The Hancocks were a family made up of oil and real estate tycoons. Matriarch Ida Hancock and her son, Allan Hancock were particularly successful. The pair made for a dynamic duo in their business ventures and are the namesake for Hancock Park—that coveted stretch of Los Angeles land where Miracle Mile, The La Brea Tar Pits, and LACMA are located.
They also built what was likely the first mansion to be situated in the then-suburban northeast corner of Wilshire Blvd. and Vermont Ave. If you drive by the property now, you'll see a bustling metro-owned plaza attached to a seven-story apartment complex and retail center.
But before all of frenetic vertical expansion of today, there was a cloistered estate. It had a flair inspired by the 16th Century villas built in Italy by the Medici family and it's estimated that the mansion had anywhere from 22-44 rooms. Four of those rooms are now housed on USC's campus.
When the Hancock Mansion was going to be demolished, Allan decided to preserve a few of the rooms at USC in honor of his mother. He has ties to the university because one of his expedition comrades, John Garth, was a graduate student here and insisted he bring his research to USC.
Not only did he bring his research, but Allan Hancock created an entire foundation building, which was constructed around the four remaining rooms of the aforementioned mansion. While the Hancock Memorial Museum (the four rooms' proper title) is teeming with rich history, most don't even know it exists. Not even the majority of USC students, who likely pass it every day.
Though not often visited, the Museum is open to the public by appointment and Neyat Yohannes took up the opportunity to check out this hidden gem for herself.
Reporter: Neyat Yohannes