Friday, December 21, 2007

No. 98 - Mt Pleasant House

Mt Pleasant House

Mt Pleasant House
1876 – Ezra F. Kysor and W. J. Mathews
Heritage Square, 3800 Homer Street – map
Declared: 3/15/72

Mt Pleasant House, also known as the Perry Residence, is generally considered to be the oldest mansion in Los Angeles.

Architects Ezra F. Kysor and W. J. Mathews built this Italianate/Greek Revival home in 1876, the same year as they whipped up St Vibiana’s and a few years after Kysor came up with the Pico House. It was originally the home for William Hayes Perry.

Mt Pleasant House

Perry was born in Ohio in 1832, coming to L.A. as a carpenter in the ‘50s, starting up a lumber and supply business in 1861. He later served as Los Angeles Water Company’s president for twenty-five years and co-organized the Los Angeles Gas Company, which went on to install the first gaslights in downtown. Perry also sat on the Farmers and Merchants Bank board of directors as well as various and sundry other boards. He even became a city councilman. The 74-year-old Perry must’ve been awfully tired when he died in 1906. Perry’s great-grandson, actor Robert Stack, was born in 1919.

The landmark’s second owner was Judge Stephen C. Hubbell, a pretty big muckety-muck in his own right. Hubbell “came to Los Angeles in 1870 and was active as a banker, investor and as a member of the city’s first park commission.” Not insignificantly, Hubbell helped organize USC, becoming the school’s first treasurer, also sitting on its first board of directors.

Mt Pleasant House

In the spring of 1972, shortly after designation, it was announced the owners, Jack E. Huntsberger and his wife, were giving the house to the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America who had plans to move it to Heritage Square. For some reason, that relocation took more than three years, ultimately occurring on December 18, 1975. Fortunately, first on the list of rehabilitations was the removal of the home’s more recent pink stucco. For a black and white picture of the home all stuccoed, click here.

Now, some sources claim the Perry House stood originally at 1315 Mount Pleasant Avenue in Highland Park. Don't believe it. The true first address for HCM No. 98 was 1315 Pleasant Avenue in Boyle Heights, just up the street from long gone HCM No. 97.

The house is huge. It sports half a dozen bedrooms and a parlor, and they’ve each got a bath and a dressing room. Today, the home is furnished in period style and the downstairs is open to tours. Unfortunately, no indoor photography is allowed.

Mt Pleasant House, Hale House, Valley Knudsen Garden Residence
Mt Pleasant House, Hale House, and Valley Knudsen Garden Residence


Christy Fox. “Mansion’s 2nd Lease on Life” Los Angeles Times; May 14, 1972, p. D2

Up next: 1036 South Bonnie Brae Street Residence


Anonymous said...

Correction to the description of the interior of the home. There are only 4 original bedrooms to the home in the main portion of the home with the largest being over the formal dining room. There are 3 small bedrooms in the rear portion; most likely servants quarters since the attic is unfinished. The main bedrooms only contain small narrow closets as houses were taxed by the number of rooms they had when the house was built and closets were kept at a minimum. Also, there was no indoor plumbing when built, so chamber pots were kept at the bedside while servants emptied them in the mornings. There is one small room, approx. 5x5 between the 2 bedrooms over the double parlor that may have had a wash basin inside only.

Future plans for the 2nd floor are to contain dressing rooms for the volunteers, public meeting rooms, a reference library and possibly 2 bedrooms in dressed in period style. Complete restoration will continue once the appropriate funds have been collected.

Mike Ontiveros, Heritage Square Museum Docent

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Hey! Hi, Mike. First, I'm happy that someone from Heritage Square has noticed this blog. Second, I got the "half a dozen bedrooms" from A Guide to Historic Places in Los Angeles County, published in 1978 by the Historical Society of Southern California. I'm sure you know how information is varied for these sites, so thanks for the correction (as much as I enjoy being wrong). Third, these buildings represent one of my favorite places in L.A. I wish more folks in L.A. would visit/support the site. Thanks for your work. Finally, I blog the Beaudry House in the next few weeks, so please check back and make sure what I write is at least semi-accurate. Thanks, again.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

As a proud third generation Angeleno, I've enjoyed this site immensely! I've forwarded to others I know will enjoy it as well. Have you looked into the history of the Mount Wilson telescope?

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Hi, Palm Axis. Funny, just before Christmas I checked into visiting the observatory (independent of the blog), but it's closed to tours until April. I'll visit there this spring. However, not only is the Mount Wilson Observatory not on the official list of the city's Historic-Cultural Monuments, it's not even in the city of L.A., but in Pasadena. Thanks for the nice comment.

Robert J. Reed said...

Hello Floyd (and Palm Axis) -- I leave comments on the monuments where I’ve had a personal experience. I write for those new to Los Angeles or from other parts of the country who may have an interest in Los Angeles. Regarding this monument, I did not know it was believed one of the oldest houses of our city. This has always been one of my favorite houses (along with the Hale House) since I first saw it at Heritage Square. Since about 1980, I’ve been a member of several L.A. Sherlock Holmes Societies. Every major city in America and many other cities around the world have a Sherlock Holmes Society. What’s unique to L.A. is that our city has many such groups. On one occasion, one group who dress in Victorian clothing and attend Victorian events or go to Victorian places, came to Heritage Square (in the early days after it opened) in Victorian attire; and with the Square approval, had a summer picnic on the grounds. I was there that day in frock coat, pin striped slacks, spats, gloves, top hat and cane. I must have looked like W.C. Fields in one of his movies. That’s my tie in to this monument, but I also wanted to reference the comments of Palm Axis. I first started leaving comments in response to Palm’s comment on the Dodson House. Now I find that Palm is a 3rd generation Angeleno. This too, is a special group. I cannot claim 3 generations, but rather 2.75. Both sets of my grandparents moved to San Pedro (the L.A. Harbor) as young adults just after their respective marriages. I think personal histories are interesting, so briefly, my mother’s father was from Tennessee and her mother was from Michigan, and they met while on vacation on the gulf shores of Texas (or maybe Atlantic City, I forget). My father’s father was from Boston, and his mother from County Cork, Ireland. I don’t know how they met, but my grandfather made a career in the Navy, going to sea as a cabin boy at age 14. They must have met while he was on an ocean voyage. Maybe when the great white fleet took sail (if they went to Ireland). Well, forgive me, but though I’ve visited many wonderful places, as Randy Newman sang, “I love L.A.” Thanks for your indulgence, Floyd and Palm and the readers of this Blog -- Robert Reed

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks, Robert. It's not a matter of indulging, I really appreciate your (or anyone's) personal takes on the landmarks or L.A. in general. I hope you're writing down your family's history.

Anonymous said...

Just discovered this site, after visiting Heritage Square for the first time ever this weekend, for their "Holiday Lamplight Tour"! Most interesting..can't wait to go back for a "regular" tour! I got more interested when reading on here about the Perry House, before I visited. I'm a 3rd generation came here in 1896...and after living on Vermont across from USC, briefly..they moved to 1712 Pleasant Ave! They were there in the 1900 census...and there when my gg-grandfather died in 1907. He was a physician..Dr. Francis Corbin. It looks as if his home was 3-4 blocks down from the Perry/Hubbell's home? I got goosebumps going into the house...thinking my gg-grandparents might have done the same thing, 100+ years ago! Maybe??
Love this glad I found it!

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks, Anonymous, for the comment. That's a good story. Is 1712 Pleasant still there?