Monday, January 24, 2011

George Ira Cochran -- 2249 S. Harvard

Born near Toronto, Canada, in 1863, George I. Cochran grew up spending six years (1873 - 1879) in Japan with his parents. Upon his return, he entered Toronto University, becoming an attorney and practicing law. In March, 1888 he came to Los Angeles where he again took up law. In the financial panic of 1893 he became involved with banking organizations, which led him to organize and incorporate the Broadway Bank and Trust Company, which had offices in the Bradbury Building downtown. From there he became part of the forming of the Conservative Life Insurance Company, joining major investor Frederick Rindge.
Cochran's father, after a second mission to Japan, came to live in Southern California to recuperate. He was named Dean of the Liberal Arts college at USC, followed by Acting President in 1893.

Cochran the son was also heavily into real estate. Below is a full-page ad for Pacoima in 1905 in the Los Angeles Herald. George was so proud he put his name in the "Your Investment is Guaranteed" box.



He was also invested in a new West Adams subdivision, where he had a large home built for him around 1903 at 2249 S. Harvard. Interestingly, in the photo of his house below, the house that is visible in the left background belonged to Frederick Rindge.


2249 South Harvard Blvd. in 1908

Upon Rindge's untimely death as President of Conservative Life, Cochran moved into the Vice President's position, following Wilbur S. Tupper, another director and investor in the company, who became President. In 1906 Conservative Life merged with Pacific Life Mutual (founded by Leland Stanford), and after a brief scandal involving Mr. Tupper and a "Los Angeles woman", Cochran became President of Pacific Life Mutual.

Today both the Rindge and Cochran houses still stand. The Cochran house is owned by the First African Methodist Episcopal Church located across the street, and is used for receptions and Sunday School classes.

2249 South Harvard Today
(courtesy of the author)


And another of the businesses Cochran was involved in?  The Rosedale Cemetery, where he was interred upon his death in 1949.

A little-known fact about George Cochran--while in Toronto he was good friends with Arthur Letts, and helped convince Letts to move to L.A. from Seattle, where he had been struggling in the retail business. Cochran then co-signed Letts' original $5,000 loan from a Los Angeles bank, which allowed Letts to start Broadway (and Bullock's) department stores.

Old Homes of Los Angeles

1 comment:

  1. Salvatore Scarpitta, Sr., an internationally known sculptor, did fountain sculptures for the residence. Among countless other works, Salvatore also did the statues above the main entrance to the Los Angeles County+USC Hospital on Mission. A book on his life, "The Noble Sculptor," is expected out in early 2014.

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