Friday, December 31, 2010

Sherwood House, Ben Sherwood. Builder 1938

The intersection of Griffith Park and Rowena Avenue might well be called the "Storybook Corner" of Los Feliz; Builder Ben Sherwood also designed the nearby "House of the Seven Dwarves" (2900-2912 1/2 Griffith Park Blvd.). The equally famous "Snow White's Cottage" is located diagonally across the street.

The Normandy "castle' is located at 3212 Griffith Park Blvd.

Hamerlund House, J. Hamerlund, Builder 1926

The Los Feliz district has a great many of these English Tudor Revival homes. The style was very popular with the affluent beginning in the 1870s; furthur interest was sparked by GIs returning from the front at the end of World War I. Interest in the style peaked in the 1920s and continued until the advent of World War II. The Hamerlund House is one of my favorites, set in a lovely garden at 3434 Waverly Drive.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

3601 Griffith Park Blvd. c.1932

The Los Angeles home of French pianist Jean-Yves Thibaudet. The artist has performed with most of the world's leading symphonic orchestras including: the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Orchestre National de France, among others. He also frequents the great concert halls of Europe and North America and is quite fond of travelling to Australia, where he has a strong fan base. Thibaudet's virtuosity is such that he even impressed the great Vladimir Horowitz.

In 2001, the French Republic made Thibaudet a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ben Platt Residence, Paul R. Williams, Architect 1926 & Albert E. Hansen (1929)

The house has a fascinating history, not too surprising given its grandeur. Originally designed for Rudolph Rosenberg by Architect Harley S. Bradley, the home was purchased in the same year by music store magnate Ben Platt. Platt hired Paul R. Williams to enlarge the house, adding an additional story. In 1929, Platt embellished the house again, hiring architect Albert E. Hansen to add a swimming pool, tennis court, garden house and pergola. The next owner was con man C.C. Julian. The Julian Petroleum scandal exposed the speculative mania of the times and the greed of certain individuals (much like the Bernard Madoff's of today's generation) that eventually led to the stock market crash of 1929 and its devastating aftermath. Julian arrived in Los Angeles in 1922 shortly after oil was discovered in the communities of Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Santa Fe Springs. Securing a lease to drill oil in Santa Fe Springs, he launched a clever scheme, portraying himself as the "champion of the small investor, battling against big oil and the corporate moguls" in colorful advertisements in the Los Angeles Times. After each of his first five wells hit gushers, money poured in quickly. He launched Julian Petroleum Corporation in 1923, promising the venture would supplant Standard Oil. In 56 days, he sold $5 million worth of stock. During his brief fame, Julian emerged as one of the most colorful figures in Los Angeles. His lavish mansion in Los Feliz, along with his flamboyant wardrobe, attractive female companions and fleet of luxury cars and a well-publicized nightclub row with Charlie Chaplin probably led to his undoing. Suspecting fraudulent activity, the California corporations commissioner launched several investigations into his activities.

The Julian Petroleum crash revealed a web of corruption, contributing to the collapse of the First National Bank, the election of former Ku Klux Klansman John Porter as Mayor, and the defeat of Governor C.C. Young in his bid for re-election. More drama unfolded, including the courtroom assassination of a banker, a blackmail plot involving the city's best-known reporter and the double murder of gangster Charlie Crawford and a newspaper editor by a candidate for municipal court judge. C.C. Julian committed suicide in a hotel room in 1934.

In the year 2000, the home was acquired by the Saint Columbans Foreign Missionary Society, a Catholic society of secular priests organized around global mission. Brother Tom Reynolds was kind enough to greet me and provided much of the information about C.C. Julian and the history of the house. Located at 2600 North Vermont Avenue.

Gurdwara Vermont Sikh Temple, Concept Techology Architects 1996

The Sikh religion originated in the 15th century with the teachings of Guru Nanak Dev (1469-1539) originated in the Punjab region of North India who taught the need for "loving devotion to God that cannot be perceived in human or any other form", according to the Harper Collins Dictionary of Religion. Anyone who followed his teachings was called a "learner"--a Sikh.

The temple was dedicated on April 20, 1996, at which time professor Manjit Singh, the supreme and highest spiritual and temporal authority of the Sikh religion visited from India, exhorting Sikhs to "turn from disunity, ego, greed, pride and intoxicants, and to seek the virtues of humility, selfless service, sweetness, dedication and devotion".

The temple is located at 1966 North Vermont Avenue.

Our Mother of Good Counsel Roman Catholic Church, Anthony A. Kauzor, Architect 1960

Earle C. Anthony House, Bernard Maybeck, Architect 1927

The singular authenticated architectural project completed by the architect in Los Angeles, Maybeck is considered to be one of the great originals of American architecture.

The Anthony House, built for Earle C. Anthony in 1927 combines both Medieval, Gothic, Spanish and Tudor elements. The interior of the Nordic entrance tower was furnished as a replica of the prayer room of the Holy Father at the Vatican in Rome

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hopperstead House, A.F. Leicht, Architect 1925

Architect A.F. Leicht designed the house for E.W. Hopperstead in 1925. The architect designed approximately 24 homes in the Los Feliz and Hollywood neighborhoods during the 1920's, including John Phillip Law's "Castle" (1929). He also designed Angelus Temple in Echo Park for evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson. Located at 4171 Cromwell Avenue in Los Feliz.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Ley House, George W. Ley, Architect 1923

Architect-builder George W. Ley designed and built the Spanish-Moorish style residence as his own personal residence in 1923. Located at 2300 Wayne Avenue in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.

McTernan House., David Hyun Architect 1960; DesignVidal (remodel) 2010

Korean-born Architect David Hyun designed the house for John T. McTernan in 1960. The house is currently (2010) undergoing an extensive restoration under the direction of Karen Vidal (DesignVidal). Located at 2226 Wayne Avenue in Los Feliz.