Valley Knudsen Garden-Residence
3800 Homer Street – map
Prior to being moved to Heritage Square, this eleven-room, Second Empire house with its Mansard roof spent most –but not all – of its life at 1926 Johnston Street in Lincoln Heights.
Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide (1994), the home was built around 1877 in East L.A. for a man named Richard E. Shaw. McGrew and Julian, in Landmarks of Los Angeles (1994), agree it was cabinetmaker Shaw (It would've been a better story had he made two-wheeled carts. Richard Shaw. Rick Shaw. rickshaw. Get it?), but they date its construction to 1883-1884. M&J also say the original site was Mozart Street near Broadway in Lincoln Heights. At the time of the house’s designation, the Cultural Heritage Board reported the building was either bought or moved to the Johnston Street site by miner Joseph S. Lord in 1903.
The monument’s dedication plaque says the residence is a “19th century Mansard style “Petite Chateau” – a gracious reminder of French influence in Los Angeles”.
Charles Weyand sold the house to the city in 1970, and it was moved to Heritage Square that year.
In February, 1971, the building was dedicated to Mrs Valley Knudsen, who, in 1949, founded the beautification organization Los Angeles Beautiful. She loved trees, and, man, she sure hated litter. She was also the founder and president of the Bel Air Garden Club, which paid for much of the house’s renovation. Preservation-minded Valley was married to dairy king Thomas Knudsen. After a lifetime of public service, she died on September 10, 1976, at the age of 81. Oh. And she's got a camellia named for her, too.
Also dedicated to Knudsen at Heritage Square is the Coral tree by the Garden-Residence. (The Coral tree in Los Angeles’s official tree.) While the L.A. Times, covering the dedication ceremony, reported the tree was new, the truth is it made the move along with the house from the Johnston Street address.
The Official Tree of Los Angeles: The Coral
By the way, I think that picture at the top of the post is the most obvious of all shots taken at Heritage Square – straight on, dead center. I feel honored to add yet another version of it to the bajillion already out there.
Ray Hebert “19th Century Home Named as Landmark for Heritage Square” Los Angeles Times; Apr 16, 1970, p. B1
Marylou Loper “It’s Happening” Los Angeles Times; Feb 21, 1971, p. H6
Up next: St Paul's Cathedral