I’ve always wondered what filled all those multi-storied buildings in big cities around the turn of the century. The Terminal Building for the Pacific Electric Railway, shown in the below vintage postcard, was such a building. One of its occupants I found to be as interesting as the building itself – The Jonathan Club.
Pacific Electric Railway Terminal Building
The Pacific Electric Building, also known as the Huntington Building, opened in 1905. This ten-floor height building was the largest building in floor area west of Chicago for several decades. It was also the terminal for the Pacific Electric Red Car Lines south and east of downtown Los Angeles.
With the increase in auto traffic in the 1920s, shared streets became congested. In 1922, the California Railroad Commission issued Order No. 9928, which required the Pacific Electric Railway to construct a subway that bypassed these congested streets.
In 2005, the building was converted into live/work lofts. The lobby currently houses artifacts from it’s days as an active railway terminal. It’s nice to know this piece of history won’t be forgotten.
The Terminal Building’s Top Occupant
The top three floors of the Pacific Electric Railway Terminal Building were occupied by one of Los Angeles’ leading businessman’s clubs – The Jonathan Club until 1925. Historical evidence supported this private club’s roots as being named after Brother Jonathan, the caricature predecessor to Uncle Sam.
Brother Jonathan was a good natured parody of all New England who came into use during the American War for Independence. He wore striped pants, somber overcoat, and a stove-pipe hat. Interesting that a club based out west, names itself after a caricature with ties to the east. After 1865, Brother Jonathan’s clothing was emulated by Uncle Sam.
(Many more antique and vintage postcards can be enjoyed by visiting my store, Remember When Vintage Postcards.)