2601 South Figueroa Street
630 West Adams Street


  • Built in 1886 by C. Tyler Longstreet on part of Lot 1 at the northeast corner of Block 22 of Hancock's Survey
  • Architect: Carroll H. Brown
  • C. Tyler Longstreet was 24 years old and the eldest of the three ill-fated sons of Charles A. and Lucy E. Longstreet; the family's 25.5 acres, part of Lot 4 of Block 1 of Hancock's Survey fronting on Adams Street between Figueroa and Grand and bisected by the famous (and partially intact) allée of towering trees of Palm Drive, had been offered for sale by Longstreet's mother in February 1886 and would that year be sold to subdividers. The site for the new house was diagonally across the Figueroa/Adams intersection from the southwest corner of the old Longstreet property, the proceeds of his share of which Tyler Longstreet was investing in what would in 1891 become designated of 2601 South Figueroa. On August 22, 1886, the Times reported that Longstreet "is laying the foundation of a costly residence on the corner of Figueroa and Adams streets. With its plate glass windows and other costly material, it will be among the finest residences on this fine street. Architect Brown has supervision"
  • Tyler Longstreet had married Mary Wilcox in San Francisco on January 28, 1886; she was a daughter of Alfred H. Wilcox, a sea captain who had arrived in California in 1848, and Maria Argüello Wilcox, a granddaughter of Santiago Argüello, whose family was a major Southern California landowner, and the great-granddaughter of José Dario Argüello, a founder of El Pueblo de la Reina de los Ángeles in 1781. While the marriage seemed to formalize a merger of venerable California families, Tyler disappeared within a few years and the marriage would end divorce 12 years later, with Mrs. Longstreet then moving into the house her mother was building at Adams and Hoover streets (1100 West Adams still stands)

Even as the construction of big new houses was continuing
apace along Adams Street in newer neighborhoods miles to the
west, those near the southwest corner of Adams and Figueroa were
holding their own. When 2601 South Figueroa was moved back on its lot
and turned turned to face Adams Street, 2619 South Figueroa became the
corner house. As 630 West Adams Street, the Longstreet house would last until
the Automobile Club of Southern California turned the intersection to commerce.
Lush and leafy by 1900, the larger district held its own into the 1920s before
its houses became maintenance-intensive and outmoded as single-family
residences. By then affluent Angelenos were fleeing even the westerly
Adams corridor for the new suburbs stretching to the Pacific along
Wilshire Boulevard. Windsor Square, Hancock Park, and Beverly
Hills and still westerly districts had all come into their own.

  • On April 17, 1887, the Los Angeles Times reported that, four days before, Mary and Tyler Longstreet had sold the 120-by-325-foot property at the southwest corner of Figueroa and Adams streets to Omaha attorney and real estate investor Judge John I. Redick for $20,000
  • Judge Redick acquired his honorific for serving a year as President Grant's appointee as the territorial judge of New Mexico during a stint as the Union Pacific's attorney at Denver, which he left for reasons of health, returning to Omaha for several years. Giving his practice over to the second of what would be seven sons, he spent time in Los Angeles during the winter of 1885-1886, perhaps also for reasons of health; that January he bought property at the southwest corner of what is today Broadway (née Fort) and Temple, where he would be setting up his son John Jr. in a grocery and tobacco business. He also bought stock in the Southern California National Bank, of which he would become president on January 1, 1887, and opened a law office with his eldest son, Charles, and Henry A. Barclay. After Mrs. Redick gave birth to the couple's youngest child, Elmer, in Omaha on June 10, the reunited family settled into the new house at Figueroa and Adams. In 1888 Redick became vice president of the Board of Trade of Los Angeles; he also built a three-story office building at the southeast corner of Fort and First streets across from the headquarters of the Times. On July 18, 1888, the paper ran this small item: "Judge John I. Redick returned from his old eastern home Monday. He was seen by a Times reporter yesterday and stated that he was never so glad to get back to God's country in his life...." Despite his firm commitment to Los Angeles, then riding the crest of the Boom of the '80s, the Redicks' stay in California would be brief, with personal reasons—and serious scandal—causing an abrupt departure from the city

John I. Redick came west from Nebraska to seize
the day during Southern California's Boom of
the '80s; personal tragedy forced a
retreat to Omaha after less
than four years.

  • John Redick resigned his bank presidency on January 8, 1889. He continued to buy and sell local property over the next several years, but he closed his Los Angeles law office. He made trips back east; neither Mrs. Redick or John Jr. was well. Mary Redick, who was John Sr.'s 21-years-younger second wife, and John Jr., her eldest of five sons with her husband, would both before long be committed to the St. Vincent Institution for the Insane in St. Louis. Mary Redick would die there on August 3, 1894, the cause cited in Missouri death records as "exhaustion from melancholia." John Jr. died at St. Vincent 18 years and a day later; the cause cited in his records was "tuberculosis of the intestines," with a contributing cause of "dementia praecox for 25 years." Meanwhile, Charles Redick was not helping matters. Appearing to be a rising legal and political star in Southern California, he committed career suicide by leaving his wife in the early fall of 1891 for what the press described as "one of the most notorious fast women in the city." The lovers absconded to Arizona and then, reportedly, to Mexico. Charles became before long impecunious to the point of passing bad checks, one of which was to his Los Angeles acquaintance William Vail, whose uncle Nathan had built 711 West Adams. Redick's father had to cover his debts; he was soon, sans the prostitute, back in Omaha. A subhead in a Times article covering the affair contained the words "He is Believed to Be Partially Insane"—perhaps an extrapolation by a reporter aware of other family troubles. John Redick also returned to Omaha to live permanently, "God's country" having proven to be anything but for the the family
  • John Redick retained 2601 South Figueroa until 1893. Before he sold it, the house was rented first to retired hatter and furrier Thomas Bassett, who in 1892 would be building 258 East Adams Boulevard at Maple Street, a corner rather far outside of the fashionable stretches of the Adams district. Next in the house was Chicago publisher David C. Cook, who would also be moving into a new dwelling on Adams. After purchasing a parcel of the three Longstreet Tract lots caddy-corner from his temporary residence, Cook completed 2530 South Figueroa, also in 1892 
  • On March 25, 1893, the Times reported that "One of the most important transfers of residence property that has taken place for some time was that of the Reddick [sic] property, on the southwest corner of Figueroa and Adams streets, which was sold during the week for $27,500 to Col. George Roher [sic], formerly of St. Louis, who lately purchased the Baldridge ranch at Azusa for $75,000. The lot is 120 feet on Figueroa and 325 on Adams, with a large house and highly improved grounds. Figuring on the Adams street frontage, this is at a rate of about $35 a foot, including improvements, a price which cannot be called high, as this is the choicest corner of the two choicest residential streets in Los Angeles. Judge Reddick [sic], who now lives in Omaha, bought the property of Mrs. Longstreet in 1888 [sic] for $20,000. Since then he has expended from $3000 to $4000 in improving the grounds, etc."
  • George Rhorer was a St. Louis manufacturer who had come west to Pomona to raise oranges as the Boom of the '80s culminated with the Santa Fe Railway's entrance into Southern California in 1887. After acquiring orange groves and developing other orchards by investing in water distribution systems he decided to establish a Los Angeles presence by purchasing 2601 South Figueroa Street. He was investing in city real estate, but, perhaps thinking better of the move to the city as the Panic of 1893 took hold—the Boom of the '80s was well over—Rohrer decided to dispose of  the house when the opportunity presented itself the next year. Charles C. Chapman, a Chicago publisher and real estate operator, was seeking to relocate to Southern California for the health of his wife, Lizzie; he and his brother and business partner Frank came to an agreement with Rhorer to swap some of their Chicago properties for the Figueroa Street house as well as citrus ranches in Covina and Fullerton. The brothers and their wives moved into 2601; Lizzie Chapman died there on September 19, 1894. Afterward, Charles spent more time in Covina, Frank and his wife Wilhelmina in Fullerton. Renting it on occasion, the brothers retained the house for six more years

Charles and Frank Chapman became among the biggest of Southern California's citrus growers.
Contemporary biographical sketches of businessmen of the Gilded Age are repetitive, invar-
ably laudatory, and worshipful of net worth—"celebrations of Anglo-Saxon origins,"
as one historian has put it. Charles Chapman's biography was no different.
Whether he was given to any sort of empathy for those not of his kind
is unclear, but as an ardent capitalist and religious fundamentalist
he supported the Disciples of Christ and California Christian
College, which became Chapman College in 1934.

  • Among the renters of 2601 South Figueroa was the well-known French painter of flowers Paul de Longpré, who arrived in Los Angeles in 1899 after eight years in New York and decided to stay. On March 30 of that year, the Herald reported that the artist had just leased "the elegant home of Charles C. Chapman, corner Adams and Figueroa, and intends making this city his home for a number of years." (Technically, De Longpré left town within two years when he was lured with the offer of lots in Hollywood—not yet annexed to Los Angeles—by the founders of the town, Daeida and Harvey Wilcox. His house there, which was completed by the spring of 1901, became a famous landmark, even if it was demolished after just 26 years)
  • On November 23, 1901, the Times reported the sale of 2601 South Figueroa to William F. Botsford, president of the California Bank, for $27,000. The seller was noted as the Chapmans' Santa Ema Land Company. "On the property is a substantial residence recently remodeled and modernized. It is a beautiful home in one of the most desirable districts of the city.... It is not known whether the purchase was made for a home or as an investment.... The grounds are large enough for a larger and finer residence, and it is thought that the purpose of the purchaser was to secure a site for such a building." As it turned out, Botsford, a property investor who had bought the Shatto house at 1213 Orange Street in 1899 for use as his own home and would die there 13 years later, decided to flip 2601 in less than a year
  • It is unclear as to when the house addressed as 2601 South Figueroa Street was pushed to the rear of its lot and turned 90 degrees to face north, where it would become 630 West Adams Street. As property investors, the Chapmans may have moved the house, and, as is noted in the Times article mentioned above describing their sale to Botsford, may have remodeled and modernized it, with plans to sell the prime remaining corner lot. It could also be that the house was moved by Bostford, who would have had to do repairs required after the move, but would have also been able to market the corner lot. However, given that the first city directory listing of 630 West Adams Street did not appear until 1905, and that at least two inside transfers of the lot by operatives of the next owner's investment company were recorded, the move of the house may have been made by that next owner, a notorious former U.S. senator

The shameless Stephen Dorsey managed to
con Los Angeles society into accepting he
and his new wife as valued members—

nevermind that mistress—by ar-
ranging a high-profile corner
presence at the major
social crossroads
of Adams and

  • On September 21, 1902, the Times reported the sale of two significant neighboring Figueroa Street houses to Stephen W. Dorsey, a one-term U.S. senator representing Arkansas who had been Garfield's campaign chairman and who had been implicated in the Star Route postal-service scandals of the 1870s and '80s. Dorsey had in mind to make 2619 South Figueroa his own residence and had a plan to turn it into a corner house with a yard extending to Adams Street; as part of the deal, Dorsey bought the corner and its house, wherever it may have then been on the lot, from Botsford for reported consideration of $22,500
  • While the ownership of what was now 630 West Adams before 1907 is unclear, it was occupied during 1905 by Minneapolis attorney and land developer Howard A. Turner, who may have come west for his health. Unfortunately, he died in the house on June 13, 1905

Before moving to Los Angeles, Harry Constable was well established in El Paso and Phoenix, where his
W. H. Constable Company maintained vast cold-storage facilities; in Los Angeles, he was a partner
with Charles F. Morgan in the food-brokerage business. His family later sold 630 West Adams
to the Automobile Club of Southern California, which leveled it for a parking lot in 1922.

  • Having married Sophia Fuelling in St. Joseph, Missouri, on November 8, 1906, ice and cold-storage executive W. Harry Constable bought 630 West Adams Street in 1907; his family would occupy the house for the next 15 years. By April 1910, the Constables were living at 630 with their son, born in November 1908, her mother, and Thomas Word, who would be marrying Sophia's sister Louise in June and opening a typewriter agency in Los Angeles that fall. Harry Constable was the senior member of the brokerage firm of Constable & Morgan and considered an authority on cold storage of produce such as apples; the firm's Phoenix plant was one of the largest in the southwest. He died at 630 West Adams on January 12, 1915
  • The Dorsey property at 2619 South Figueroa, including most of the original lot of 2601, was acquired by the Automobile Club of Southern California in 1920. The Department of Buildings issued a demolition permit for 2619 on November 12 of that year; on June 26, 1921, the Times ran an article announcing the club's plans for an elaborate new headquarters building on the corner, one proclaiming the preeminence of the automobile in the city as well as the twilight of residential Figueroa Street. The auto club soon acquired 630 West Adams and its 75-by-120-foot lot; a demolition permit for the house was issued on November 6, 1922. Its parcel became a parking lot and would remain so until 1930, when the club expanded its three-story headquarters along Adams to cover it as well as the site of 636 West Adams next door to the west, which was demolished in 1929. The two Mrs. Constables—both with the first name of Sophia—left Adams Street for an apartment at 326 South Kingsley Drive in the Wilshire District  

In 1927 and 1956 aerial views, the intersection of
Adams and Figueroa street is seen center right. At its
northeast corner is St. Vincent de Paul Church; seen at the
lower right edge is St. John's Episcopal. The pale rectangle at
center above is the site of 630 West Adams Street, now serving
as a parking lot for 
the L-shaped building appearing on the south-
east corner of the intersection, headquarters of the Automobile
Club of Southern California, opened in 1923. The club was ex-

panded west in 1930 to cover the lot as well as the site
of 636 West Adams Boulevard, seen at center left.