Emma had the business head in the family--she had saved $700 from her child tutelage, and she used the money to go in half on a new well in the neighborhood. She ended up following the initial amount with an additional $1800, and the well hit. In fact it was still producing after 10 years. Wells popped up everywhere in the area. The neighborhood by the late 1890's looked like the below, with houses interspersed between well derricks.
|Court Street in 1901|
(courtesy of USC Digital Collections)
|San Francisco Call, 1901|
By 1904 she dealt in 50,000 barrels per month, having moved her office from her home on California St. to the Mason Opera House building downtown. (Note the window lettering, second floor on the right for the linked photo, from lapl.org).
She had contracts with companies such as the Los Angeles Railway Company, the San Pedro, Los Angeles and Salt Lake Railroad, the Redondo Railway Company, the Pacific Light and Power company besides a number of oil refineries and practically every large hotel, laundry and machine shop in the city.
By 1909 she had expanded into paint, opening a paint company with her brother T A McCutcheon as manager. On the home front she and Alpha moved to the new "suburbs" out Wilshire Boulevard, where she first lived at 603 Miami Avenue (now Westmoreland). A photo of the house below as it appeared in 1909:
|603 S. Westmoreland in 1909.|
|Emma Summers' mansion on Wilshire Place|
(courtesy of Sunset Magazine, July 1911)
But the old street was not left undone. Down the block from her early California Street residence Emma had already built the Queen Apartments, which by 1940 had been "downgraded" to the Princess Apartment-Hotel, according to lapl.org. At that time Ansel Adams came by to take a shot of the apartment building as part of an article for the L.A. Examiner. It is said that Emma lived in the apartment building for awhile. The building survived until the early 1950's when the downtown freeway destroyed the whole block. Here's one of three images that Ansel Adams took:
From piano teaching to controlling the L.A. Oil market. Not bad.
1911 Sunset Magazine Article
Photo of Emma Summers used in 1910 Book