Wolfer Printing Company Building
1929 – Edward Cray Taylor and Ellis Wing Taylor
416 Wall Street – map
Every source I’ve looked at, including Gebhard and Winter, McGrew and Julian, and the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, says this Tudor Revival building was put up in 1929. Every source, that is, except the city’s ZIMAS page. It claims the building dates back to 1917. I almost want get off the couch, hustle downtown to the Department of Building and Safety, and conduct a little more research to see what’s what. Almost.
No matter how old, this brick structure was built for the Wolfer Printing Company. It’s founder, William Wolfer, Sr, was born on July 21, 1872, emigrating here from New Jersey at the age of six. In 1952, the Printing Industries Association, Inc., honored him with an award of merit for sixty-seven years of commercial printing service. He died in 1957 in his daughter’s Studio City home. At the time of his death, he was no longer associated with the printing business, but owned the Wolfer Printers Supply Co.
Edward Cray Taylor and Ellis Wing Taylor were the architect and engineer behind the Wolfer Building. Born in Chicago, the brothers would also build Yuma’s Masonic Temple, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Edward Cray also designed the Glassell Park Elementary School, which, while listed on the Register last year, is not a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument. E.C. Taylor died in his Beverly Hills home in 1946 at the age of 49. Engineer Ellis Wing, who was married to silent film actress Anne Cornwall, gained fame by designing airplane factories, including the Douglas plant in Long Beach and San Diego’s Consolidated factory. He died in 1951 in his Arcadia home (where's 1075 Singing Wood Drive?).
While on Wall, I popped in a couple of the individual shops for any signs of the building’s old interior but saw few. One, maybe, is what looks like a vintage hanging lamp. Reconstituted fluorescently, but is there anyone out there who recognizes such an apparatus? Old? New? I think it was hanging in the J-W-T store.
Also, I walked around the top of the neighboring building/parking lot to see if I could get a good shot of that mural evident in this old picture from the city’s Department of City Planning website (I see mountains, I see trees… ). I couldn’t, but you can still see a bit of it in the lower picture here:
Part of the old Mrs M. M. Shaw subdivision, the area of the Wolfer Printing Company Building today is in L.A.’s Skid Row. You really know what city’s skid row you’re in when those on hard times ask you not for change but for which studio you’re shooting location shots.
“Veteran Printer Honored With Award of Merit” The Los Angeles Times Sep 12, 1952 p. 5
“William Wolfer Sr., 85, Early Day Printer, Dies” The Los Angeles Times Sep 3, 1957 p. B2
“E.W. Taylor, Designer of Plane Factories, Dies” The Los Angeles Times Jan 21, 1951, p. B7
Up next: William Mulholland Memorial Fountain