Wednesday, May 23, 2007

No. 27 - The Castle

The Castle with Artist Leo Politi

The Castle
Former locations: 325 South Bunker Hill Avenue, 3800 Homer Street
Declared: 5/8/64

The Castle, built around 1882 on Bunker Hill, was moved to Heritage Square in 1969 to be restored as part of the site’s collection of Victorian architecture. Unfortunately, the building was burned to the ground by arsonists on October 9, 1969, the same night as the Salt Box.

A shot of the Castle being dismantled for relocation.
Here’s a picture of the Castle and Salt Box being moved.
The 10/9/69 fire.

The artist in the above photo (from UCLA’s Digital Collections) is Mr Leo Politi. Politi (1908 – 1996) was a children’s book author/illustrator with a passionate dedication to the city of Los Angeles. Some of his more L.A.-centric books include Pedro, The Angel of Olive Street (1946), and 1989’s Angeleno Heights. He was also responsible for a few murals downtown, most notably the Blessing of the Animals at the entrance to the Eugene Biscailuz Building on Olvera Street. Today, there’s a Leo Politi Elementary School, dedicated in 1991, on West Eleventh Street, and a Montecillo de Leo Politi Park in Elysian Park.

Here’s the cover to the 1964 book, Bunker Hill, Los Angeles, which features Politi's artwork of the once exclusive, upper-class area, painted during the Hill’s last, sad days (that’s the Castle in the upper left).

"Bunker Hill, Los Angeles" by Leo Politi

In the book, Politi writes that the Castle “was also called the Armour House, because it was believed to be built by the Armour meat packing people of Chicago in 1882. Daniel Francis Donegan, an early-day grading contractor, bought it in 1893.”

The Castle by Leo Politi
"The Castle" by Leo Politi

The book, originally published by Desert-Southwest, Inc., has long been out of print.

Up next: William Andrews Clark Memorial Library


Lauren McT said...

I wonder how these buildings compare to the old farms and churches in rural Pennsylvania during the summer and fall. I also am willing to bet you don't have Amish people in lovely Hollywood and it's surrounding that what you call them? Boroughs? Or is that just a NYC thing? Yea, it must be an NYC thing. Maybe I've been stuck in NYC too long. Anyways, weather looks gorgeous, pictures are very nice, and that guy sitting outside drawing looks like he has the best job ever.

Unknown said...

Still can't believe that somebody would burn such a masterpiece. :(

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Hi, Ekaterina. If you're in the L.A. area, go see Leo Politi's Bunker Hill artwork at the Central Library downtown. Beautiful work, if not a bit heartbreaking. The exhibit is there until June.

icamerashy said...

I have a drawing by ? Wisendanger titled "Castle and Salt Box Houses" numbered 1/5. I am attempting to get more information on both the artist and where might i get more info on the other drawings????

Anonymous said...

Back in the day, when I was 18 years old, I wandered into the Salt Box and The Castle. They had been abandoned for years and remnants of hobo living were scattered within. With my "instamatic camera" I took photos, which remain in my scrapbook dated November 1968.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Anonymous, how about scanning those 11/68 photos and sending them this way? I'm sure everyone would be thrilled to see them.