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Lost L.A.: Banker brothers left
a lasting legacy downtown

December 28, 2009 |  9:40 am

Lost LA

In this installment of Lost L.A., our columnist Sam Watters looks at how successful bankers over 100 years ago built the cornerstones of what we know as downtown. Brothers and co-founders of the Farmers & Merchants National Bank, Herman and Isaias Hellman, each razed their own homes in order to build architecturally significant banks that represented the best craftsmanship of their day.

"Today, the Hellman offices and bank still stand, reconfigured for a 21st century downtown," Watters writes. "What does not survive are Hellman-era civic ideals that rallied two bankers to invest their fortunes in their adopted city. Think what 31,700 bankers could do today."

To learn more about these two brothers and their lasting landmarks, check out Watters' story here.

-- Deborah Netburn

Photo Credits: At left, the Herman W. Hellman home at 4th and Spring streets gave way in 1903 to the Herman W. Hellman office building. At right, the home of Isaias W. Hellman formerly occupied the corner of 4th and Main streets, now site of the Farmers & Merchants Bank, half surrounded by the Isaias W. Hellman Building.


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