LEFT: The First Congregational Church and the Stilwell Hotel (Willmore Building) in 1927 in Long Beach, Calif. The church building was dedicated in December 1914 with more than 2,000 Congregationalists in attendance. It was the largest church in Southern California when it opened.
RIGHT: The First Congregational Church and the Willmore Building on March 18, 2010, in Long Beach, Calif. The Willmore, named after one of the founder’s of Long Beach, was built as a luxury hotel in 1925. Many of the original details of the building have been retained in the lobby and hallways when the building was converted to lofts. In 1880, Bixby sold 4,000 acres (16 km) of the Rancho Los Cerritos to William E. Willmore, who subdivided it in hopes of creating a farm community, Willmore City. He failed and was bought out by a Los Angeles syndicate which called itself the “Long Beach Land and Water Company.” They changed the name of the community to “Long Beach”, which was incorporated as a city in 1888.
NOTE: The writing on the back of the original 1927 print from the Press-Telegram archives referred to the Willmore Building as ‘The Stilwell Hotel’