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James Boon Lankershim

James Boon Lankershim (1850–1931) was an American heir, landowner and real estate developer.

James Boon Lankershim
James Boon Lankershim portrait circa 1900.jpg
BornMarch 24, 1850
Charleston, Missouri
DiedOctober 16, 1931
Los Angeles County, California
Resting placeSan Fernando Valley
OccupationLandowner, real estate developer
Spouse(s)Carolina Adelaide Jones
ChildrenJack Lankershim
Doria Lankershim
Parent(s)Isaac Lankershim
Annis Lydia Moore

Early lifeEdit

James Boon Lankershim was born on March 24, 1850 in Charleston, Missouri.[1] His father was Isaac Lankershim (1818–1882), a German-born Californian landowner who owned 60,000 acres in the San Fernando Valley, and his mother was Annis Lydia Moore (1818–1901), an English-born Californian.[1][2][3]


Hotel Lankershim postcard from 1909

Lankershim joined his father's company, the San Fernando Farm Homestead Association, together with his brother in law, Isaac Newton Van Nuys (1836–1912), focusing on real estate while Van Nuys focused on wheat.[2] He built the Hotel Lankershim (completed 1905) on the corner of Broadway and 7th Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles, now demolished and used as space for a parking lot.[2] He also built the San Fernando Building on the corner of 4th Avenue and Main Street, where his name is embedded in the tiles at the entrance.[2][4]

In 1885, Lankershim established a cavalry unit in the California National Guard, Troop D, and became lieutenant colonel.[2]

Lankershim served as the first president of the Los Angeles Athletic Club, a private member's club in Los Angeles.[5]

Personal life, death and legacyEdit

Lankershim married Carolina "Carrie" Adelaide Jones in 1881.[1][2] By 1900, they separated and she moved to Paris, only to return briefly during the First World War.[2] They had two children, Jack Lankershim and Doria Lankershim.[1] In the 1920s, he retired and moved to the Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.[2] On April 2, 1921, he donated 20 acres of the San Fernando Valley to the Boys Scouts of America, later known as the Arthur Letts Boy Scout Camp after Arthur Letts (1862–1923).[3] In 1940, they built an obelisk in his honor on the donated land.[3]

In 1924, silent actress Adele Blood (1886–1936) introduced him to Irene Herbert, a nurse who became his companion for four years until his family fired her.[2] He died on October 16, 1931 and his ashes were scattered across the San Fernando Valley.[2] After his death, Irene Herbert claimed she had a $500,000-promisory note from her former employer and sued the Lankershim family, but later gave up and committed suicide.[2]

Lankershim Boulevard in Los Angeles is named for the Lankershim family.