Friday, September 14, 2007

No. 65 - Valley Knudsen Garden-Residence

Valley Knudsen Garden Residence

Valley Knudsen Garden-Residence
c. 1880
3800 Homer Street – map
Declared: 4/15/70

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.

Valley Knudsen Garden Residence
According to Gebhard and Winter’s 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.

Valley Knudsen Garden Residence

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.

Valley Knudsen Garden Residence

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.

Valley Knudsen Garden Residence

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.

Valley Knudsen Garden Residence
The Official Tree of Los Angeles: The Coral

Valley Knudsen Garden Residence

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.

Valley Knudsen Garden Residence


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

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This house was built between 1883-84 by Richard E. Shaw who was a cabinet maker who migrated to the US from Liverpool, England. Coincidentally, Richard Shaw was an employee of William H Perry Lumber and Mill, whose house also is located at Heritage Square. There is a fascinating exhibit titled "The Long Road Home: The Story of Heritage Square" thru October 28th in the Perry House exhibit space.

Keep up the great work!

Michael Ontiveros
Executive Curator (The Long Road Home: The Story of Heritage Square)
Heritage Square Museum