Thursday, June 28, 2007
c. 1890 – Joseph Cather Newsom
1425 Miramar Street – map
You know, out of the several dozen Los Angeles landmarks I’ve visited so far, this is one of my very favorites.
First of all, it’s lasted in Los Angeles for about 120 years, no small feat (from the house, the view of downtown is good; it must've been awesome a century ago). Second, it’s still in pretty good and un-altered shape on its original site (though Gebhard and Winter, in Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide, bemoan the fact the second-story porch above the entrance has been enclosed). Third, by all appearances, it’s still being used as a single-family home (it hasn’t been turned into a museum or converted into an apartment building.) Fourth, situated in an area of down-trodden apartment buildings, the Lewis House stands out like [something really nice] in the thick of [something a lot less nice]. (I’m no good at similes.)
Samuel J. Lewis’s California Style/Queen Anne home was designed by Joseph Cather Newsom (1858–1930), who, along with his brother Samuel (1854–1908), moved from Montreal to the Bay area to open up an architectural firm. Later on, Joseph set up a branch of the company in Los Angeles, in which the firm is credited with more then 650 executed commissions. In Paul Gleye’s 1981 book, The Architecture of Los Angeles, he wrote the brothers “were probably the masters of Queen Anne architecture” and that “they built homes one could not avoid looking at”. Joseph gets design credit for a handful of other L.A. landmarks, including a couple on Carroll Avenue. The brothers’ most famous building, though, is the Carson Mansion in Eureka, CA, put up in the mid-1880s.
Joseph authored a lot of pattern-books, too, including Artistic Buildings and Homes of Los Angeles (1888), California Low Priced Cottages (1888), and Picturesque and Artistic Homes and Buildings of California (1890).
Up next: Hale House