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Image from page 85 of “The Lowell suburban directory for Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Westford : containing an alphabetical list of the inhabitants and business firms, streets, town offices, societies, churches and other miscell
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Title: The Lowell suburban directory for Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Tewksbury, Tyngsboro and Westford : containing an alphabetical list of the inhabitants and business firms, streets, town offices, societies, churches and other miscellaneous matter
Year: 1915 (1910s)
Authors: Henry M. Meek
Subjects: Lowell (Mass.)–Directories Chelmsford (Mass.)–Directories Dracut (Mass.)–Directories Tewksbury (Mass.)–Directories Tyngsboro (Mass.)–Directories Westford (Mass.)–Directories Lowell (Mass.)–Telephone directories
Publisher: Henry M. Meek
Contributing Library: Chelmsford Public Library
Digitizing Sponsor: Boston Public Library
Click here to view book online to see this illustration in context in a browseable online version of this book.
Text Appearing Before Image:
Launderers ESTABLISHED 1829 Lowell Shop 37 Merrimack Square PHONE 1648Delivery by Our Own Motors and Teams BOSTON NEW YORKPHILADELPHIAWASHINGTON Executive Offices 286 Boylston Street, Boston You Can Rely On Lewandos>, A. B. TRUDEAU City, Village and Farm Property Bought, Sold and Exchanged Money Loaned on Mortgages 45 MERRIMACK ST.,Lowell, Mass. ROOMS 517-518 HILDRETH BUILDINGTelephone Connection A^Live Bank in a Live City Lowell Trust Company Central and Gorham Streets Lowell, Massachusetts Capital Surplus and Profits (earned)Amount paid in dividends 0,000.00100,000.00197,407.00 Invites accounts ofINDIVIDUALSFIRMSCORPORATIONSSOCIETIESTreasurers andall officershandlingfunds
Text Appearing After Image:
Depository forUNITED STATESPOSTAL FUNDS STATE OF MASSACHUSETTS CITY OFLOWELL, MASS.andTOWN OFDRACUT, MASS. Special Arrangements for City and TownDeposits Street cars from Dracut, Tyngsboro, Billerica, ChelmsfordCentre, North Chelmsford, Tewksbury, Westford, pass thiscorner. GEORGE M. HARRIGAN, PresidentJNO. F. CONNORS, Actuary A Progressive Bank Conservatively Managed LIFE INSURANCE FRED. C. CHURCH, 53 Central St., Lowell o CHELMSFORD OSTREET DIRECTORY. Acton Road, from Boston rd n Central sq to So PO OChelmsford and byd to Westford line © £2 Adams from Boston rd at public library to Bartlett « Adams (N C) from Groton rd n Middlesex to byd c/a £2Newfield *H © Amherst (N C) from Middlesex n Lowell line to W GPrinceton Back Road changed to Hall rd ^Bartlett from Acton rd by Warren grove to Acton rd ^Barton Hill Road from Acton rd; opp Park rd to »—« 2 Robins Hill rd t-Billerica Road from Central square to Billerica line »■< £C Boston Road from the centre at junc Billeric
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04b – Keim Residence – 2033 La Salle Ave ((E)
Image by Kansas Sebastian
West Adams Heights
“Nowadays we scarcely notice the high stone gates which mark the entrances on Hobart, Harvard, and Oxford streets, south of Washington Boulevard. For one thing, the traffic is too heavy, too swift; and then, again, the gates have been obscured by intrusions of shops and stores. At the base of the stone pillars appears the inscription “West Adams Heights.” There was a time when these entranceways were formidable and haughty, for they marked the ways to one of the first elite residential areas in Los Angeles. . . In the unplanned early-day chaos of Los Angeles, West Adams Heights was obviously something very special, an island in an ocean of bungalows—approachable, but withdrawn and reclusive—one of the few surviving examples of planned urban elegance of the turn of the century.”
– Carey McWilliams, “The Evolution of Sugar Hill,” Script, March, 1949: 30.
Today West Adams Heights is still obviously something special. The past sixty years, however, have not been kind. In 1963 the Santa Monica Freeway cut through the heart of West Adams Heights, dividing the neighborhood, obscuring its continuity. In the 1970’s the city paved over the red brick streets and removed the ornate street lighting. After the neighborhood’s zoning was changed to a higher density, overzealous developers claimed several mansions for apartment buildings. Despite these challenges, however, “The Heights,” as the area was once known, has managed to regain some of its former elegance.
The West Adams Heights tract was laid out in 1902, in what was then a wheat field on the western edge of town. Although the freeway now creates an artificial barrier, the original neighborhood boundaries were Adams Boulevard, La Salle Ave, Washington Boulevard, and Western Avenue. Costly improvements were integrated into the development, such as 75-food wide boulevards (which were some of the first contoured streets not to follow the city grid), lots elevated from the sidewalk, ornate street lighting, and large granite monuments with red-brass electroliers at the entrance to every street. These upgrades increased the lot values, which helped ensure the tract would be an enclave for the elite.
One early real estate ad characterized the neighborhood stating: “West Adams Heights needs no introduction to the public: it is already recognized as being far superior to any other tract. Its high and slightly location, its beautiful view of the city and mountains make t a property unequaled by any other in the city.”
The early residents’ were required to sign a detailed restrictive covenant. This hand-written document required property owners to build a “first-class residence,” of at least two stories, costing no less than two-thousand dollars (at a time when a respectable home could be built for a quarter of that amount, including the land), and built no less than thirty-five feet from the property’s primary boundary. Common in early twentieth century, another clause excluded residents from selling or leasing their properties to non-Caucasians.
By the mid 1930’s, however, most of the restrictions had expired. Between 1938 and 1945 many prominent African-Americans began to make “The Heights” their home. According to Carey McWilliams, West Adams Heights became known “Far and wide as the famous Sugar Hill section of Los Angeles,” and enjoyed a clear preeminence over Washington’s smart Le Droit Park, St. Louis’s Enright Street, West Philadelphia, Chicago’s Westchester, and Harlem’s fabulous Sugar Hill.
West Adams Heights, now also known as Sugar Hill, played a major role in the Civil Rights movement in Los Angeles. In 1938 Norman Houston, president of the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, and an African-American, purchased a home at 2211 South Hobart Boulevard. Legal Action from eight homeowners quickly ensued. During that period, other prominent African-Americans began to make Sugar Hill their home – including actress Hattie McDaniels, dentists John and Vada Summerville, actress Louise Beavers, band leader Johnny Otis, and performers Pearl Baily and Ethel Waters, and many more. On December 6, 1945, the “Sugar Hill Cases” were heard before Judge Thurmond Clark, in LA Superior Court. He made history by become the first judge in America to use the 14th Amendment to disallow the enforcement of covenant race restrictions. The Los Angeles Sentinel quoted Judge Clark: “This court is of the opinion that it is time that [African-Americans] are accorded, without reservations and evasions, the full rights guaranteed them under the 14th Amendment.” Gradually, over the last century people of nearly ever background have made historic West Adams their home.
The northern end of West Adams Heights is now protected as part of the Harvard Heights Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ). The Historic West Adams area of Los Angeles (which includes West Adams Heights) boasts the highest concentration of turn-of-the-century homes west of the Mississippi, as well as the highest concentration of National Historic Landmarks, National Register of Historic Places, National Historic Districts, State Historic Landmarks, Los Angeles Cultural-Historic Monuments, and Historic Preservation Overlay Zones in the city. The entirety of West Adams Heights should be nominated as a National Register Historic District, for the quality of homes, the prominence of the architects, notoriety of the people who lived in the neighborhood, and the role it played in civil rights.
Perhaps a quote adapted from a fireplace mantle in the Frederick Rindge mansion best symbolizes the optimism which exists in West Adams: “California Shall be Ours as Long as the Stars Remain.”
01 – Harvard Street Monument – Harvard Blvd & Washington Blvd, 1902.
Nearly destroyed by neglect and vandals over decades of inner city decay, the Harvard and Hobart Boulevard monuments were restored in 2002.
02 – Frank Southerland & Grace Pirtle Hutton, and John A Pirtle Residence – 2047 La Salle Ave – 1907
According to the property permit, the house was built for E B Spencer in 1906. Most likely he built this house on speculation (as he did two years earlier at 2039-2041 La Salle Ave), because according to the LA County Tax Assessor’s Office, John A Pirtle purchased this property in 1907. The same year there appears an article in the LA Herald announcing the engagement of Frank Southerland Hutton to Miss Grace Pirtle, who lived with her parents at 1819 S Union Ave, and their plans to build a house in Los Angeles after their honeymoon. Another 1907 article indicates the happy couple were married and moved into their new home on La Salle Ave. But, by 1909, they’ve moved to 1827 S Normandie and John A Pirtle is shown at the La Salle house. John Pirtle was a Southern California industrialist who appears to have made his fortune in the oil fields of Tennessee, Alabama, and Texas, through a company called the Beaumont Exchange and the Oriole Oil Company. He also speculated in water, with the West Los Angeles Water Company, West Side Water Company and the Glendale Consolidated Water Company. Frank Hutton was a well-known and respected Los Angeles lawyer, a partner of the firm Schweitzer and Hutton. This 1907 house is an unassuming looking American Craftsman bungalow, which hides its actual size. Beneath the long, low slung slope of the gable is a rather large house of 2-1/2 stories. The rounded, Colonial Revival styled balcony rail is an unusual feature.
03 – Robert K Wilson, J Frank & Virginia N Waters, and Mark & Mamie (May) E Phelps Residence – 2039-2041 La Salle Ave – 1905 – Frank Dale Hudson and Julius W Krause
Dutch Colonial in West Adams Heights is a rare architectural style, probably already deemed to be passé, but two examples exist nonetheless. The other Dutch is on South Hobart, built for C I D Moore, and is turned on its side, giving it a more Cotswold appearance. This Dutch Colonial is a straight-on interpretation of the vernacular. The architect of the house is reported to be Julius W Krause. Prior to 1895 Krause was partnered with Frank Dale Hudson, of the firm Hudson and Munsell. For a time Krause was also the Superintendent of Building for the City of Los Angeles. The original builder of this house was E B Spencer, however it’s obvious he built it in 1905 on speculation (just as he did two years later the house at 2047 La Salle Ave). This house was quickly sold the same year to Robert K Wilson who Just as quickly flipped it in 1907 to J Frank Waters. Six months later Waters sold the residence to Mark and Mamie (May) E Phelps. The Phelps’s lived at this resident until Mark’s death in 1924. Mark Phelps was described as a pioneer of Los Angeles, first finding success in mining, then as a live-stock dealer. He retired just 3 months before his death. By 1926 J E Phillips who was reported to be living at this address was arrested for smuggling Moonshine Whiskey in his car. In 1943, William J Morris, a building contractor, was the resident, according to his obituary.
04 – Wilbur Wells & Blanche Lillian Smith Keim Residence – 2033 La Salle Ave – 1904
Wilbur Wells Keim graduated from the Pharmacy School at UC Berkeley in 1902. He married Miss Blanche Lillian Smith in 1903. A large reception for the couple was held at the West Adams Heights mansion of Wesley W Beckett, 2218 S Harvard Blvd. The couple began building their house on La Salle in 1904. Keim opened a pharmacy with Edward R Neill (Keim-Neill Drug Co) just a few blocks away on the Southwest corner of Washington and Normandie, at 1890 W Washington Boulevard. Their daughter, Lorraine Keim was a 1925 graduate of USC and a member of the Kappa Alpha Sorority. The house itself is a mystery. The front porch is Craftsman. The eves under the second story and the overall shape appear to be Colonial Revival. The front door with the half sidelights and smaller window openings suggest an older structure which was moved to this location and remodeled. The effect, unfortunately, isn’t quite successful.
05 – William A & Rose H Jenkins Residence – 2029 La Salle Ave – 1909
Originally the address was 1949 La Salle Ave, but a reorganization of addresses by the city to make them more uniform changed it to 2029 La Salle Ave sometime around 1909-1910.
06 – Frank A & Marie C Von Violand Vickery Residence – 2025 La Salle Ave – 1909
When Frank A Vickery passed away he left a sizable estate. Numerous properties were advertised for auction in the February 28, 2014, issue of The California Outlook, including three in West Adams Heights (1947 La Salle Ave, 2017 La Salle Ave, and 2025 La Salle Ave). Vickery had purchased these unimproved lots in 1906 from the Gopher Land Company as investments and improved the lots. Frank Vickery was a mining industrialist with many interests, including the Pan-American Hardwoods Company in Mexico and the San Gabriel River Rock Company. The Vickery’s lived at 341 Andrews Blvd (S St Andrews Pl), in a 1907 mansion they built for ,000. According to the LA Times and LA Herald society pages, they entertained often. In May, 1910, the Vickery’s sold their St Andrews Pl home through the Althouse Brothers for ,000, to Mrs. Frederick Fischer, and relocated to their 2025 La Salle Ave home. After Frank Vickery’s death, auction, either the house didn’t sell at auction or his wide decided to continue living at the residence. The 1923-24 Southwestern Blue Book lists her at this location, with visiting on “Third Wednesdays. “ Mrs. Vickery was also a member of the Ebell and Friday Morning Clubs. Although this house must have been smaller and less opulent than their St Andrews Place residence, it is still a handsome American Craftsman home, with only minor alterations.
07 – Income property owned by Frank A Vickery – 2017 La Salle Ave – 1909
When Frank A Vickery passed away he left a sizable estate. Numerous properties were advertised for auction in the February 28, 2014, issue of The California Outlook, including three in West Adams Heights (1947 La Salle Ave, 2017 La Salle Ave, and 2025 La Salle Ave). Vickery had purchased these unimproved lots in 1906 from the Gopher Land Company as investments and improved the lots. Frank Vickery was a mining industrialist with many interests, including the Pan-American Hardwoods Company in Mexico and the San Gabriel River Rock Company. The house is American Craftsman, and the architect and builder was the Alfred E Georgian, Co.
08 – La Salle Ave Streetscape
Looking South on La Salle Ave (from left to right):
A. 2047 La Salle Ave – Hutton-Pirtle Residence
B. 2041 La Salle Ave – Phelps Residence
C. 2029 La Salle Ave – Hull Residence
D. 2033 La Salle Ave – Keim Residence
E. 2025 La Salle Ave – Frank A & Marie C Von Violand Vickery Residence
F. 2017 La Salle Ave – Income Property owned by Frank A Vickery
09 – Stanley Frederick & Sue A Shaffer McClung – 1959 La Salle Ave – 1905 – Robert Farquhar Train & Robert Edmund Williams
Imagine this house as it might have been in 1905: the long sloping roof of natural shingles, which would have matched the color of the shingled siding; ornate rails along the porch, widows weep, and above the bay window; a full chimney and no bars on the windows or doors. The effect would have been striking, and will again when the house is one day restored. It’s one of the most significant surviving houses on La Salle. It was designed by the architecture team of Robert Farquar Train and Robert Edmund Williams (Train & Williams), for Pacific Mutual Secretary Stanley F McClung. He was part of the “Old Company” forced out of power in the early 1930’s along with his brother-in-law George Ira Cochran.
10 – Income property owned by Frank A Vickery – 1947 La Salle Ave – 1909
When Frank A Vickery passed away he left a sizable estate. Numerous properties were advertised for auction in the February 28, 2014, issue of The California Outlook, including three in West Adams Heights (1947 La Salle Ave, 2017 La Salle Ave, and 2025 La Salle Ave). Vickery had purchased these unimproved lots in 1906 from the Gopher Land Company as investments and improved the lots. Frank Vickery was a mining industrialist with many interests, including the Pan-American Hardwoods Company in Mexico and the San Gabriel River Rock Company. The house is a handsome American Craftsman residence, making use of horizontal siding to make it appear wider.
11 – Evan G & Matilee Loeb Evans and William A & Rose H Haley Jenkins Residence – 1929 La Salle Ave – 1903 – Allied Arts Co
This home is American Craftsman designed in 1903 by The Allied Arts Co (as was its neighbor at 1919 La Salle Ave), a prominent architecture firm responsible for many LA landmarks, including the recently restored Hall of Justice. A J Carlson was the contractor. Evan G Evans, from Chicago, IL, arrived in Los Angeles in the late 1990’s, and married Matilee Loeb in 1898. The Mr & Mrs Evans were prominent in the society pages. The second owner, William (Will) Jenkins, was like many of his neighbors, a Capitalist. Jenkins appears to have had his hand in many enterprises, including the Madera Canal & Irrigation Company. Mrs. Jenkins passed away August 5, 1933, at her home at 148 S Irving Blvd, survived by her husband.
12 – John H & Evangeline “Eva” Rose Clark Tupper and Thomas M & Mary P Sloan Residence – 1919 La Salle Ave – 1903 – Allied Arts Co
John H and Wilbur S Tupper were born in Evansville, Wisconsin, the children of John H and Mary Sophia Foster Tupper. In the 1800’s the brothers relocated in San Francisco found themselves in the insurance industry. Wilbur Tupper became Vice-President of Conservative Life and again both brothers moved to Los Angeles. Wilbur was destined for success and after the death of then-president Frederick Hastings Rindge, he became president of both Conservative Life and Pacific Mutual (founded by Leland Stanford). Wilbur’s house was located at 2237 S Harvard Blvd and John’s at 1919 La Salle Ave, within the same tract. In 1906 Wilbur suddenly resigned from the company in scandal involving another woman (not his wife). He fled to Chicago, abandoning his wife and position. His brother John probably suffered for his brother’s indiscretion, which may help explain his sudden departure from the neighborhood and the sale of his house to Thomas M Sloan. About the same time Thomas Sloan had been promoted to Assistant General Freight Agent of the Sante Fe Railroad. This transitional Victorian/Craftsman house was designed in 1903 by the Allied Arts Co, (as was its neighbor at 1929 La Salle Ave), a prominent architecture firm responsible for many LA landmarks, including the recently restored Hall of Justice. A J Carlson was the contractor.
13 – Charles Kraft Residence – 1913 La Salle Ave – 1913 – Earl E Scherich
A more modest and later addition to the neighborhood, this 1913 Craftsman Bungalow was built for Charles Kraft, Vice-President of the J C Huggins Co, a brokerage and loan company. The home was designed by Architect Earl E Scherich, and May L Greenwood, builder.
14 – Roland Paul Residence Gates – 1986 W Washington Blvd – 1905 – Sumner P Hunt and Arthur Wesley Eager (Demolished)
Between a bicycle shop and a convalescence home are the gates to 1986 W Washington Blvd, which remain the only evidence that a home designed by Hunt & Eager once stood here. Originally commissioned by Mrs. R Fitzpatrick of Pico Blvd, in February of 1905, it was quickly turned over to pioneer Col Charles F Howland, who lived around the corner at 1902 S Harvard Blvd. He attempted to sell it in September, 1905, to Walter Rose, but the deal apparently fell through. In November, 1905, Col Howland successfully sold the home to Roland Paul.
15 – Elizabeth L Kenney Residence – 2012 W Washington Blvd – 1906 – Philip Gengembre Hubert (Attributed)
When this home was built, Philip Gengembre Hubert, celebrated New York City architect, was listed as the owner. It was most-likely designed by him on speculation. His residence was already established in 1903 at 2144 S Hobart Blvd. Hubert was responsible for designing many New York City landmarks, including the Chelsea Hotel, and after nearly 40 years in practice Hubert retired to Los Angeles, where he died in 1911. This home was sold to Elizabeth L Kenney, the second female to graduate the law department at Stanford University and continued her education at Northwestern University in Chicago. Kenney became the first practicing female attorney in Los Angeles in 1897, entering into practice with her uncle. The house, unfortunately, has been mistreated with a layer of stucco and aluminum windows. We can only hope evidence of the house’s original nature lies underneath.
16 – Commercial Block – 2034 W Washington Blvd (formerly the home of Nathaniel Dryden, 1902 S Harvard Blvd)
Evidence of how quickly Los Angeles was changing in the early 20th Century can be seen in this attractive commercial block. Nathaniel Dryden, an architect and engineer who built the Brand Library in Glendale and the Robinson Mansion in Beverly Hills, built his home on this corner in 1903. Just 20 years later it had been replaced by a commercial building already. Such was the value of land in the quick-growing city.
17 – Clara Pitt Durant Residence – 1909 S Harvard Blvd. 1908. Sumner P Hunt and Arthur Wesley Eager
Barely visible from the street, the current owners prefer to be hidden by the trees and shrubs. This large Craftsman home was designed by Hunt & Eager for Ms. Clara Pitt Durant. A divorcee from Michigan, Ms. Pitt took her settlement and began a new life in Los Angeles. The history of the house is recorded at: www.invisiblemanor.com
18 – Charles Clifford and Belle Case Gibbons Residence – 1915 S Oxford Ave – 1903 – Frank M Tyler.
This house, designed by Frank M Tyler, is unusual for the neighborhood because it is completely sheathed in shingles, including the front porch columns. It is a Transitional Victorian/Craftsman in the Shingle Style, with Colonial and Tudor touches. It was built for Charles Clifford Gibbons and Belle Case Gibbons, who came to Los Angeles in 1884. Mr. Gibbons worked his way to from stock boy to general manager of Hale’s Dry Goods Store. His employer, Jas M Hale was a relation of San Francisco’s Hale’s Bros. Department Store, the national chain. C C Gibbons died in 1910 after an illness and in 1912 the house was sold to Matt and Mary Conway. Matt Conway made his business in real estate and land speculation. Coincidentally, the third owner, Jon Fukuto, was also a proprietor of a chain of Los Angeles grocery stores call Jonson’s Supermarkets (the name being a play on words, combining “Jon” and “Sons”). In 1945, after being released from the Gila Internment Camp in Arizona, Mr. Fukuto moved his family to Los Angeles where he established the business.
2015 Thousands flocked to see Bristol City celebrate League One title triumph
Image by brizzle born and bred
The sun was beaming as Bristol, ‘The Best in the West’, celebrated promotion following a near-perfect campaign.
Whether standing on the roadside, rooftops, balconies or even inside multi-storey car parks, thousands gathered wherever they could to get the best view of this successful Robins team.
While supporters stood in anticipation, some on the two parade buses had to sit down, such were the celebrations the night before after the Robins capped the end of the season with an extraordinary 8-2 victory over Walsall.
The streets were packed after Bristol City stormed to win the League One title with 99 points – the highest tally in the club’s history – and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy after beating Walsall at Wembley in March.
JAY Emmanuel-Thomas and David Richards are to leave Bristol City this summer.
Both players are out of contract and have been informed they will not be offered new deals.
Former Arsenal youngster Emmanuel-Thomas has been with City since July 2013 and has scored 33 goals in 103 games.
"We’re not going to extend his contract here," manager Steve Cotterill said.
Bristol City boss Steve Cotterill insists the memories will stay with him forever after his League One title-winning side trounced Walsall 8-2 to end a hugely successful season in style at Ashton Gate.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said this week that gathering memories was more important to him than collecting silverware and Cotterill, who has guided the Robins to a Johnstone’s Paint Trophy and promotion double, agrees with the Premier League’s most successful manager.
"Even though I’m the manager and I don’t jump up and down and get carried away, it is great to see your players lift a trophy and realise how happy you have made people feel," said Cotterill after leading his players back out onto the pitch to pick up the League One championship trophy.
He added: "That was a very special time for me and it will stay with me for a long time. That is what the last 10 months has been all about.
"It’s about spending that 30 or 40 minutes on the pitch with the trophy afterwards. They have had that early in their careers and I hope they have many more moments like that to come.
"We have another special day on the open top bus with the trophies on Monday and that will create even more good memories.
"This is a transitional sport and people come and go at all football clubs. But there will always be a special bond between the people who have been here this season."
Bristol City can do whatever Bristol City wants to do really,’ he said. ‘The mentality of the players, I know how hungry they are and they’ll get more hungry playing in the Championship against better players as they’re only going to step up their game.’
The Robins’ Celebration Tour will live long in the memory of everyone associated with the club and will make Steve Cotterill and his Bristol players even more determined to bring success to the city.
BRISTOL City chairman Keith Dawe has confirmed manager Steve Cotterill will be given the funds to add to his squad this summer.
And he has revealed that a goalscoring striker will top the list of targets when the transfer window reopens for business.
Although the celebrations were yesterday continuing following City’s historic League One and Johnstone’s Paint Trophy double, those responsible for the running of the club are already planning for life back in the Championship.
Cotterill achieved promotion with a remarkably small pool of players, comprising 15 first-team squad regulars and three loan signings. Quite clearly, more players of first-team quality will be required if the Robins are to sustain Championship football in the future and Cotterill’s intention is to try to bring in several new faces during the close season.
I was shocked when Nottingham Forest sacked me!
Steve Cotterill is wrestling with his obsession for detail. His team Bristol City have just won their first league title for 60 years and the Johnstone Paints Trophy, surely he must be doing something right.
‘I may have a little bit of obsessive compulsive disorder,’ he admits. ‘I like my shirts a certain way in the wardrobe and my socks. I always want the training ground to be right, the pitches to be nice, the goals and for there to be a lick of paint around the offices. I’ve got high standards.
‘I think it stems from my grandfather instilling good old fashioned values in me as a boy, I didn’t have much then. You should always make the best of things, appreciate what you have. I like things to be right.’
It’s a quality that is rubbing off on those around him. ‘He has changed the mindset of everyone,’ says leading scorer Aaron Wilbraham. ‘Every week, no matter who we are playing, the attention to detail on the other team and the way he prepares us has been unbelievable.’
Cotterill lost his father at an early age and grew up with his mother in a council house in Cheltenham; his grandfather helped to raise him. ‘I grew up with nothing so when I get something I want to look after it all the more.’
Owner Steve Lansdown no doubt sensed that when he entrusted Cotterill with taking his club forward. The billionaire financier had already ploughed in more than £50million and is redeveloping their Ashton Gate stadium to create a 27,000 capacity. Thousands more turned out to greet their open top bus tour of the city on Monday, euphoric after Sunday’s emphatic 8-2 trouncing of Walsall.
Cotterill has been in the Championship and flirted with the Premier League before only to have the rug pulled from underneath him. His sacking at Nottingham Forest left him devastated.
His desire to prove he can trade blows with the big boys is only too evident.
‘Steve Landsdown has never said to me you’ve got to win things, I’m the one who has said I want to be in the Premier League,’ says Cotterill. ‘Steve wants us to be competitive because deep down he is too.’
In the taxi on the way to Bristol City’s training ground in Failand, a radio debate discusses the club’s progress. One caller says Cotterill ‘has turned a shipwreck into an ocean liner’. ‘The season’s been fantastic,’ he says. ‘Steve Cotterill walks on cider!’
The phrase brings a chuckle from Cotterill. He is in the canteen overlooking the pristine green pitches and makes short work of a barbecue spare rib before reflecting on how far his side have come. When he arrived in December 2013, they were bottom of League One and short of confidence.
He expanded their style of play, spread them out across the pitch, making them less compact and keeping possession more. They finished 12th and then came a summer of change. Cotterill brought in seven players including 35-year-old Wade Elliott from Birmingham and 34-year-old Wilbraham on a free from Crystal Palace. They went on a pre-season trip to South Africa and Botswana and it turned out to be the making of the group.
‘I’d set it up at the hotel so the lads thought they were going to be watching a presentation on 3-5-2 and how I wanted it to be done,’ says Cotterill. ‘You can imagine their faces but then the TV goes all fuzzy and what comes on is our version of the X Factor and the new signings all doing bits to camera about their singing.’
Madcap club physio Steve Allen donned a wig and false chest calling himself ‘Holly Wigabooby’ and they roped in hotel staff to judge as the players did a turn.
‘Korey Smith could have another career,’ says Cotterill, ‘but I think it’s best Luke Ayling carries on playing football.’
A youthful bunch with two old heads, the squad bond was set. For away trips they stayed extra nights, travelling on the Thursday and playing each other at video and board games such as Monopoly.
Cotterill has tapped into old friends such as Stuart Gray at Sheffield Wednesday to use their training facilities and practice set-pieces. ‘I think Stuart knows them better than us now!’ Cotterill jokes.
Collectively, it has transformed the team. They scored 96 goals and finished on 99 points following Sunday’s finale with Walsall.
‘We had five players in the PFA team of the year,’ says Cotterill proudly. ‘That’s voted for by your fellow professionals so it tells you something of how we are considered but importantly three of them were here last year and didn’t get a mention then. It’s a barometer of how we have moved on. We’ve got 19 players, including two goalkeepers and they’ve played nearly 60 games.’
Two trophies later they have a taste for more. Cotterill confesses he missed Bournemouth clinching promotion to the Premier League on TV last week as he was in a long meeting with Keith Dawe, the chairman, planning the next step.
‘There have been some wonderful stories for Blackpool, Burnley and Bournemouth in recent years and if we can carry on the progress then ours could be a good story too, yes.
‘What my Nottingham Forest experience taught me was that I could handle a big club, the demands, the pressure, 100 percent. I didn’t speak to anyone outside of family and friends for about two months after I was sacked by Forest because I was so shocked. I knew the job I was doing was a good one yet the public didn’ t because of how it was ended. I’ve got belief I can manage at the very top and I’d like to achieve that.
‘There is room for a Premier League club in Bristol. It’s a fantastic city, it’ s a great club, it’s got a great owner and there’ll be a great stadium. Now they’ve got a good team, all they need is a good manager!’
That’s a minor detail.