Whole Lotta Irving

PopPop’s decorative artist pal Irving recently joined the OGs on an Esotouric bus adventure, Main Street Vice & Hotel Horrors. Irving thinks the tour is pretty weird, but enjoys the opportunity to see historic buildings and muse on the engineering feats that raised ’em. He’s also got some thoughts on the innate modesty of the Jewish female, in an episode we’re calling Whole Lotta Irving. Tune in and you’ll see why.

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Hollenbeck Memorial Chapel, 1908

Today, the OGs bring you a rare glimpse inside one of the most beautiful unknown buildings in Los Angeles, the 1908 Chapel erected in honor of young John Edward Hollenbeck, Jr. (1854-1857) by his mother, the philanthropist Elizabeth Hollenbeck.

The Hollenbecks made their fortune in Nicaragua, and sought to protect their only son from the rigors of jungle life by sending him to live with his paternal grandparents in Pecatonica, Illinois. But the child was stricken with diphtheria there, and died, aged two and a half. Mail between the US and Central America was poor, and it was not until the Hollenbecks arrived in New York on their way to see their son that they learned the news of his death.

In a letter written 1876, Elizabeth Hollenbeck told a friend “Many years have passed since we were called upon to hear the painful loss of our boy and there has been an aching void in my heart ever since.”

In 1908, when her son would have been 54, Elizabeth Hollenbeck dedicated a non-denominational chapel in the neo-classical style, decorated with cherubs, stained glass and fluted columns, to the memory of her child. This miniature gem is the last surviving historic structure on the grounds of Hollenbeck Palms, the home for the elderly founded by Mrs. Hollenbeck in 1890 on the land surrounding her residence.

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