AKA: Southern Pacific Railroad Company, Headquarters, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA; Pacific Electric Lofts, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA
Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - commercial buildings - stores
Dates: constructed 1902-1904
Los Angeles architect Thornton Fitzhugh (1864-1933) had a lucrative client in the Pacific Electric Company, Los Angeles's electric railway monopoly. He designed a number of stations for the firm throughout Southern California. This headquarters building served mixed-uses; its first floor housed stores and restaurants; the upper stories accommodated railway offices and the elite Jonathan Club.
Before transplanting himself to Los Angeles in 1895, Fitzhugh had done design work for other railways in the East, including the Cleveland, Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis (aka the CCC&St or "Big Four") Railway, and the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Railway. Collis P. Huntington (1821-1900), one of the Central Pacific Railroad's four founders, controlled the C&O between 1868 until 1886. New York-native Henry Huntington (1850-1927), nephew of Collis P., worked on many of his uncle's far-flung railroad ventures, in the East and West. By the 1890s, Henry had settled in the West, becoming a large real estate owner in Southern CA. He also became active in commuter transportation systems in the fast-growing and sprawling Los Angeles area. By 1898, he owned the urban Los Angeles Railway (aka the "Yellow Car Line") which would eventually maintain 20 routes and 642 miles of track with as many as 1,250 trolley cars. Three years later, he would also found the "Red Car Line," the Pacific Electric Railway Company, whose trolley lines would interconnect the sprawling cities of Southern CA, with, at its height, about 1,000 miles of track and 415 trolley cars.
The C&O Railway was building a substantial infrastructure of bridges, viaducts, warehouses, maintenance facilities and terminals in the Covington, KY-Cincinnati area by the 1880s. Fitzhugh may have known Henry Huntington while doing work for the C&O in Cincinnati and, without doubt, got the job for the Pacific Electric Headquarters as a result of his prior railroad commissions.
Opening on 01/15/1904, Thornton Fitzhugh's Beaux-Arts Pacific Electric Building (also known as the Pacific Finance Building) housed millionaire Henry Huntington's Southern Pacific Railroad headquarters. Underneath the 10-story building, the inter-urban Pacific Electric Red Car Line maintained its main Downtown terminal.
Thornton Fitzhugh leased Room #482 as his architectural office in 1912.
Cole's Restaurant has operated in the ten-story Pacific Electric Building since 1908. On the building's top three floors, the elite Jonathon Club (founded in 1895) had its second clubhouse, operating between 1905-1924.
Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument (10/17/1989): 104
PCAD id: 11714