Thursday, June 28, 2007

No. 39 - Lewis House

Lewis House

Lewis House
c. 1890 – Joseph Cather Newsom
1425 Miramar Street – map
Declared: 6/15/66

You know, out of the several dozen Los Angeles landmarks I’ve visited so far, this is one of my very favorites.

Lewis House

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.)

Lewis House

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.

Lewis House

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).

Lewis House

Up next: Hale House


Anonymous said...

Wow, I need to check out this place!

Rare to find a home that hasnt been converted into units.

Anyone know of an old lady who has a great old home who needs some yard work done in exchange for me being nosey and taking pictures? :)

Rebecca said...

Thank you so much. I drive by this house daily, for about four years now, and always wondered if it is historic / preserved- as there is no plaque.
It is truly truly beautiful, the original carriage house still stand behind it.

Anonymous said...

You might not believe this, but...
I LIVED THERE! Yes, in the late 1970's this incredibly gorgeous house was in Probate, and some attorneys needed someone to live there just temporarily. I was there for about six months. I recall hours spent in the main living rooms downstairs, listening to old jazz. The music seemed to melt into the walls and then come out again, sublimely. One night while dozing off upstairs in my room, I hallucinated that Jean Harlow was in the house walking towards me smiling. A dream? Probably. I could tell you much more, but I don't want to hog the comments section. Miramar House (as I called it), I miss you so much!

Mark Dorman said...

I lived there too, in the spring of 1980, and it was still in probate. The stain glass transoms were incredible, no two alike. The one over the front door bears the address number: 1425. In the center of the house is a large carved column which joins three sliding panel doors that either separate the living are into parlor, living and den, or open up for entertaining. The brass finery and beautiful wood in this house is top notch. I spent many an evening in the third story tower (accessed vi the unfinished attic) reading. Great memories of this house. Glad to see it still standing.

tovangar2 said...

There's more on this home (including the current owners) and related issues at this post on the noirish Los Angeles thread of the Skyscraper Page:

Anonymous said...

Back in the late 1960's my wonderful Aunt lived next door in a small apartment in the back of the little court of small rental units next door to this magnificent home. I went to Belmont high school close by as I grew up in the area.
I remember well, my Aunt's tiny kitchen window faced the back yard of this grand and amazing home. At the time, a single older woman, who I understood was a retired Nurse (?)lived there alone & the property was kept up much more so than in this photograph. I will never forget this lovely home & the many happy hours I spent with my Aunt.... We lived close by Carol Street across from Sunset Blvd on the other side of Laveta Terrace. I was always fascinated with Victorians in the area, but I remember this house in particular as being the most beautiful Victorian I'd ever seen when it was totally kept up & it still is the grandest(in my mind). I remember the little white haired lady that lived there so many years ago as I'd see her once in a while cleaning the porch, etc. The probate situation must have happened when the lady I remember living there Aunt having passed away before or around that time as well. I sure loved that spoke of a much kinder time, close to downtown L.A. Frankly, because of the area, I would have been just a little bit frightened to live in such a big place, especially all alone, but she certainly didn't mind, nor did my Aunt having such a magnificent view of the beautiful perfectly manicured back yard of this place from her little kitchen window.

John E said...

This house was the subject of some paintings (at least two) by California-born artist Merv Corning. Our family has two of the paintings, depicting the Miramar House at different times of day, reflecting the changes in light, shadow and colors. One shows the stained glass of the front door and transom windows in vivid detail. Although I believe the paintings were done in the late 1970s, they both depict two brick chimneys on the right-side roof of the house, which don't appear in these more recent photos. The paintings also depict the street name "MIRAMAR", chiseled in block letters into a riser of a concrete step on the path to the front door. Wondered if that was a detail from actual-life, or artist's license? In any case it's a lovely house and though I've never been to see it, in a sense I grew up with it, a picture hanging in my room.