Jonathan Club

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Jonathan Club is a private social club with two California locations—one in Downtown Los Angeles and the other abutting on the beach in Santa Monica. [1] The club is routinely ranked as one of the top clubs in the world by Platinum Clubs of America.[2]


The club has two founding dates set in stone at the entrance to its Downtown Los Angeles building — 1894 (when it was a political club) and 1895 (when it segued into a non-political social club and was chartered by State of California). The club bases its anniversaries on the June 8, 1895 date.[3]

What the club does[edit]

The club provides dining, events, and athletic and wellness programs for members, their families and guests; maintains an extensive California art collection; offers programs to support the military; presents awards to Americans who have achieved great stature in their fields; and is involved in a variety of outreach programs for members to help their communities.[4] The club partners with the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation[5] and provides volunteers and funding to civic organization L.A. Works [6] to combat homelessness.


New members are nominated by existing members.[7] The club welcomes members regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation.[8] At times in the past, the club was accused of discrimination. [9] [10] It voted overwhelmingly to admit women in 1987,[11] and today has more than 650 female members.[12]

Founding board directors [13][edit]

George L. Alexander, president; agent for type foundry company selling equipment to printers

John B. Bushnell, vice president; railroad executive; stockbroker

Ferdinand K. Rule, second vice president (later president for eight terms); general manager of L.A. Terminal Railway; president of La Fiesta de Los Angeles and Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce

E. M. Burgoyne, secretary; U.S. Post Office clerk

C.H. White, treasurer; number two executive in Los Angeles for the Southern Pacific Railroad

Hancock Banning, director; like his father, Hancock was a Southern California pioneer who founded city of Wilmington and port; family owned Catalina Island before selling to Wrigleys

Benjamin F. Day, director; music store executive

George C. Gaskill, director; agent for company selling teas and mat-making materials

Bradner W. Lee, director; prominent attorney who handled, among other matters, the estate of Lucky Baldwin

George P. Taylor, director; tailor

Edward B. Tufts, director; owner of sporting goods and bicycle shop; brought serious golf to city and created its first golf club (now the Los Angeles Country Club)

Select prominent members [14][edit]

In addition to the founding board of directors, some prominent members since the club’s inception include:

John D. Bicknell, founder of law firm that became Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

Herman Wolf Hellman, founder of Farmers & Merchants Bank; real estate investor

Henry Huntington, railroad builder; land developer; rare art and book collector

James Boon Lankershim, land developer

John D. Spreckels, sugar and steamship entrepreneur

Meredith Pinxton Snyder, banker; Los Angeles police chief, city councilman and mayor (three times)

Peter Janss, developed East Los Angeles communities; philanthropist

Edward Laurence Doheny, oilman

Maurice Newmark, family built merchandise and grocery business into largest firm in Los Angeles

Harry Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times

Mericos Hector Whittier, oil industry pioneer; land developer

William Wrigley Jr., chewing gum magnate

A.P. Giannini, founder of Bank of Italy (later Bank of America)

Edgar Rice Burroughs, adventure and science fiction author

Robert A. Millikan, experimental physicist; recipient of the Nobel Prize; longtime president of California Institute of Technology

Admiral C.C. Bloch, commander of 14th Naval District during Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor

George Pepperdine, founded Western Auto Supply; philanthropist; endowed George Pepperdine College (later Pepperdine University)

Jesse Louis Lasky, created first permanent feature film company in what would become Hollywood; a founder of Paramount Pictures

Tom Mix, early Western movie star

Gordon Bernie Kaufman, prominent architect

Rear Admiral Isaac Campbell Kidd, career U.S. Naval officer who perished aboard USS Arizona in 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor; posthumously received Medal of Honor

Ben Meyer, president of Union Bank; first president of Federation of Jewish Welfare Organizations

Earl Warren, governor of California; chief justice of U.S. Supreme Court

Buster Keaton, silent screen star

Hal Roach, comedy writer, director and producer; created Hal Roach Studios

Harold Lloyd, comedy movie star in silents and talkies; founded own studio

Edmund G. Brown, lawyer and politician; governor of California

Paul Gray Hoffman, automobile executive; president of Ford Foundation; received Medal of Freedom for work as first administrator of Marshall Plan after WWII

John A. McCone, industrialist; head of Atomic Energy Commission; director of CIA; headed  McCone Commission to investigate causes of 1965 Watts riots and propose cures to avoid future outbreaks

Ronald Reagan, movie actor; governor of California; president of the United States

Arnold O. Beckman, prolific chemist and inventor; industrialist; funded first transistor company and fueled creation of Silicon Valley; philanthropist, including to Caltech where he studied and taught

Peter O’Malley, owner and president of Los Angeles Dodgers


In 1924 a contract was let for what Southwest Builder and Contractor magazine called a "magnificent new home" for the club—its present brick-faced structure at 545 S. Figueroa Street, one block west of the Los Angeles Public Library.[15]

Since 1927, the club has had a beach location in Santa Monica, in a building designed by architect Gene Verge, Sr.[16]


  1. ^ Michael Ventre, Los Angeles Confidential magazine, Clubs/Lifestyle section, June 6, 2012
  2. ^ Platinum Clubs of America published by Club Leaders Forum
  3. ^ Nat Read, The Jonathan Club Story, first edition 2005, second edition 2015. Also at Los Angeles Public Library, Huntington Library, USC Special Collections Library.
  4. ^ Discover Los Angeles
  5. ^ Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation announcement, Feb 24, 2017
  6. ^ L.A. Works
  7. ^ Devorah Lev-Tov, The Robb Report: An Invite-Only Los Angeles Beach Club Gets a Stylish, Thoroughly Unstuffy New Look, May 9, 2018
  8. ^ Bianca Barragan Curbed Los Angeles, A Guide to LA's Most Fascinating Private Clubs, April 9, 2014
  9. ^ Club's Barriers Thwart Careers, Study Discloses, Los Angeles Times, July 3, 1969
  10. ^ Barry Siegel, Pride and Prejudice: A Progress Report, Los Angeles Times, February 8, 1978
  11. ^ Kenneth Reich, Jonathan Club's Members Vote 4 to 1 to Admit Women, Los Angeles Times, April 30, 1987
  12. ^ Tiffany Hsu, Dressing Up Downtown, Los Angeles Times Business section, April 19, 2013
  13. ^ Nat Read, The Jonathan Club Story, first edition 2005, second edition 2015. Also at Los Angeles Public Library, Huntington Library, USC Special Collections Library.
  14. ^ Grafton Tanquary, Notable Jonathans & Jonathan Heritage, 2017. At Huntington Library, USC Special Collections Library, Los Angeles Public Library. Also, member names are hot-linked to Wikepedia bios.
  15. ^ Southwest Builder and Contractor (July 11, 1924)
  16. ^ The City of Beverly Hills: Historic Resources Inventory (1985-1986)

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°03′05″N 118°15′31″W / 34.051517°N 118.258498°W / 34.051517; -118.258498