario, setting up his practice while helping that city form its Board of Health. Brother Clarence came out to Riverside, where he was listed as a publisher in the 1900 census. That same year Herbert and his family, consisting of wife Frances (Vasseur) (1867-1922), and one son Chandler (1894-1952), moved to Los Angeles. He and Clarence made an investment in the Montezuma Oil Company, which tried drilling in Riverside County, which had had one low-producing well to that point.  They sold out a year later to Minnesota interests, without finding oil.

By 1904 Herbert had changed direction back to health, forming the Clara Barton Hospital near downtown. Starting in a small location at Pico and Hope St., they grew quickly and by 1906, had moved to 447 S. Olive Street, where they were to remain until Herbert's passing in 1925.

The success of the hospital no doubt contributed to the family's reason to move to a new house on South Westlake. Previously they had lived in a smaller place on South Flower closer to the hospital, and that neighborhood was changing from residential to business.

The Barton Residence in 1909

In the Westlake house according to the 1910 census were Herbert, Frances, son Chandler (now 15), and a house servant Hannah Mathson.

Besides the main hospital, a nurse training school was formed, providing skilled nurses to Los Angeles hospitals. Under various names the school continued through 1989.

In 1910, an additional wing for the hospital was begun, adding seventy additional beds on six floors to the facility. Advertising in the annual street directory provided this view of the hospital in 1915:

A 1915 Ad for the Hospital (from

Chandler in the UC
Berkeley Annual in 1916
Son Chandler went off to college at UC Berkeley, with a short break for service in WWI, receiving both an A.B. and M.A. degree with a major in Philosophy.  No doubt if Chandler were alive today, he would be surprised to find his Master's thesis "Individualism and the State: Hegel vs. Plato", available on today's world wide web.

He returned to Los Angeles after college to his parents' home now at 715 S. Ardmore, where he is listed in the 1920 census as a "magazine writer". After a brief marriage around 1930, Chandler ultimately ended up in San Francisco, where he passed away in 1952. He is buried in Golden Gate National Cemetery, San Bruno.

It is believed that in 1922 Frances passed away, as in the following year both Herbert and Chandler are noted as residing at the University Club downtown. Herbert is still there in the 1926 directory, but it is believed he passed away the year prior, since in 1926 the hospital merged with Hollywood Hospital, closing the doors at the South Olive location. By 1929 the name Clara Barton Hospital had disappeared from the directories.

Meanwhile back at 1013 S. Westlake, the next recorded occupant is Del Nethercott, a carpenter who was there in 1927. By 1930 he is gone. Then in 1952 Walter C. Eismann (1914-2001) and wife Eleanor arrive, with Walter's father and mother (W.C. Sr. and Margaret) living next door at 1015. By 1965 Walter and Eleanor have moved on, but Margaret remains next door through at least 1973. Addressing hints at a house now subdivided. By 1987 the site has become what it is today.

Yes, it is the parking lot for a McDonald's. Now that's progress.

Further info:
bio of Herbert Barton
burial site of Chandler Barton
picture of Herbert Barton, 1910

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