Mesmer Avenue

Louis Mesmer (1829-1900) was an Alsatian baker who came to L.A. with his family in 1859 and soon took over the United States Hotel, which remained under Mesmer ownership until it was razed in 1939. (He sublet management to the team of Hammel and Denker, his nephews-in-law, in the 1870s.) Mesmer was involved in a wide variety of civic affairs, most notably the construction of St. Vibiana Cathedral. He also acquired significant holdings in the Playa del Rey area, much of which would later be sold off by his son Joseph (1855-1947). Joe Mesmer was as prominent as his dad: his 1879 marriage to Rose Bouchard (1854-1946) was reportedly the first at St. Vibiana’s, and he ran the Queen Shoe Store from the hotel for 28 years. Above all he was a major voice in the development of Civic Center and Union Station. There was once a different Mesmer Ave. (in 1887!) where Culver Blvd. now terminates. This version was named in 1924 on the Mesmer City tract, owned by George Alfred Bray and Howard Grosvenor Teale. (Joe Mesmer surely remained involved, since other streets like Juniette were named for his daughters.) Family footnote: Mary Agnes Christina “Tina” Mesmer (1864-1948), Joe’s sister, was the hapless wife of Griffith J. Griffith: see Griffith Park Blvd.