Structure Type: built works - recreation areas and structures

Designers: Allison and Allison, Architects (firm); Mayberry, Edward Leodore, Jr., Architect and Structural Engineer (firm); David Clark Allison (architect); James Edward Allison (architect); Edward Leodore Mayberry Jr. (architect/structural engineer)

Dates: constructed 1920-1922, demolished 1967

7 stories

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614 South Hope Street
Downtown, Los Angeles, CA 90071

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The University Club stood at 614-622 South Hope Street in 1923.

Building History

Allison and Allison prepared plans for the University Club in Los Angeles, CA, in 04/1920. This was the second home of this club, open to college graduates and select others who shared their "college ideals." The club first met in Al Levy's Restaurant in its earliest days, and later occupied accommodations on the second and third floors of the three-story building at 349 South Hill Street between 1905-1910; the second facility was open from 1910-1922, on the top floor of the consolidated Realty Building at 6th Street and Hill Street. The third, Allison and Allison-designed clubhouse opened formally on 07/06/1922.

In a lengthy article published in the Architect and Engineer in 1922, writer and architect Irving F. Morrow (1884-1952) admiringly described the new building. He stated that the new University Club of Los Angeles " an architectural achievement of substantial importance." (See Irving F. Morrow, "A Notable Architectural Achievement--The University Club of Los Angeles," Architect and Engineer, vol. LXXII, no. 1, 01/1923, p. 47.) He continued, "If it performed no other service, it would demonstrate that street architecture is not of necessity uniformly flat, thin, and featureless, save for superfluous and vulgar excrescences. The injection of life, spirit, buoyancy, romance into a modern city's dingy and stupid midst is a public service." (See Morrow, p. 47.)

Morrow described the building's arrangement: "The club building proper stands free on all four sides, a structure of seven stories occupying the northern half of the lot. A driveway separates it from the northern line. The south half of the lot is occupied by the club garage, one story in height, on the roof of which is installed a semi-formal garden of ample size. All of the main rooms of the club are placed on the south side, thereby gaining the garden view and unobstructed sunlight across its open space. The ground floor of the club comprises entrance lobby, office, check room, and women's dining room. The social life of the club centers on the second floor, embracing the main lounge room (on the garden level), writing room, library and silence room, and game rooms. The third floor contains tanks, motors, and the other practical necessities which generally clutter the roofs of city buildings with unsightly pent-houses. The whole composition develops in concise and organic fashion from and around its four large features--garden, lobby, lounge room, and dining room." (See Irving F. Morrow, "A Notable Architectural Achievement--The University Club of Los Angeles," Architect and Engineer, vol. LXXII, no. 1, 01/1923, p. 49-50.)

He indicated that the club accommodated its purposes elegantly with a minimum of pretense and hidebound planning features: The club had "...a function is dominantly social. It is a retreat, a community home, built around a real fellowship. To maintain an essential simplicity and unity in meeting varied needs, all in a situation naturally uncongenial, became the architects' task. Long and careful consideration enjoined an informal type of architecture, warm, quiet, intimate, romantic, unconstrained by irrelevant conventions, unencumbered by unessential parts and details, unobligated to useless expenditures, flexible in disposition of minor parts." (See Morrow, p. 48.) He observed: "The large elements present themselves in their own right, unattended by 'doublures,' ante-rooms, vestibules, and other honorific paraphernalia. Only minds prejudiced in behalf of some particular manifestation of architectural organization will cavail. It is compact, spacious, airy, all parts are logically located and in proper relative subordination, and there is no lapse from strict consistency and unity." (See Morrow, p. 50.) Morrow's comments suggested the greater informality of upper middle-class life on the West Coast, requiring architectural solutions derived from traditional models but trimmed of superfluous ornamentation and purely ceremonial spaces.

Building Notes

In 1924, the University Club of Los Angeles had 1,700 members. It had been founded in 1898 at the home of Russ Avery, by four men, Avery, Leslie R. Hewitt, John D. Gish, and James B. Scott. Avery, Hewitt and Gish attended the University of California, Berkeley, and Scott, Harvard. The group formally incorporated on 03/12/1903 with 84 members. In its early years, it invited noted scholars to lecture before the group, including the astronomer George Ellery Hale (1868-1938) and the philologist and President of the University of California, Benjamin Ide Wheeler (1854-1927).


The Lincoln Savings and Loan Association, later ruined by Charles Keating, bought the University Club #3 in 1964. The deal was that the University Club would lease the top three floors of the Lincoln Savings and Loan's new tower once it was completed in 1967. This 1922 landmark would then be obtained by Lincoln and demolished during the summer of 1967. (See "Old University Club Will Be Demolished," Los Angeles Times, 03/26/1967 pt. O, p. 15.) It was to be a parking lot until Lincoln could figure out how to develop it.

PCAD id: 4486