Album of 19th century Los Angeles Photographs: A Charlatan Seeking Investors During Bust Times in Southern California Real Estate
A wonderful contemporary collection of forty-eight original photographs of Los Angeles street and landscape scenes. Most of the photographs contained in the album were sold by Frederic Hamer Maude, a noted commercial and landscape photographer in Los Angeles. The photographs bear the ink stamp (on verso) of: "F. H. Maude & Co., Landscape Photographers, 101 1/2 S. Broadway, Los Angeles." However, it is likely that many of these images were made by well-known landscape photographer C. B. Waite, whose inventory of negatives was purchased by Maude around 1895. At least one of the images retains Waite's name in the negative caption. The Seaver Center for Western History Research at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles has a large collection of Maude's photographs:
By 1895 Maude had relocated to Los Angeles and bought the commercial photography business of C.B. Waite on West 1st Street. Maude’s purchase included the large inventory of Waite’s own photographic negatives, well known works featuring views of Southern California. Maude changed the name of the business to F. H. Maude & Co. and began selling Waite’s collection as well as other local photographers’ works with an imprint of his own name, as was common practice at the time.
This album was prepared for a local Los Angeles real estate impresario named Col. Albert Deleur who had an office at Room 232, Byrne Building, and a residence at 38th Street and Santa Fe Avenue. A staunch Republican who occasionally made political speeches in German to the German-speaking community of Los Angeles, Col. Deleur died under mysterious circumstances. His lifeless body was discovered by a young newsboy on the sand at Long Beach with two empty bottles at his side: one whiskey and the other poison. A lengthy article in the July 30, 1903 Los Angeles Herald gives the fascinating and grisly details of Colonel Albert Deleur (or De Leur's) demise:
Colonel Albert De Leur was one of the best known men about town for a period of fifteen years. He was a promoter of land and investment deals on a large scale... He made frequent trips to France and Germany... Within the last six months Colonel De Leur claimed to have an option on the Los Alamitos Ranch, including the beet sugar factory, which he was endeavoring to sell to the American Beet Sugar trust... Colonel De Leur was always well supplied with ready money, but never discussed his private affairs with his friends and intimates. He claimed to have been one of about ten Europeans who have been inducted into the secrets of Brahminism in India, in which country he resided for some years.
It is possible that Col. Deleur was involved in some sort of financial shenanigans involving Los Angeles real estate. Perhaps he was simply a charlatan who committed suicide. The present album has a typed sheet attached to the inside front cover indicating that it was presented to Col. Deleur by the Merchants and Manufacturers' Association of Los Angeles, "on his departure to Europe." The album was likely compiled to encourage investors to sink money in a real estate scheme orchestrated by Col. Deleur during bust times in Los Angeles and Southern California real estate. It may be one piece of a puzzle that could help explain how Deleur ended up dead in Long Beach a few years later.
An impressive visual record of downtown Los Angeles and environs.
Here follows a list of the photographs:
1. 585. St. John's Episcopal Church, Adams and Figueroa Sts. Los Angeles. Cahill? Maude Photo.
2. South from Court House. Maude Photo. [Several business facades legible: German Fruit Company; Books and Stationery; Electric Engraving Co.]
3. 399. Los Angeles, out Temple from Court House. Maude Photo.
4. 401. Los Angeles. North from Court House. Maude Photo.
5. 149. County Court House, Los Angeles, Calif. [Romanesque "Red Sandstone" court house building completed in 1891, located at Spring and Temple Streets on Poundcake Hill]
6. 177. Court House from West, Los Angeles, Cal. Maude Photo.
7. 150. City Hall, Los Angeles, Calf. F. H. Maude Photo.
8. 145. Spring Street, looking S.W. [Schumacher photo studio on right, also Nadeu building]
9. 627. Spring & Second Street [busy street scene, Postal Telegraph Office on right, and Great Rockland Route, ticket and frieght office]
10. Los Angeles. [Busy street scene, West Lake Park trolley car, Broadway Millinery, National Ice Co. horse wagon]
11. 375. Broadway, Los Angeles [Another street scene in downtown Los Angeles: Elite Millinery, Fred. Barman & Bro., women walking with parasols]
12. 151. Main St. North from Post Office. Los Angeles, Cal.
13. 632. U. S. Government Building. F. H. Maude Photo.
14. 630. Hotel Van Nuys. Los Angeles, Cal. Maude Photo.
15. 685. Hotel Westminster. Maude Photo.
16. Los Angeles. [park scene with several buildings on a hill in background] F. H. Maude Photo
17. 220 1/2. Fifth Street Park. F. H. Maude Photo.
18. 220. Fifth Street Park. F. H. Maude Photo.
19. 148. View in West Lake Park. Los Angeles. F. H. Maude Co. Photo.
20. 470. West Lake Park in Mid Winter. Maude Photo. [with nattily dressed bicyclist] Maude Photo.
21. 532. Los Angeles Park. F. H. Maude Photo.
22. [unidentified institutional building, perhaps hospital or college]
23. 155. View of A... Cal. Maude Photo.
24. 152. Adams St. West from Figueroa, Los Angeles, Calif. F. H. Maude Photo.
25. 385. Adams St. from Figueroa. F. H. Maude Photo.
26. San Gabriel Mission, Los Angeles, Calif. F. H. Maude Photo.
27. 602. Figueroa St., Cor. Adams, Los Angeles, Cal.
28. 192. Residence of T. D. Stimson, Los Angeles, Cal. F. H. Maude Photo. [House of banking millionaire Thomas Douglas Stimson, 2421 S. Figueroa Street, in the University Park neighborhood, built in 1891]
29. 537. Figueroa St. Los Angeles. [palm tree lined sidewalk]
30. 301. La Grande Station. Los Angeles, Calif. Maude Photo.
31. 598 1/2. Oil Wells, Los Angeles.
32. 383. An Adams Street Garden. Maude Photo.
33. 183. Century Plant in the Plaza, Los Angeles, Calif. F. H. Maude Photo.
34. 155. S. P. R. R. Arcade Depot. Los Angeles, Cal. Waite Photo.
35. 146. Washington St. near Toberman, Los Angeles, Calif. Feby. 10, 1893. F. W. Maude Photo.
36. 536. Corner of Figueroa and Washington Strs. Los Angeles, Calif. F. W. Maude Photo.
37. 381. A Palm on Seventh St. Los Angeles, Calif. Maude Photo.
38. 640. Los Angeles Mission Church. F. H. Maude Photo.
39. 629. State Normal School. Los Angeles, Cal. F. H. Maude Photo.
40. 598. Oil Fields, Los Angeles. F. H. Maude Photo. [ink drawn oil gusher with note: "Oil!"
41. [The Bradbury Building, corner of South Broadway and West Third. An architectural icon. Built in 1893]
42. 429. Looking down Broadway from Los Angeles Co. Court House. Maude Photo.
43. 157. Scene on Adams Street Los Angeles. F. H. Maude Photo.
44. S. W. View of Casa De Rosas. F. H. Maude Photo.
45. [San Gabriel Mission, Los Angeles, Calif.] F. H. Maude & Co. stamp on verso.
46. 540. View of [Figueroa Street?]
47. 153. Palm Avenue, Longstreet Homestead, Los Angeles, Cal. F. H. Maude Photo.
48. 479. A Belmoni Avenue Rose Bud [loose photograph, laid in, tears with losses at lower and upper right corners]