Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Shobal P. Mulford -- 1056 South Hill Street

Born in Cincinnati, Shobal Patton Mulford (1850-1922) was known as S.P. to all who knew him.  Passing the Ohio bar in 1878, his ill health convinced him to move to Los Angeles in 1883, where he continued to practice law his entire career. He married Helen B. Farrar (1856-    ) of Cambridge, Ohio in 1885 (he'd met her while they both went to law school in Ohio), and in 1888 they moved into their new house on the northeast corner of Hill and 11th Street.

1056 South Hill Street in 1906.

Along with his law practice, he invested heavily in the banking sector in Los Angeles (including the First National and Commercial National Banks of L.A.), and devoted significant efforts to the Methodist Church and the YMCA and YWCA. The Mulfords donated $1000 in 1906 for a new YMCA building, and Helen was an Officer of the YWCA in 1908 (along with Mrs. W.C. Patterson--who lived less than a mile from Helen, Mrs. W.J. Hole, and Mrs. Homer Laughlin, Jr.)

In 1904 S.P. formed the firm of Mulford & Dryer (along with George Dryer), which still exists today after multiple mergers, specializing in corporate and probate law. In 1905 S.P. took on a no-doubt pro-bono case which resulted in his name in headlines, when a Sunday school teacher at the nearby church was arrested for forging checks. She was allowed to plead guilty and given probation, even though similar crimes of the era were usually given jail time.

The area of South Hill Street matured into multi-family residences, with many of the larger homes on the street being converted to rental rooms. So in 1913 the Mulfords moved west to 5th and Westmoreland. Ironically, that house is still there today, but not 1056 S. Hill.
By the mid-1920's that side of the block had been converted into the Mayan and the Belasco Theaters, changing the whole look of the area.

S.P. in 1906
S.P. passed away in January, 1922. An obituary article in the L.A. Times mentions his interment at Sunnyside Cemetery, Inglewood, which is now part of Inglewood Park Cemetery, where Mr. Mulford's tombstone is present today.  Helen Mulford continued to live in the Westmoreland house past 1934, where the 1930 census determined she was living with her a maid, chauffeur, and a guest.

The Belasco Theater still stands on the site of the Mulford residence. Closed for 20 years, it reopened in 2013 as a dance club and concert venue.

1056 South Hill Street today (courtesy of maps.google.com)

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