Celebrating the 19th Amendment and the First Safe Haven Hostel for WomenBreaking News
tags: Los Angeles, urban history, womens history, 19th Amendment
This August also marks the 94th anniversary of one of the nation’s first-ever female hostelries, the Hotel Figueroa in Downtown Los Angeles, an enduring, collaborative safe haven for women. From the battle for women’s’ rights to the current global pandemic, Hotel Figueroa has served as a backdrop for some of the most challenging and memorable moments in American history, a representative of both the endurance of women and the City of Angels’ entrepreneurial, creative, and resilient spirit.
Originally opened in 1926 as an exclusive womens’ hostel by the YWCA, Hotel Figueroa was, according the Los Angeles Times, the largest project of its kind in the United States to be financed, owned, and operated by women. It was advertised as “an ideal stopping place for ladies unattended.” The first managing director was Maude N. Bouldin, the first female hotel manager in America who regularly flew planes, rode motorcycles, and openly challenged the gender norms that often kept women from achieving their full potential. Under her leadership, the space served as a meeting place for almost every woman's club in Los Angeles.
The Hotel Figueroa continues its rich history deeply rooted in the Los Angeles women’s movement. Today, the majority of the boutique hotel's staff is female. Signs of Maude Bouldin and the women of the YWCA can be seen throughout the hotel including a large portrait hanging in the hotel’s lobby of Maude Bouldin on a motorcycle. The Grande Salle, the hotel's private event room, includes vintage photographs of the women of the YWCA. Over an original fireplace is the famous YMCA triangle relic, indicating female strength and power, a symbol of the YWCA hotel for women.
This year the iconic Figueroa Hotel is celebrating a year-long Featured Artist Series partnership showcasing the works of local independent female artists. This fall, Featured Artist, Stephanie DeAngelis will make her debut with an art collection tied to spiritually connecting folks from all walks of life in these times of social isolation.
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