90-something Couple's Blog Reveals L.A.'s Most Beautiful Unknown 1908 Building
In 1908, 96-year-old blogger Harry Cooper wasn't even a twinkle in his daddy's eye out in Philadelphia, but on the east side of the L.A.River, philanthropist Elizabeth Hollenbeck was putting the final touches on an exquisite neo-classical chapel on the grounds of her pioneering retirement home in Boyle Heights.
Built in honor of her only child, John Edward Hollenbeck, Jr., who'd died aged two in 1857, the non-denominational space might be the most beautiful unknown building in Los Angeles.
Today's edition of The OGs Blog, the digital outpost of an outspoken and adorable 90-something Jewish couple who've recently settled in the city's oldest Jewish neighborhood, features a series of lovely photographs taken inside the little known Hollenbeck Memorial Chapel. With its soaring blue dome, carved cherubs, jewel-like stained glass, Art Nouveau pipe organ and fluted columns, it is an abiding tribute to the craftsmanship of early 20th Century L.A. artisans and the memories of a mother more than 50 years after she last held her babe.
In 1854, John and Elizabeth Hollenbeck were building what would become one of the great early Los Angeles fortunes in the wilds of Nicaragua. When their son John Junior was born, they made the heart rending decision to send him to live with his paternal grandparents, worried the jungle was too rugged for a child. Tragically, the lad contracted diphtheria and died in Illinois. Like Stanford University, founded by the grieving parents of Leland Stanford Junior, the Hollenbeck Home was an expression of the charitable instincts that bloomed in the heart of a wealthy soul denied to chance to see her son mature into manhood. Thousands of old folks have been the better for her gracious gifts, among them Barbara and Harry Cooper, Hollenbeck's newest residents and the stars of the OG Blog.
Tune in to the OGs blog for such video features as "Ask Grandma Anything" (Barbara's hip and sassy advice column, your questions welcome, though Harry warns if you follow her advice you'll either end up in the poor house or in the White House), "Poppop's Adventure Corner" (Harry's ruminations on exploration, science, time travel and his voyage up the Amazon), plus jaunts"Around Hollenbeck" (at the retirement home) and "Around the Hood" (out and about in East LA and downtown).
At 96 and 91 respectively, Harry and Barbara Cooper are bright and witty, with a unique perspective on contemporary life and L.A. history. Tune in for your daily dose of the OGs at http://www.the-ogs.com