The W. C. T. U.
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A year after completion: The carriage at left is that of a local liquor baron.
At top: The W.C.T.U. Temperence Temple on Temple, seen circa
1922 and appearing much as it was upon completion in 1889.
And another "A" for preserving the actually quite immodest headquarters—immodest at least as it was built in 1889—of their Los Angeles chapter. A five-story sandstone-and-brick fortress once on the northwest corner of Temple and Broadway, the building began, symbolically enough, to wither as Prohibition waned. The city exercised eminent domain twice in the '20s, first taking 10 feet from the Broadway side of the W.C.T.U.'s property and then 12½ feet from the Temple side a few years later. Rather than knock down the whole adored shrine to repression, the ladies literally shrank the building by slicing a 12-foot, 4-inch section parallel to Temple and pushing back the south façade to meet the north side that had remained in place. (Well, the ladies themselves didn't do the pushing—they hired the renown Kress House Moving Company to do the job.)
|Mid slice-and-shuffle: From the Los Angeles Times, October 31, 1931|
1950: Moments from final demolition. The girls really should have
fired whoever came up with "A Maestro of Misery."
Alliterative, but possibly inane.
Down, demolished, flattened was the building...but not so the ladies. The gals did what downtown dwellers in Los Angeles had always done—they moved west, in their case to a big flamboyant South Kingsley Drive Victorian/Craftsman house in a residential neighborhood going commercial, its residents in turn moving as ever westward in the city. Surprise! Now in some ways more pragmatic if still leaning toward the anhedonic, the W.C.T.U. remains in its house on South Kingsley 62 later. Its headquarters have now been there longer than they were in its first home at Broadway and Temple.
The Alhambra Hotel/Apartments appears in both shots above—
its twin across Broadway was another downtown building
moved by the Kress House Moving Company, in its
case to make room for the 1925 Hall of Justice.