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Old Posted Apr 12, 2013, 6:58 PM
tovangar2 tovangar2 is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: West Los Angeles
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Originally Posted by ethereal_reality View Post
The extraordinary details of the Temple Block.


The Italianate Temple block was built in 1871 by Francis Pliny Fisk Temple on the site of the old Temple Adobe (the "Temple Block" both referred to the new building on the intersection of Spring, Temple and Main and also, collectively to it and the three adjacent buildings to the south) inherited from his older half-brother John in 1866. It was commonly know as the Lawyer's Block as so many attorneys had offices there. The old Clocktower Courthouse, at that time, was situated to the south across Market St. As there was very little waiting room at the courthouse, attorneys went back to their offices until their cases came up. They were summoned by a court clerk hollering their names out the second-story windows of the court.

FPF Temple formed a bank with his English-born father-in-law, Wm Workman, The Temple & Workman Bank. The bank was in the space occupied by the Los Angeles County Bank in the photo above. The bank closed during the panic of 1875, brought on by the failure of the Bank of California in San Francisco. Temple managed to secure a loan to reopen the bank from the ruthless "Lucky" Baldwin, a San Francisco financier who had become interested in investing in Southern California. The terms of the loan were extremely harsh, Temple and Workman had to pledge everything they had, including their homes, ranches, downtown commercial property and Temple Block itself. However, the bank failed for a second time in 1876. Baldwin, refusing to renegotiate the loan, quickly closed in. Temple and Workman were ruined. Workman, then 76 and a former Mayor of Los Angeles, killed himself. Temple, under extreme stress following his losses, had a series of strokes, finally dying in 1880. He left his wife and seven children.

The Temple & Workman family fortunes were restored in 1914 when Temple's nine-year-old grandson (Workman's great-grandson), Thomas Workman Temple II, discovered a natural gas deposit while playing on land his father owned. The families developed Montebello Oil Field there in 1917. With their renewed funds the families were able to recover their ranch, La Puente (City of Industry) including their private family cemetery, El Campo Santo. Temple and Workman are buried there along with their families and their friend, Pio Pico and his wife.

The old Temple Adobe at Spring, Main and Temple, the original Temple Block:

Another photo:

There's an incredible photo on JScott's Los Angeles Past blog. It shows the steel skeleton of City Hall rising behind the doomed Temple Block.
It's here:

Last edited by tovangar2; Apr 9, 2015 at 12:47 AM. Reason: add image credit + more info
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