Archiving Angeles (AA): Chamber Cornerstone


Architecture was more about civic pride than individual ego. It was a testament to the men and the mark they would leave on a city. It was their Los Angeles legacy.

On this day, it was the cornerstone laying ceremony at the Chamber of Commerce Building at First & Broadway. Spectators, dressed in their finest, came to see the marching band. They came to witness history in the making.

The year was 1903.

Photo from the USC Digital Archive

4 thoughts on “Archiving Angeles (AA): Chamber Cornerstone”

  1. This is amazing. Working for a general contractor, I can attest that we don’t get turnouts like this for our ground breaking ceremonies or anything like that. But really, who can jusify the cost of a marching band anymore? :-)

    Thanks for sharing it!

  2. And as a bit of trivia. That intersection was by plan the original end of Route 66, it was several years later that the “mother road” was pushed further down to Santa Monica. For a decade that was the Finish line for Route 66 on the journey west.

    Nice post, Friday just isn’t Friday until this post makes it up.

  3. Is it possible that a sizeable part of the crowd were members of Masonic orders? Laying a cornerstone would be a notable event for them, and they did use bands in many public events. I’m not familiar with Masonic history in LA but I know in other areas of the country they were active in many civic events and one might expect Masons to be active in the Chamber of Commerce….

  4. @gabriele360: A look at this other image from the same event shows that you are right about Masons at the cornerstone laying.

    The men in the lower right corner of that photo are wearing aprons and collars, as are the three men seated in the foreground of the stage. I would guess that the Grand Master of Masons in California laid the cornerstone, since I note several collars and aprons that look like Grand Officer regalia.

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