R B Young Biography

This sketch briefly outlines the remarkably successful careers of one of the oldest, and best known architects in Los
Angeles. This gentleman is one of the few men who can boast of having intimately been identified with the rise and progress of this beautiful city, and many of its most substantial structures are the creations of his facile pen.

Robert B. Young was born in Huntington County, Canada, where he spent the early years of his youth and young manhood. On entering man’s estate, Mr. Young felt that the place of his birth hardly afforded sufficient scope for the full bent of his indomitable energies, and having decided to follow the profession of architecture for a livelihood, turned about for a place that would offer a larger field for his talents.

Leaving Huntington in 1877, this young man first went to Denver, Colo., where he remained about one year. Not being thoroughly satisfied in Denver, he decided to come to California, and landed in San Francisco, only to leave there at the end of two months, for the city of Los Angeles, arriving here in the fall of 1878, just about the time the first real building boom began to make itself manifest.

On arriving in this city, Mr. Young immediately started into business for himself, as an architect and general contractor. At that period Los Angeles was a thriving city of about 10,000 inhabitants, and extended from the old Plaza on Main Street, south to Fourth Street. Kysor & Morgan (now Morgan & Walls,) and Charles Davis, were the only architects practicing here at that time.

Architect Young, not being the kind of man to sit in his office and wait for clients was soon out hustling for work, which resulted in his b.ing commissioned to prepare the plans for, and erect the old Clifton hotel at the southwest corner of Broadway and Temple Streets. This building is still standing. and is known as one of the “pioneers of the boom of ’78.” While engaged in the erection of this building. Mr. Young received orders to prepare plans for the Hollenbeck hotel, which in turn was closely followed by the Wilson block, the Vickery block, Westminster hotel, and many other buildings of more or less prominence. In fact, this young Canadian so rapidly demonstrated his ability, as a thorough architect, that commissions for plans came pouring in upon him faster than he was able to execute them, and he was forced to abandon the contracting business, and confine his attention entirely to the profession of architecture. At one time during this period of “boom” excitement. Architect Young had under construction 87 buildings. In order to properly superintend this vast number of structures, he found it absolutely necessary to secure some more rapid means of getting around than by walking. The best he could do was a California burro, and it is still an amusing incident of how Young found it compulsory to limit the mule’s luncheon hour, so as to make the rounds between sunrise and sunset.

From these early beginnings Architect Young has steadily climbed the ladder of success. Among some of the more prominent buildings with which he has been identified, can be mentioned the Lankershim block and hotel, St. Mary’s church on Boyle Heights, St. Andrew’s church at Pasadena, the Lexington hotel, the Occidental hotel the Burbank theatre and the old Armory building on Broadway.

The plans for the main building of the Reform School at Whittier, also the power house, were prepared by him and erected at a cost of of about $150,000. A notable feature is the fact that this entire structure was built with only an expenditure of $1300 —for extras.

Mr. Young designed the Reynolds’ Department Store at Riverside. which is considered the largest structure in that city. Also the Yuma Hotel and St. Patrick’s church at Yuma, Ariz. The Corona Bank and Masonic Temple at Corona, Cal Among the many buildings now under way in this office, may be mentioned the handsome brick and stucco dwelling being erected on Vermont Avenue for Mrs. Ella F. Morgan, also the new Empire and Novelty Theatres.

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