AKA: Temple, Francisco Pliny Fisk, Building #2, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA; Temple Building, Downtown, Los Angeles, CA

Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - commercial buildings

Designers: [unspecified]

Dates: constructed 1871, demolished 1927

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Main Street and Spring Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90015

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The Temple Block #2 occupied 4 Spring Street in 09/1882. It stood at the junction of Main, Spring and Court Streets at that time. (See Los Angeles, California, City and County Directory, 1881-2, [Los Angeles: Southern California Directory Company, 1881], p. 140.)


The Temple Block #2 was one of the most significant commercial office buildings in early Los Angeles of the 1870s and 1880s. Along with the Arcadia and Baker Buildings, both owned by Col. Robert S. Baker (1825-1894), these three office blocks housed many professional offices during that time. Law firms, particularly, clustered in the Baker and Temple Blocks.

Building History

The Temple Block #2 was erected for Francisco Pliny Fisk Temple (1822-1880), a politician, banker and owner of the Rancho Santa Anita.

In 1878, the Newmark Brothers, engaged in the wholesale grocery business in early Los Angeles, purchased the Temple Block #2. An article in the Los Angeles Herald stated that this sale was one of the largest ever transacted in Southern CA to that time: "The Messrs. Newmark yesterday received title to the famous Temple Block, which they purchased, some time ago, at judicial sale, for upwards of $131,000. This is probably the largest real estate transaction which has taken place in Los Angeles since the Messrs. Newmark sold their Santa Anita ranch to Mr. E.J. Baldwin. The Messrs. Newmark propose making quite a number of improvements in their new property. When these shall be completed, considering the central location of the block, this ought to be one of the most productive pieces of real estate in California. This sale, the purchase by Senator Jones of his two-thirds interest in the San Vicente ranch and the purchase by Mr. Baldwin of the Santa Anita ranch, are probably the three heaviest real estate transactions which have ever been chronicled of Los Angeles county." (See "Deed to Temple Block," Los Angeles Herald, vol. 9, no. 98, 03/22/1878, p. 3.) The Temple Block sale of 1878 signalled the increasing importance of real estate in Los Angeles's urban core; prior to this time, the two largest deals involved agricultural rancho properties. It served as a harbinger of the enormous urban growth and real estate speculation that Los Angeles would experience in the 1880s.

The Los Angeles City Directory of 1879-80 said of the Temple Block #2: “Other buildings of note are the Temple Block, at the junction of Main and Spring streets—a very substantial edifice, the lower portion of which is occupied by the Los Angeles County Bank and a number of stores, and the upper portion by the Justices’ Courts and attorneys’ offices.” (See Howard L. Morris and Thomas Wright Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1879-80, p. 20.)

Building Notes

The Temple Block #2 was located opposite the United States Hotel.

The early Los Angeles bank the Temple and Workman Bank occupied space in the Temple Block #2 in 1872.

Attorneys Thom and Ross occupied space in the Temple Block in 1878. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1878, p. 109.)

H. Slotterbeck, a gun dealer, M. Kremer, an insurance salesman, and attorney Will D. Gould occupied space in the Temple Block, 09/1882.

The Los Angeles County Bank maintained its operations in the Temple Block in 1883. J.S. Slauson was its president at that time. (See Los Angeles, California, City Directory, 1883, p. 126.)

A court case, Los Angeles (City) v. Kaspare Cohn (1839-1916), concerned a question of title to a strip of land on or near the Temple Block property, 04/1892.

In 1899, the Main Street Savings Bank, with $100,000 in capital, maintained its headquarters in the Temple Block #2. T.L. Duque served as the bank's president in 1899, with I.N. Van Nuys, its vice-president, and H.V. Duque, the cashier. Its board of directors included H.W. Hellman, Kaspare Cohn, H.W. O'Melveny, L. Winter, O.T. Johnson, Abe Haas, and W.G. Kerckhoff. (See Main Street Savings Bank classified advertisement, Los Angeles Times, 11/07/1899, p. 9.)


The Temple Block #2 was razed in 1927. The Los Angeles City Hall #3 was erected on its site.

PCAD id: 352