Case of the Missing Consul

I’ve discovered another mysterious disappearance tied to the Cecil Hotel. This one somehow eluded all previous archival searches, and it’s quite an odd and interesting case. I call it The Case of the Missing Consul. Around noon on December 31, 1947,...

Ghosts of the Cecil

It was with shock and no small amount of horror that we learned that a body, believed to be that of Canadian tourist Elisa Lam, last seen behaving strangely in an elevator security video recorded on February 1, had been discovered today within one of the water tanks...

Sleuthing A Presidential Mystery in Downtown Los Angeles

Should you step into the lobby of the King Edward Hotel at the corner of 5th and Los Angeles Streets in L.A.’s historic Skid Row, and pause to admire the black and gold Egyptian marble fixtures, ionic columns and sweeping mezzanine stair, the odds are better...

The Los Angeles Prosperity Carnival and Indoor Fair of 1915

Here’s a thrilling bit of lost Los Angeles lore worth shining a torch on: after San Francisco’s celebrated Panama-Pacific International Exposition folded up its tents in late 1915, clever promoter H.W. Nixon brought quite a number of the midway attractions...

The URM’s First Home – 145 North Main

The Union Rescue Mission is well-remembered for its historic home at 226 South Main, where it held forth for fifty-plus years.  That site, a labyrinthian place made up of two large linked structures, was famously felled for parking in the mid-1990s, though...

Testimonial #3: Arthur H. Hawkins

Suffice to say that conditions in my life were such that I apparently had nothing to tie to. After leaving the corporation I went with one of the independent companies and was successful in each territory assigned me to the extent that I did not have sufficient work...

Testimonial #2: Eva Dugan

Introduction to Eva Dugan Born in 1876, Mrs. Eva Dugan somehow managed to survive a hard-scrabble childhood to become an adult with few skills, and even fewer expectations. In photographs, Eva seemed to always have a tentative expression on her face, as if she were...

Mother Benton

“Mother” Benton-and this is the only name by which we know this remarkable lady, although she was neither a mother nor a Benton when she began- was converted by Dwight L. Moody in November of 1899, at a revival meeting in Kansas City. He had asked her,...

226 S Main-The Swanfeldt Building

The photo on the right shows the Swanfeldt Building as it appeared in the late 1920s, with its northern half still occupied by the Swanfeldt Awning & Tent Company. The southern section is home to the Union Rescue Mission (URM). In 1926, the URM purchased the...

Transience: Outreach & Enforcement #1

 In anticipation of the October 20 rooftop screening of the Union Rescue Mission’s 1949 film Of Scrap & Steel, in this post we’ll examine two stills from the film as a window to understanding how two mid-century Los Angeles County law enforcement...