Los Angeles County
FREDERICK W. BLANCHARD
The late Frederick W. Blanchard was one of the stanch upbuilders (sic) of Los Angeles, taking an abiding interest in everything that had for its object the development of southern California from the time of his arrival here in 1889 until the time of his death in 1928, thirty-nine years of activity in cultural and commercial affairs. He was born in West Millbury, Worcester county, Massachusetts, August 25, 1864, a son of John and Harriet (Putnam) Blanchard, both natives of the Bay state, where the father was for many years a prominent factor in the business life of that community as the owner of a large shirt factory in West Millbury. Frederick W. Blanchard attended the public schools of his native city and completed his education in the Boston Latin School. At the age of sixteen he went abroad and toured the various countries of Europe and upon his return to the United States went to Denver, Colorado, in 1882. There he obtained employment in a music store, a business for which he had a natural aptitude. In 1883 he opened a store in partnership with a Mr. Clark under the firm name of Clark and Blanchard and continued business under that name until he sold his interests to come to Los Angeles, California, in 1889.
Soon after his arrival here Mr. Blanchard organized the firm of Fitzgerald & Blanchard Music Company. This establishment soon gained recognition as the leading music firm in southern California, a position which it retained during the later years through its progressive and up-to-date policies. Mr. Blanchard erected Blanchard Hall, the first structure west of Chicago devoted primarily to music and art, and it was during his leadership in Blanchard Hall, and his presidency of the Gamut Club, that many celebrities of international repute were brought to Los Angeles.
Early in 1906, Mr. Blanchard became interested in and actively identified with the aesthetic development of his adopted city. He organized the Art Commission, of which he was secretary, and through his efforts this body became a municipal commission under the provisions of the city charter of September 5, 1911. He was made president and secretary of this commission in 1912 and was thus enabled to direct the early efforts of the organization along lines that resulted in the greatest good to the city. On August 12, 1922, he was again elected to the presidency and reelected each year thereafter until his death on September 21, 1928. He it was who originated the movement for an exhibit in the city hall, and in the beginning secured a small collection of paintings. The plan was to replace these from time to time with others, all of which were to be the work of local artists. His influence in the musical life of the city was large, for he founded the well known Brahms Quartet, and was president of the Los Angeles Symphony Orchestra Association. He was deeply interested in the development of a civic center worthy of Los Angeles, as well as an advocate of a union railroad station on the Plaza site, as president of the Central Development Association. He took a leading part in planning the new city hall and devoted much time and study to the inscriptions, he being a member of that commission. Mr. Blanchard served as county chairman of the first good roads commission, and was chairman of the group of citizens that planned the first ornamental lighting system for Broadway. In 1920 he formed the Community Park and Arts Association of Hollywood and served as its president 1920-1923. This later became the Hollywood Bowl Association, of which he served as a member of the board of directors until resigning on account of ill health. He was one of the pioneers in civic, musical and cultural life of the city. The following lines were approved by the Hollywood Bowl Association September 11, 1926: “Mrs. Artie Mason Carter and F. W. Blanchard deserve praise above all others for the success of the summer symphony concerts and for popularizing this form of outdoor music in southern California.” Mr. Blanchard served as a member of the City Plan Commission, was chairman of the Police and Fireman’s Relief Fund, chairman of the first Community Chest and head of the Agricultural Board for the new Winsor Square. He was identified with the Hollywood land, Arrowhead and Dana Point development, and president of the American Opera Association. At the time of King Albert of Belgium’s visit to Los Angeles Mr. Blanchard was chairman of the reception committee. He was a member of the California, the City, the Gamut (of which he was one of the organizers), the Los Angeles country (a charter member), the California Yacht, the Catalina Yacht, and the Newport Yacht Clubs.
Mr. Blanchard was twice married. His first wife was Marian Tucker by whom a son, Dudley Tucker Blanchard, was born. For his second wife he married in Los Angeles, Grace Hampton, on June 18, 1902. She is a native of New York and a daughter of Ellis C. and Minerva (Baker) Hampton, both of whom were born in New York state. The mother died when her daughter was but three years old. Mr. Hampton came to Los Angeles in 1898 and purchased twelve acres of land on Western and Sunset boulevards. Frederick W. Blanchard was a progressive, virile and public spirited citizen, thoroughly in harmony with the spirit of the age in which he lived. His keen business instincts and mature judgment in practical matters yielded individual success fully commensurate with his efforts. He never permitted the accumulation of money to affect his attitude towards those less fortunate but was always kindly, considerate and gracious to all whom he contacted. His career was fraught with inestimable blessings to his community and no resident of the city held a more exalted place in public confidence and respect than did he.
Transcribed By: Cecelia M. Setty.
Source: California of the South Vol. V, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 181-183, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 Cecelia M. Setty.