Mathews Street

Architect Walter J. Mathews (1850-1947) was only an Angeleno for a couple of years, but he left an impression – and not just with this street name. Born in Wisconsin, Mathews moved to Oakland with his family in 1866. His father Julius was an architect, and Walter and his brothers Arthur and Edgar followed in the old man’s footsteps. (Edgar later turned to painting.) In 1875, Mathews came down to Los Angeles to partner with the city’s preeminent architect Ezra Kysor (see Central Avenue for more on him), most notably on the completion of the long-delayed Saint Vibiana Cathedral. Mathews also dabbled in real estate development during this period, and in 1876 he and building contractor Charles R. Fickett set up a tract – with streets named for themselves – between present-day 1st and Cesar Chavez. Not long after St. Vibiana’s was finished, Mathews returned to Oakland and went on to a stellar career.