Hershey Arms (Demolished) | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo from J. Eric Lynxwiler Collection

Hershey Arms (Demolished)

The Hershey Arms launched a new era in the history of Wilshire Boulevard, introducing a fine hotel to what had been a residential boulevard.

The hotel was named for Mira Hershey, a transplant from Muscatine, Iowa, who invested her inheritance in the construction of magnificent homes on Bunker Hill and hotels. She ran the landmark Hollywood Hotel and endowed the first women's dormitory at UCLA, but never took any role in managing the Hershey Arms.

It was a rambling brick edifice surrounded by semi-tropical gardens and decorated with Japanese furniture by proprietor Helen Mathewson, herself an interesting figure in early twentieth-century Los Angeles. Mathewson was president of the Humane Animal League and argued strenuously for the proper treatment of horses and stray animals.

The Hershey Arms became popular with visiting society ladies before newer hotels opened along the boulevard. It was razed in 1957 and replaced with the Western and Southern Life Insurance Company, now used by the L.A. Housing Authority and the Social Security Administration.

Photo by Laura Dominguez/L.A. Conservancy

Margaret and Harry Hay Residence

Designed by modernist Gregory Ain in the International Style, this residence formed the backdrop to gay rights activist Harry Hay's early efforts with the Mattachine Society.