3125 West Adams Boulevard


  • Built in 1902 on Lots 7 and 8, Block 7, of the Arlington Heights Tract by Stephen Vincent Childs; renumbered from its original 2325 designation circa 1912. At the time of construction, the parcel containing 2325/3125 lay just outside the western city limits of Los Angeles, its eastern border within yards of the line; the lot was part of the Colegrove Addition of October 27, 1909, which, among other annexations to Los Angeles including Hollywood (February 7, 1910), resulted in significant street and address alterations including today's anomalous nine-block numerical leap on West Adams Boulevard at Arlington Avenue, from the 2200 block to the 3100
  • Stephen Vincent Childs was the youngest son of Emeline Childs, who was building 3100 West Adams Boulevard across the street at the same timeIt was reported in the Los Angeles Herald on February 23, 1902, that the Ozro W. Childs family would "start a series of houses on West Adams street," an endeavor in some ways replicating its former demesne on Main Street. (Stephen's sister Carrie and her husband, Frank S. Hicks, would choose to be less in the bosom, building instead at 832 West Adams, moving from 1104 South Main Street.)  Emeline Childs was the widow of Vermont-born Ozro, who had been drawn west by the Gold Rush. Childs's great success came after settling in nascent Los Angeles, where he arrived eight weeks before January 18, 1851, the day he was enumerated—occupation, miner—in the first federal census after California's admission to the Union on September 9, 1850. The proceeds of a mercantile venture and a nursery business in his new home—as well as from introducing the honeybee to Southern California in 1855—got Childs started, but it was the acreage south of the settled area with which he was paid after having been given the contract to extend the water-bearing zanja in that direction that made his fortune. He became a banker, partnering with, among others, Isaias Hellman in forming the Farmers and Merchants Bank (which eventually became part of the current Bank of America); he also invested in more land toward Adams Street, eventually donating property to help found U.S.C. in 1880. He died at age 66 in 1890, leaving his wife and six children, who continued to be much involved together in Los Angeles real estate
  • While the architect of 3125 is as yet unverified, Frederick L. Roehrig, having designed Emeline Childs's 3100, may have been responsible 
  • Stephen Childs had married Gertrude Elizabeth Redman on April 15, 1902 (side note: his sister married her brother a year later); on February 22, 1903, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Childses had recently moved into their new home
  • The first of three children, Elizabeth Bascom Childs, died on November 14, 1905, 13 days after she was born
  • Stephen Childs died at 2325 West Adams on December 11, 1911, two weeks shy of his 34th birthday
  • Mrs. Childs remained in the house until her death there on May 1, 1936; her mother-in-law had died the previous September 24 at her house across the street
  • Mrs. Childs and her mother-in-law were leaving West Adams Boulevard with the neighborhood in steep decline, the affluent preferring newer suburbs along the Wilshire Corridor and on the Westside, particularly after World War I. Many if not most of the larger houses of the Adams District were being divided into remunerative apartments as a result of population pressures during the '20s (as well as to realize the economies of scale needed to maintain aging buildings) or given over to non-domestic enterprises
  • 3125 was acquired by Carl and Emma Jensen, who added a garage in 1938; the Jensens appear to have soon re-sold the property or, having themselves moved not far away to West 22nd Street, turned it into the boarding establishment that it had become by May 1940. A classified advertisement in the Times of April 16, 1943, provides a clue to yet another sort of institutional use as well as a possible tie-in to the new incarnation of Emeline Childs's 3100 as an orphanage: Under "Maternity Hospitals," a "J. Schneider D.P.M." of 3125 West Adams was offering "normal deliveries" there for $85
  • On December 13, 1946, the Southern California Congregational Conference was issued a building permit to convert 3125 into a church. The Church of Christian Fellowship opened soon after, remaining until January 6, 1963, when a procession of parishioners walked from 3125 to the church's newly purchased (and current) sanctuary, formerly the Armenian Gethsemane Congregational Church, at 2085 South Harvard Boulevard 
  • A demolition permit for 3125 was issued to developer Albert Maddox on January 28, 1963; on August 20, 1963, Maddox was issued a building permit for the 16-unit apartment building currently on the corner

In a northward aerial view over the rear of his mother's estate at 3100 West Adams—water tower at
left and stables at lower right—Stephen V. Childs's house at 3125 is seen circled at the northeast
corner of Adams and Second Avenue. Arlington Avenue runs at the right edge; just visible
at top center is 3115 West Adams, a rare survivor in the once-grand neighborhood.

Illustrations: Library of Congress; LAPL