|Poplar and Primrose is one of the intersections immediately north of the former manufacturing tracts of the Alfred Dolge Manufacturing Company. (Click on images to zoom in)|
|A home situated on a Dolgeville subdivision.|
|Palm tree-lined Primrose Avenue.|
Alfred Dolge, a German-born industrialist, arrived in California sometime soon after departing New York in 1898. By 1904 he developed a manufacturing town called Dolgeville, which became Southern California's first experiment in city planning for the working class.
Decades early in New York state, Dolge in 1875 developed a similar town for the manufacture of felt, piano materials and lumber products. He also developed a system of labor insurance, old age and disability pensions, and endowments. By 1881 the eastern town of Dolgeville was incorporated, and in 1898 Dolge went bankrupt.
After arriving out west, Dolge proposed to Henry E. Huntington for the creation of a felt manufacturing plant on a portion of the 500-acre Shorb San Marino Ranch, including the San Gabriel Winery, which Huntington bought in 1903. By the following year, Huntington agreed to transfer winery buildings and a surrounding 20 acres to the Alfred Dolge Manufacturing Company.
Dolge sought to develop a model city whereby nearby homes could be built (through his own Dolge Land Company) and then be purchased by his employees. His plan for the city included 8 parks! Dolge's ideals were at odds with Huntington's, who owned most of the surrounding land in the western San Gabriel Valley. Town-building escalated in 1904, and Huntington was credited with the birth of the town called Dolgeville.
The Dolge Land Company's homebuyers, however, tended to be more affluent, non-employees, while actual workers commuted from other parts of town, including nearby Alhambra! By 1908, Dolgeville was annexed into the city of Alhambra, but not without a fight from Alfred Dolge. Alhambra, though, was able to offer a city hall, public library, fire department and public works. In 1910, Dolge resigned from the company under pressure by Huntington.
The felt manufacturing center of Dolgeville was bordered by Poplar Avenue on the north, Cypress Avenue on the west, Palm Avenue on the east. The southern boundary was Pepper Street, but currently it is where the parking lot that serves Costco.
|Page ad for Dolgeville from a Pacific Electric Grill booklet|
profiling southern California sights and businesses
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center for Western History Research, GC-1299-2ov)
|Caption reads: "Hand cutting novelty patterns from felt used in the manufacturing of slippers. West Alhambra, Calif."|
(Courtesy of the Seaver Center, P-021-1)