AKA: Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet Convent, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Brown, Carroll H., Architect (firm); Carroll Herkimer Brown (architect)

Dates: constructed 1890-1891

3 stories

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2421 South Figueroa Street
South Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA 90007

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Overview

This flamboyant essay in the usually more sedate Richardsonian Romaneque Style was erected for a Michigan-based lumber magnate, T.D. Stimson, who retired to Southern CA. It was designed by Carroll H. Brown, a notable architect working in Los Angeles, CA, during the 1880s-1910s. Brown also designed a large commercial office building for Stimson in Downtown Los Angeles at about the same time.

Building History

Architect Carroll H. Brown (1861-1920) designed this residence for the NY-born lumber magnate Thomas Douglas Stimson (1828-1898) in 1890 and supervised its construction in 1891. Stimson started building his timber empire in the State of Michigan. In the early 1850s, Stimson, alone and in partnerships, began to purchase extensive acreage of pine lands, first near his home in Big Rapids, MI, in the northwestern portion of Lower MI, then in the area around Muskegon, MI, and later throughout the state; much of this was bought as timber land, to supply lumber mills in Big Rapids, MI, (begun in 1858) and the Muskegon area (established in 1880); he also had an ownership stake in several railroads, including the Big Rapids and Western Railroad, developed in part to move his cut timber from forest to mill. The family used trains and their own steamships (they owned four in 1884) to move lumber.

By 04/1869, he was established enough to become one of Big Rapids's first alderman when the city incorporated; he continued to maintain a residence there with his wife, Achsah Jane Spencer Stimson (1834-1904), and their six children, Willard Horace (b. 1854), Olive Jane Stimson Fay (1855-1907), Charles D. (b. 1857), Ezra Thomas (1861-1924), Frederick Spencer (b. 1867), and Jay D. (1870-1900) in 1880. By the early 1880s, T.D. Stimson and his sons extended their business interests to Chicago, IL, and to Seattle, WA, by the 1880s. Between 1886-1891, T.D. Stimson directed operations of his growing business empire from Chicago, where he purchased a house at 3132 South Calumet Avenue in an exclusive neighborhood surrounded by wealthy businessmen. Carroll Brown also designed the T.D. Stimson Building in Downtown Los Angeles, CA, in 1893.

Building Notes

This massive Richardsonian Romanesque house featured a wrap-around front porch and corner turret. A hipped-roof carriage house stood detached in the back yard. Two bay windows projected on the house's southwest facade. Its visual weight provided a stark contrast to the platform-framed wood houses in its vicinity.

In 1895, Willard H. Stimson lived next door to T.D. Stimson at 2426 South Figueroa Street. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1895, p. 1312.)

Alteration

Following Thomas D. Stimson's death in 1898, his widow, Achsah remained in the mansion until she died in 1904. The Stimson Estate then sold the house to Edward R. Maier (1883-), who, along with his brother J. Frederick (d. 1909), owned the Maier Brothers brewery in Los Angeles, CA. After Maier's death, the residence fell into the hands of University of Southern California fraternity which did not take the best care of the building. A private owner bought the house from the frat and then deeded it to Mount Saint Mary's College, who utilized the residence as a dormitory. The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondolet founded Mount Saint Mary's in 1925, establishing the first campus at Slauson Boulevard and Crenshaw Boulevard. Another campus, the Chalon Campus, was created in the Santa Monica Mountains in 1928, and the order took over the former Edward Laurence Doheny, Sr., House #1 (and the Oliver Posey House #1 in Chester Place) as another location in 1962. The Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet later repurposed the Stimson Residence, transforming it into a convent.

Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument (1979): 212

PCAD id: 4736