When Flanders retired to California in 1913 he moved to San Diego, the city whose boom period had lured JEF from Dallas in 1887, he was sixty-four years old. The family members that accompanied him and his wife included his daughter Jennie and her family and his son James Leroy and his family. He left two sons in Dallas' Greenwood Cemetery, Earle B. who died in 1884 and Waite S. who died of typhoid fever the previous year, 1912. Waite's young son, James Edward Flanders III, also accompanied the family to California.
JEF considered himself something of a pioneer in travel by automobile after vacationing in California in 1913 and having made the trip by car when there were few improved roads. Afterwards, he championed the cause of a paved highway between Dallas and Los Angeles. In 1924, the family took a six month touring vacation, beginning it when JEF was seventy-four and returning six months later, when he was seventy-five. The trip covered over 9000 miles by auto as he returned to visit Chicago, the city of his birth, and from there, traveled through the northwestern part of the United States. A brief account of the trip was communicated to the Recorder of his Dallas lodge in a letter from JEF after his return.
He maintained contact with his Dallas lodge brothers and, in 1927, in an account to them of an errand to visit a former Dallas member said of the response that the Brother "appreciated the spirit of the thought to such an extent that tears filled his Eyes and Voice". This letter was written on July 7th, 1927. Less then a year later, on July 2nd, 1928, the communications from Hollywood to Dallas were of another nature.
JAMES E. FLANDERS RESIDENCE - ca1914
San Diego, California
FLANDERS APARTMENTS - 1916
In Dallas, Flanders had built and managed the Los Flanders Apartments which were located on the property adjoining his home. In Hollywood, he and wife resumed the role of an apartment building owner and they also occupied one of the apartments - although they employed a manager to handle the business. In the September, 1919 issue of The Architect and Engineer, an article on apartment houses bemoaned the economic conditions of the time and stated that "the individual house is gone". Apartments were presented as the answer to reducing costs and improving living conditions...by... getting together under one overhead, avoiding duplication of effort and resources. Featured in the article was JEF's plan for the Flanders Apartments, which he built in 1915-1916 on Canuenga Avenue in Hollywood. He constructed these apartments on part of a large tract of land he purchased there near the current location of the Hollywood Bowl. He and his wife lived there until 1925 when he built the Dupont Hotel across the street. He managed these and lived there until his death in 1928
In the Greene & Greene style Flanders Apartments, JEF adapted the style to the open living encouraged by the California climate. A large amount of space is devoted to balconies, courtyards, and porches. The plan presents some unusual features. In one of the two apartment plans, cozy dining nooks surrounded by windows extended onto the balcony. There are no 'bedrooms', there are instead, 'libraries'„ In each of these libraries, a pivoting bed provides access to a small dressing room behind it. In one plan, the only access to the kitchen from the living room is through the library - and then only when the bed is in the "closed" position. Consideration for privacy is maintained by the separation of the units by walkways and exterior space. The only wall common to two units is a short kitchen wall. The apartments were in use until 1941 when they were razed.
JEF and his wife were visiting their son in Placentia, California, a small rural town about thirty miles from Los Angeles, in the earlier part of June, 1928. While there Flanders became ill from a urinary obstruction, a long standing condition. He fell into unconsciousness and as early as June 13th his physician's prognosis was that JEF's condition was terminal. The events of the next three weeks were detailed in a series of letters from Hermann E. Bennett, Past Master of Larchmont Lodge No.734 to the Dallas Commandery No.6, Knights Templar, where JEF continued his membership. Bennett maintained close contact with the family and quickly dispatched reports to Dallas. The letters indicate that the news of JEF's illness was cause of concern in several lodges in Hollywood. The letters included statements about his Masonic activities and position such as:
"Eminent Sir Knight Jimmie had visited Hollywood Commandery and has been received and greeted with all the honors befitting his high rank, and I will inform the Commander and Knights of this good frater's condition. The brother is a life member of Hollywood Masonic Club . . ."
Flanders rallied somewhat on the sixteenth day of June, the day before his seventy-ninth birthday. He regained consciousness, his fever subsided, and he declared that he was feeling quite well. Mary took advantage of the improvement to return home for a brief rest. However, the change was temporary and JEF soon fell into a coma. He succumbed to the illness two weeks later on the first day of July, 1928 at 3:35 in the afternoon. A wire addressed to E. J. Hess, Recorder, Dallas Commandery K T Masonic Temple Dallas arrived 2:10 AM the next morning. It read:
Flanders died three thirty five Sunday afternoon particulars letter you write or wire Mrs Flanders my care =
It was signed by Mr. Herman Bennett. In his final communication to Dallas on July 6th, Bennett stated that "Burial services of Eminent Sir Knight James Flanders came at 2 PM Thursday, July fifth, under auspices of Hollywood Commandery No 56 with full Templar service". He noted that the music included "A hymn of which Jimmie was very fond - "In the Garden", he would sit at piano by the hour and pick it off with one finger". He was interred at the Forest Home Cemetery in Glendale, California.
Flanders had apparently made complete arrangements for the disposition of his properties before his death as the only specific bequests mentioned in his will were several pieces of jewelry. He left a Scottish Rite ring and a gold locket to his son LeRoy. To his grandson, James Edward Flanders III, he bequeathed his gold hunting case watch and to his daughter Jennie, he left his Eastern Star jewel. He also left a Royal Arch Masonic jewel and a Knight Templar jewel to either LeRoy or James E., III provided they reach those degrees within ten years after his death. Neither did and in the termination of the probate proceedings eleven years after his death, his daughter, son, and grandson signed waivers permitting the jewelry to remain the property of his wife, Mary.
James Edward Flanders left another legacy. The first known JEF building was the 1877 Binkley Hotel in Sherman, Texas. The last was the 1927 Dupont Hotel in Hollywood, California. Between those two was a fifty-year career that covered a tremendously challenging geographic area and resulted in well over three hundred structures. He left a legacy to the people of Texas and Oklahoma in his structures that still remain there today, having survived the periods of fashionable renewal to a time when people are concerned about their heritage. Preservation has now become a watchword among many and there are people among us who are caretakers of our architectural legacy. With vigilance, these extant structures can stand to speak to other generations.
Recalling his career to date, Flanders, in his address as president of the Texas Association of Architects in July, 1909 said:
Until the last few years Texas has not held out much encouragement to the men of our profession. We who have spent our
lives in the state can vouch for that; and those that are now coming among us to assist in the development of the state in
its architectural bringing out will never know of all the elements that entered into the producing of some of the architectural
misnomers that are yet to be found in some locations. Nor will they know and experience the hours of tedious ride in a hack
to meet in competition for some comparitively trivial structure a contractor, who was perhaps a better architect that he; also
he will miss the sight of the bounding antelope, the whirring prairie chicken and barking prairie dog. He will also not know him
of the high-heeled boots, clanging spurs, $75 saddle and $10 pony and ready six-shooter. But who is not glad to have been a
pioneer in Texas? Texas, dressed up in her future skyscrapers, classical architecture, many railroads, and coming development,
will never be more grandly grand than she is or has been to some of us."
THIS PHOTOGRAPH, FROM A FAMILY PHOTO ALBUM, was captioned "Home of J. E. Flanders, 1320 Puterbough St., San Diego, California". Other photographs on the same page are dated 1914. The modest home was the first California structures designed in the Greene and Greene style.
JEF DESIGNED THE FLANDERS APARTMENTS in Hollywood and moved there himself from San Diego in 1915. He later built and managed a hotel across the street.
Illustration courtesy of Mrs. Mary Crane
THE SECOND FLOOR PLAN OF THE FLANDERS APARTMENTS in Hollywood, California. JEF designed and built these apartments in 1915-1916
Illustration courtesy of The University of California at Berkeley
JEF AND FAMILY with flags flying and the spare tire lashed to the side of the car. ca1914. the timing is right for this to have been made during the move to California. Photo from a family album.
Flanders was still an active man at this point in his life. His will was written in Dallas in 1920, indicating that he made a trip there in that year. It was in the year 1923 that he sat for examination for certification as an architect in California. He made the 9000 mile road trip in 1924 and he made another trip to Dallas the following year, 1925. He completed his last architectural design and construction in ca1927, his own Hotel Dupont.
Flanders last building was the Hotel Dupont at 1975 Cahuenga in Hollywood. He managed the hotel and actually became a resident in 1927, the year before his death. The building still exists as the Cahuenga Apartment Building. A posting on the website http://www.whitleyheights.com says "Hollywood will be lucky to have the Cahuenga Apartment Building remodeled this year. In the 1920's it was once called "Hotel Dupont" and even though there was no fire-escape the building hosted a wonderful rooftop garden. During the 1930's and 1940's the building was called "Hotel Padre" and always flew the American Flag high." and " "An iconic fixture in the Whitley Heights landscape since its construction in 1925, the five-story
facility currently houses 104 apartment units and..."
HOTEL DUPONT AFTER IT BECAME KNOWN AS THE HOTEL PADRE
Illustration - A 1943 postcard
FIRST CHRISTIAN CHURCH - 1915
Photo from the book "History of the Disciples of Christ in California by E. B. Ware.
This was, in all likelihood, JEF's last church. The design is not new but is identical to the extant First Christian Church designed by Flanders & Flanders built in Fulton, Missouri three years before. (See page 3 of Chapter 8)
With a "Beaux Arts/Classical Revival influence", the church had the dome design seen on other Flanders churches of this style and the building was built of red brick. It was located on N and Tuolumne streets.