258 East Adams Boulevard

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  • Built in 1892 on Lots 21, 22, and 23 of Block A of Shafer & Lanterman's Subdivision of the Montague Tract by Massachusetts native Thomas Bassett. Bassett added to his parcel by acquiring lots 24 and 25 to provide a garden
  • A retired hatter and furrier, Thomas Bassett had been living in Chicago, by way of Buffalo, since the 1850s, visiting Southern California with his family for extended periods during the '80s. The family lived mostly in hotels while in the Los Angeles area; in 1890, apparently testing the Adams District while considering more permanent residence, Bassett rented a house at the southwest corner of Adams and Figueroa (designated "West Los Angeles" in the 1890 directory in which his listing appeared). It was at this time that, counter to the westward drift of the city, Bassett chose the southwest corner of East Adams Street and Maple Avenue to assemble his large parcel and build a house
  • Perhaps having come to understand that, while perfectly respectable, East Adams lacked the cachet of West Adams, Bassett decided to move in the spring of 1896; a burglary at 258 on the evening of December 14, 1894, while the family was eating dinner, may have also been a factor in the decision. While making more permanent domestic arrangements, the family occupied the former Washington Street house of Juana Neal, a rich widow who owned considerable real estate in the area (Mrs. Neal was leaving Washington Street for the Longstreet house, famously at the north end of the "Avenue of Palms" off Adams, east of Flower). Maria Cutler Bassett, Thomas's wife, died on December 3, 1896, before he and his daughters, Ida Bassett Hambrook and Adele, settled at 2644 Portland Street, an address unquestionably in the thick of what then constituted fashionable Los Angeles. A member of the city board of education from December 1894 to September 1896,  Thomas Bassett collapsed and died on January 31, 1900, as he was strolling through nearby St. James Park
  • Meanwhile, back at Adams and Maple, another Massachusetts native, John H. Jones—he became the coachman of Don Abel Stearns after arriving in Los Angeles in the mid-1850s—had bought 258 from Bassett in June 1896. Jones had come a long way, wisely collecting a large portfolio of business properties as Los Angeles grew. As it would turn out, despite the demographic changes in the East Adams neighborhood, Jones's family would occupy 258 West Adams for the next 55 years. John H. Jones died in the house on February 12, 1903, nearing his 70th birthday; his widow, Carrie, born in Massachusetts on October 5, 1836, remained until she died there as well, at six on the evening of October 19, 1909. The Joneses had had no children
  • Carrie Jones's sister Augusta J. Hubbard, living around the corner on East 27th Street, was among those family members who contested the will, claiming that the first document filed for probate was drafted while Carrie was senile, then submitting one drawn up in 1904. Augusta and her son, Watson, and his family occupied 258 in 1910. In the end, three years later, the value of the estate had been recalculated from $103 million to $35 million (in today's dollars); Augusta received a one-sixth share, but the house, valued at today's equivalent of $791,000, had gone to two of John H. Jones's nieces, the Massachusetts-born spinsters Lizzie and Belle Jones. The sisters came west with their mother, Mary O. Jones, and were settled into 258 by 1911. Mary Jones died in Los Angeles on Christmas Eve, 1912; she was buried back in Becket, Massachusetts. Her daughters would remain unmarried and living at 258 East Adams for nearly 40 more years
  • After the Long Beach earthquake of March 10, 1933, the Jones sisters were issued a building permit to re-top four chimneys
  • Still living at 258, Lizzie Jones died on November 29, 1949
  • Still living at 258, Belle Jones died on November 24, 1951
  • The house had been duplexed by the time the Gulf Oil Company acquired the property in the early 1960s
  • Gulf Oil was issued a demolition permit for 258 on August 24, 1962
  • Six weeks later, a building permit was issued to the Wilshire Oil Company, a Gulf subsidiary, to build a service station on the corner; it opened in March 1963 and was rebranded as a Gulf outlet by 1967. Demolished in 1989, it was replaced the next year with the existing strip mall




Illustration: Sanborn Maps/Library of Congress