The Doumakes Family

The Doumakes House was built for James Doumakes (1879-1956), who acquired the property in 1927 and the family occupied the residence from 1928 until 1958. James and his son, Alex developed a patent for mass-production of marshmallows and are credited with making the tasty treat a household item. 

James Doumakes was a Greek immigrant who arrived in the United States in 1900. James Doumakes and his son were not merely confectioners, but established a marshmallow manufacturing business that grew over time to national prominence. The Doumakes Marshmallow Company, founded in Los Angeles in 1921, held at least two patents associated with the production of marshmallows, one issued in 1928 and another issued in 1958. The Doumakes Company are largely credited with making the marshmallow a household treat. 

The rise of the business to national importance occurred gradually. In 1914, Doumakes & Coulures leased a store at 314 W. Seventh Street in Los Angeles for the purpose of candy manufacturing. In a Los Angeles City Directory from that year, James Doumakes’ occupation was listed as candymaker. The business section of a 1922 city directory listed James “Doumak” under the heading “Confectioners—Manufacturers and Wholesalers” at 1739 W. 22nd Street, with his residence across the street at 1722 W. 22nd Street. The company moved sometime after 1922 and by 1928 was located at 711 E. Jefferson Boulevard. This was one year after James purchased the lot in View Park on which to erect a new residence. The marshmallow company remained at the location on Jefferson Boulevard for an indeterminate number of years, before the company moved from Los Angeles in 1961.

James’s occupation was listed in the 1930 U.S. Census as candy manufacturer, and by that time he had moved to 4918 Angeles Vista Boulevard, along with his wife (Maria), four sons (John, Alexander, Milton, and Arthur), and one daughter (Frances). In 1932, Doumakes’ business was specified as “marshmallow manufacturing”, and by 1934, the listing was “Doumakes’ Marshmallow Co.,” with James and his son Alex Doumakes listed as owners and Alex listed as “foreman”.

Most of the other buildings in Los Angeles associated with James Doumakes and the Doumakes Marshmallow Company (and its predecessors) have been demolished. The commercial building in which the business was located in the 1920s on 22nd Street was demolished by 1964, when the entire north side of the street was cleared for the construction of Interstate 10. The building where the company was located in its earliest years before Doumakes established his own business specializing in marshmallows at 711 E. Jefferson Boulevard was demolished some time between 1972 and 1980. Of the historical buildings associated with the Doumakes family and its marshmallow business, only the family house on 22nd Street and the View Park house at 4918 Angeles Vista Blvd remain.