325 West Adams Boulevard

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In addition to its own particularly interesting history, the John Daggett Hooker house is significant is because it illustrates that West Adams, the district, once included more than just the area west of Figueroa. There were quite a few large houses on the long stretch of Adams east of Figueroa, even across Main Street, as well as north and south on Flower and Hope streets and Grand Avenue, not least, the famous estate-size Singleton/Longstreet spread and its famous Palm Drive adjacent to the house at the northeast corner of Hope and West Adams Street—as the boulevard was originally designated—that Hooker moved into by 1891.

J. D. Hooker was a big if apparently cranky and spiteful Los Angeles muckety-muck, a hardware and ironworks mogul and an oil investor as well as a benefactor, up to a point, of Mount Wilson Observatory, founded by George Ellery Hale. Apparently, after Hale managed to worm his way into Hooker's pocketbook, he sidled into the heart of Hooker's wife. Less cynical folk maintain that the relationship was strictly platonic, but whatever the friendship was between Hale and Mrs. H., her husband, feeling cuckholded, stood it as long as he could before blowing a gasket and banning not only Hale but all people of the male persuasion from 325 West Adams unless he was present himself. Hooker also cut his contribution to the advancement of astronomy, though not so much that the Mount Wilson facility didn't still name its 100-inch telescope after him.

Hooker died of peritonitis at home on May 24, 1911. Mrs. Hooker left the house a few years later; by 1917, it had become a girls' school. The neighborhood began to decline precipitously by the 1930s, but it wasn't until after a demolition permit for it was issued on July 17, 1964, that 325 would meet its ultimate fate.

Naturalist John Muir also figures into the illustrious history of 325, which told in detail by the West Adams Heritage Association here and here.




A view toward the northeast from the corner of Adams and Hope
streets reveals the curious visual effect of 325's corner window treatment
and west-side detail. Seen below is another early view that shows the Palladian
design of a front window originally echoed in smaller scale on the other side of the
entrance; as can be seen at top in a later image, detail of the "echo" window
was eventually lost as were other features including the porch railing.



Before the tea-trolley-rattling Hollywood scandals of the early '20s—including the murder
of William Desmond Taylor and the rape trial of the boulevard's own Fatty Arbuckle—

filmmaking was still being supported by many genteel West Adamsites, who
seemed pleased to have their houses appear in movies. Here in the
1921 comedy 
The Paper Hangers, Al St. John carries a ladder
up the driveway of 325 West Adams Boulevard. At the

time, 325 housed Miss Thomas' School for girls,
which taught sewing, corrective gym-
nastics, and aesthetic dancing.




Illustrations: Private Collection; USCDL; Natural History MuseumJohn Bengtsonyoutube