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Did You Know: Hotel Figueroa was Built for Businesswomen?

By Eric Richardson
Published: Tuesday, January 06, 2009, at 12:08PM
Hotel Figueroa as YWCA USC Digital Archives / Los Angeles Examiner [digarc.usc.edu]

A photo of the Hotel Figueroa from 1928, with Y.W.C.A. gym and lounge in the rear.

Did you know that the Hotel Figueroa was built in 1926 as a hotel for "business, traveling and professional women and their husbands and children"?

The 409-room was built by the Y.W.C.A., and was billed in the L.A. Times as the "one of the largest financial transactions ever consummated by a body of organized women."

Designed and built by Stanton, Reed & Hibbard, the structure cost $1,250,000. The top nine were exclusively for women, while the bottom two were for men with families.

Ground was broken on September 28, 1925, and the cornerstone was laid on January 18, 1926. Into the cornerstone were placed the hotel's business documents, a "short historical sketch" of the Y.W.C.A., and a roster of the organization's directors and officers from its beginning in 1893 and the current group from 1926. The building was formally opened on August 15, 1926, with a dinner-dance in the Fountain Floor ballroom.

In building the hotel, though, the Y.W.C.A. appears to have overstepped its abilities. In February of 1928, the group opened a fundraising campaign to try and free the organization from its debts. A mortgage bond on the hotel was soon to come due, and the group was worried about losing it. It's not clear whether or not that ended up taking place, but by later that year the hotel had a male manager.

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