Six women standing side by side in the lobby of Hotel Figueroa.

1900-1925: The Hotel Figueroa Prequel

Around the turn of the century… Eleven proper ladies from New York City with a thing for empowerment (and being way ahead of their time) went West, just like the grasshoppers. They founded the YWCA of Greater Los Angeles (Young Women’s Christian Association) with a mission to advance young women in every way—including programs like the Noon Rest, a cafeteria haven where working girls could eat lunch safe from restaurants, which were dangerous and degrading to the un-chaperoned. (Dramatic emphasis added, because you should read that twice.)

In 1922… the YWCA constructed a Health Education building at 941 South Figueroa Street for their members, with a gymnasium and a health “plunge.” Those were the days—achieving health by plunge.

By 1925… As part of the YWCA’s Hotel Building Committee, they planned for a reinforced steel and concrete structure for “the right class of girls.” The kind with means, who preferred hotel life to the women’s rooming houses of the day. They partnered with renowned architectural firm Stanton, Reed & Hibbard to design a unique new hotel at 939 South Figueroa, by and for women. At a record-setting $1.25 million, the hotel was the largest project to be built, financed, owned and later operated by women.