1922 – Carl Boller
4757 North Figueroa Street, Highland Park – map
From the street, there isn’t a whole lot to see of the Hiner House. Oh, the home’s there; it’s just the 86-year-old house is pretty well obstructed by trees, shrubs, vines, etc., making any clear view from beyond the pavement tough indeed.
Dr Edward M. Hiner was born in Paola, Kansas in 1872. Sometime after 1889, he took over Kansas City’s Third Regiment Band, later known as “Hiner’s Band”. The military band became very popular, eventually giving a couple of performances at the White House for President McKinley. Later, during World War I, Hiner organized the Seventh Regiment Band to entertain soldiers heading overseas.
While the cornet-playing Hiner made his living as a Kansas City dentist in the 1890s, by the time he moved to Los Angeles in 1919, he had been running his band school in downtown K.C.
Upon arriving in L.A., Hiner opened what would soon become the largest private band school in the country, a distinction it held until his death in 1948. Dr. Hiner also founded the music department at Los Angeles Normal School, now UCLA.
In 1922, Hiner built this home on North Figueroa Street in Highland Park. Architect Carl Boller designed the house in a California Chalet style with some Stone Tudor and bit of Oriental influence thrown in for good measure (don’t ask me where the Oriental parts are).
Here's a picture from the city's Department of Planning website, showing a bit more of the building.
Hiner was good pals with John Philip Sousa, so much so Sousa even dedicated one of his tunes to Anna Hiner, Edward’s wife. The March King visited the Hiners a few times, and it’s for him the “Sousa Nook” is named. The “Sousa Nook” is the building, constructed in 1928 a few dozen yards south of the main home, in which Hiner had his music studio/rehearsal hall and gave lessons (although Hiner was known to hold practice in the backyard, as well).
The "Sousa Nook".
In 1953, Hiner’s widow, Anna, donated his collection of more than 6,000 band scores to the Kansas City Public Library.
Across the street from the Hiner House stands Sycamore Grove Park. Nearly all state picnic concerts performed there starting on July 30, 1922 – the year his home was put up – were conducted by Hiner. In 2005, at the initiation of the Highland Park Heritage Trust, the city named the stage in the park the Sousa-Hiner Bandshell.
What places the Hiner House stop among my very, very favorite visits, yet, is that I got the pleasure of meeting the current owners. The graciously offered me the chance not only to see the inside of this great old home, but also to take a look around the property, helping me take a few shots I never would’ve been able to get from the pavement.
The couple bought the property from a Hiner descendant back in 1995, making them just the second family of the house. This, along with the fact they themselves are preserving and restoring the house, accounts for why the home is in such good shape. In fact, window trim was being restored and painted while I was there. And, man, if you heard the details of the work and care (and money) put into restoring the exterior woodwork alone, you’d know the home was in good hands.
Thanks very much, Heather and Troy, for your time. It was as nice meeting you both as it was the landmark.
Finally, for main sources, special thanks to Dory DeAngelo’s Hiner biography on the Kansas City Public Library website and the November 12, 2005 press release from City Councilmember Ed P. Reyes dedicating the Sousa-Hiner Bandshell.
Up next: San Encino Abbey