Going Right to the Heart of Hellman's Financial Empire
I am heading back down to
evening at Metropolis Books, a small independent bookstore in the heart of the
city’s downtown and banking districts.
I am really looking forward to this reading because the store sits next door to
the building Isaias Hellman constructed in 1905 for his Farmers and Merchants
Bank. It is also the site of his old homestead. He constructed a house here in
1877, one that was so far away from the center of Los Angeles that he gave an
adjacent plot of land to a friend with the caveat he build a house, too. See,
Hellman didn’t want his wife, Esther, and son, Marco, to be lonely living so
far away from everyone else.
The house Isaias Hellman built in 1877.
What the same intersection looked like in the
early 20th century. The building on the corner is the Farmers and Merchants
Bank. The L-shaped building wrapped around the bank is the
a large office building.
Hellman’s brother Herman built this office building on
Spring Street in downtown
around 1903. It is known today as Banco Popular.
The current owners of the bank and office
building (now converted to lofts) are going to give me a tour before my talk.
They also own the popular Pete’s Cafe across the street, where there is a
delicious Hellman burger on the menu.
In advance of my arrival, the Jewish Journal of Los Angeles gave Towers of Gold