Almira Hershey

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Almira Hershey (November 14, 1843 – March 6, 1930) was a Hollywood hotel proprietor and property developer.

Early life[edit]

Almira, better known as Mira, was the fourth and youngest daughter of Benjamin Hershey (1813–1893), a lumber and farming magnate. Her sisters were Mary Amanda, Elizabeth, and Sara.

She never married, and worked for her father in the family lumber business. Almira was left a substantial legacy by her father when he died. She moved to Los Angeles at the end of the 19th century and commissioned the building of European style mansion in the Bunker Hill district of Los Angeles. Bunker Hill was the prime residential district of that time.

Mogul years[edit]

Sometime around 1906 she took a horse and buggy ride to Hollywood and visited the Hotel Hollywood. She was so impressed with the new hotel she decided to buy it. It turned out to be a great asset as the fledgling movie industry was developing fast and the Hotel Hollywood became the temporary residence of almost all the top actors and movie moguls. It was so successful, Almira had the hotel extended so that it took up the complete block on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard between Highland and Orchid Avenues. She added beautiful gardens to the frontage and inner courtyard. The hotel became a favorite tourist attraction on the famous Balloon Route trolley car service. Sometime in the 1920s the name of the hotel changed to the Hollywood Hotel.

She went on to build two more hotels. The Hershey Arms Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard was the first hotel built on this famous avenue. She also built a hotel in the Naples area of Long Beach, California called the Naples Hotel. She sold this hotel just before the great financial crash of 1929, before any guests had stayed there.

Later years[edit]

She spent her later years at the Hotel Hollywood with friends. In her will she left $300,000 to UCLA for the construction of the school's first on-campus dormitory, Hershey Hall. [1][2]

Mira Hershey Hall at UCLA on Hilgard Avenue in Westwood, Los Angeles, California