Margaret J. Anderson

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Margaret J. Anderson and son Stanley

Margaret Jane Anderson (née, Margaret Jane Boag; 1859–1930) was an American hotel owner, businesswomen, and socialite,[1] from the U.S. state of Iowa. The widow of Lewis Anderson, she was the owner and developer of two properties in Los Angeles County, California: The Beverly Hills Hotel and the Hollywood Hotel.


Margaret Jane Boag was born in 1859 in Iowa to Rev. Robert Boag and moved with her family to California in 1874. She was of Scots-Irish parentage.[2] On 5 December 1889 at Alhambra, California, she married Lewis C. Anderson, who was 19 years her senior.[3] Anderson maintained one of the early orange orchards of southern California at a ranch near Alhambra.[4] Some accounts indicate he died, leaving Margaret a widow with two young children.[2] However, other information is that he remarried eight years after he and Margaret married.[5]

By 1903, Margaret and her son Stanley were managing the Hotel Hollywood for Almira Parker Hershey. Hershey and Anderson had a long history; both were Iowans and Anderson had begun her career working at Hershey’s other hotels like the Darby and the Fremont.[6] Despite the growth the hotel experienced under Anderson's management—expanding from 16 rooms to 250 and becoming one of the most known hotels in the area[2]—the relationship between owner and manager was contentious. In 1909, it deteriorated to the point that lawsuits were filed. Hershey claimed that Anderson had failed to remit rents due on her management of the hotel and Anderson counter-claimed that Hershey failed to pay rent on the suites she was living in.[7] The suits dragged through the courts for over two years.[8] The public dispute led the Rodeo Land and Water Company to make an offer to Anderson for ownership of her own hotel. The company wanted a flagship to spur development and Anderson wanted ownership of the land, which she had been unable to secure from Hershey.[2]

In 1911, plans were announced for the erection of the hotel by Anderson and her son, Stanley, at a cost of $500,000.[9] Upon completion, Anderson staged a victory over Hershey when she announced to guests at the Hollywood Hotel that it was closed until new management was hired, as she had resigned. She offered jobs to all the staff and rooms at the soon-to-be opened Beverly Hills Hotel to the guests. The guests and staff relocated and the Beverly Hills Hotel opened on 30 April 1912.[10] With an eye for perfection and the business acumen which had led to growth at the Hollywood Hotel, Anderson[2] began marketing to Hollywood and by 1914, had secured the patronage of Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford, the "it" couple of their era. The hotel became the celebrity playhouse of choice, and known for not only its indulgence of clients but its strict policy of guarding guests' privacy.[11] In 1928, Anderson sold the hotel and retired.[12]


  1. ^ Zager, Norma (2010). Erin Brockovich and the Beverly Hills Greenscam. Pelican Publishing. pp. 139–. ISBN 978-1-58980-959-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e Wanamaker, Marc (2005). Early Beverly Hills. Charleston, SC: Arcadia. p. 25. ISBN 978-0-738-53068-0.
  3. ^ "Marriage Certificate". Family Search. Los Angeles County, California: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 5 December 1889. p. 77. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  4. ^ "Wrathful Fruit Growers" (Volume 42, Number 136). Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles Herald. 25 August 1894. p. 4. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  5. ^ "Marriage License" (Volume 26, Number 358). Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles Herald. 23 September 1897. p. 5. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  6. ^ Vaught, Steve. "Happy 100th Birthday to a Grand Old Lady – The Beverly Hills Hotel!". Paradise Leased. Paradise Leased. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Refuses to pay for room at own hotel" (Volume 36, Number 329). Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles Herald. 26 August 1909. p. 8. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  8. ^ "Hotel Rent Basis of Suit" (Volume 37, Number 147). Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles Herald. 25 February 1910. p. 5. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  9. ^ "Our Neighbors" (Volume III, Number 11). California: Eagle Rock Sentinel. 17 May 1911. p. 1. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  10. ^ "Quarrel Closes Hotel in South". San Francisco, California: San Francisco Chronicle. 1 May 1912. p. 3. Retrieved 2 August 2015 – via open access publication – free to read
  11. ^ Callahan, Maureen (17 May 2014). "A night at the vacant Beverly Hills Hotel". The New York Post. New York City, New York. Retrieved 2 August 2015.
  12. ^ Wanamaker, Marc (2006). Beverly Hills:: 1930-2005 Images of America. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing. p. 1963. ISBN 978-1-439-61815-8.