Temporary Home 1896-1898
The loss of the College building was devastating, as was the realization that the site itself was no longer suitable. A temporary home was sought for the upcoming 1896-97 academic year. Occidental Trustees leased part of a building at 614 South Hill Street in downtown Los Angeles, former site of St. Vincent's College which had moved to another downtown location. Situated in a vibrant commercial district, the building bordered a large square that was called Central Park of St. Vincent's Park, later named Pershing Square in recognition of the WWI General. Occidental track men used a nearby alley at Seventh and Broadway as their straighaway in practice races.
Nine studebts, six men and three women, started the academic year in fall 1896. That number fell to five the following year. The Academy, now advertised as the Preparatory Department, sustained Occidental financially with enrollements of 38 and 48 during the same years.
Between 1896 and 1898, offers of potential sites for a new campus were put forward, including fully developed land in Inglewood and Whittier. However, the Trustees decided to follow the Los Angeles River and head northeast.