Wednesday, April 2, 2008

No. 129 - Leslie Residence

Leslie Residence

Leslie Residence
c. 1903 – Oliver P. Dennis and Lyman Farwell
767 Garland Avenue – map
Declared: 6/19/74

Man, you really need to keep your eyes open when you’re looking for this place, about a block away from the 8th Street exit off the Harbor Freeway. I mean, just compare the two pictures below, the first (from the Department of City Planning website) taken probably in the mid-1970s around designation, the second from a few weeks ago.

Leslie Residence
Leslie Residence

I’m all for trees, but this is out of control. Also, you figure it gets even denser in the summer months. But, trust me, there’s an old, gorgeous building hiding in there.

Leslie Residence

A 1994 listing put out by the L.A. Cultural Heritage Commission reports oil executive Charles C. L. Leslie had architects Oliver P. Dennis and Lyman Farwell design this Queen Anne mansion for him around the turn of the last century. (The boys are also responsible for a couple of other city landmarks, including Hollywood Boulevard’s Janes House, No. 227. And Dennis designed No. 406, the Magic Castle.) However, Gebhard and Winter, in Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide, say the firm actually created 767 Garland for Oliver P. Dennis himself.

Leslie Residence
Leslie Residence

What’s clearer is that while 767 Garland was home to Charles C. L. in 1929 per the city directory, the 1936 edition has a Charles S. C. and Catherine Leslie living there, giving his occupation as a rancher. Charles C.L. Leslie died in January 1937.

There’s a Los Angeles Times article from February 1896 which lays out a lawsuit between Charles C.L. Leslie and his partner, George M. Bobst (the partnership, said the Times, had “turned to gall and bitterness”). It sorta looks like Charles may’ve tried to screw over George after an oil strike, but the whole thing was too tedious for me to get into.

Leslie Residence

Gebhard and Winter give 1910 as the construction date for the home. ZIMAS says the 1,100-square-foot structure was built in 1903. The former’s got to be wrong, as a 1906 Sanborn map shows the house along with what must’ve been a whole row of mansions. (I would’ve liked to have seen the house that once stood next door at 749; it was even bigger on a substantial plot of land.) One more thing ZIMAS says about 767 is it’s a single residence today, which I have hard time believing.

Leslie Residence

I stopped by the landmark twice. The first time, an early Sunday morning, two homeless guys, Tom and Greg, were there to greet me. Greg was more than happy to give me a quick tour of the exterior. Not only did he point out where folks would make deliveries around back, but he also revealed the cement pit he said was once a moat filled with alligators.

Leslie Residence
Greg and the moat.

I handed Greg a few bucks for him and Tom to grab some pancakes or something. However, I ran into Tom there the following weekend. He let me know Greg bogarded my handout. Still, a friendly docent, that Greg.

Leslie Residence


“A Little Hogging Game” Los Angeles Times; Feb 28, 1896, p. 9

Los Angeles Times; Jan 26, 1937, p. A20

Up next: Samuel-Novarro House


Pasadena Adjacent said...

That area around south of the westlake district is rich in architectural "revival" styles. When I was a child, my father used to drag the family over to the Bunker hill area to look at aging gems in disrepair. This area, unlike Bunker hill, seems to have escaped the developers eye. The story about the alligator mote is funny. Could it be true?

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

I remember this home being the only original left on the block, but just one avenue to the west, on Hartford, there remain a few classics like this, more or less in the same shape.

Diallo said...

Floyd, you have a great site.

Is there anyway to find out how much these homes are going for?

And once they are designated, does that mean they are no longer available for purchase?

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

Thanks for the compliment, Diallo. While some are permanently off the market, many L.A. landmarks come up for sale all the time. For quick examples, No. 130 changed owners two years ago, No. 109 is on the market now, and the Chinese Theater has been sold since I covered it a few months ago. I'm sure someone has better suggestions than I do, but there are sites out there, like, that'll give assessed values, but often out-of-date. Also check out for recent sale prices and assessments.

gc said...

Aaah, Tom and Greg. Such good docents. Too bad about all those electrical lines blocking your lovely photo.

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

What? I thought the house was distracting in my photos of the electrical lines.

Robert J. Reed said...

Floyd, just like Monument No. 103, this house too could be seen quite easily from the 110 Freeway when traveling North, and, from the 10 Freeway when traveling East. From a distance, I never notice the state of disrepair. Glad to see that it appears someone is working on it. Unfortunately, it is harder to see now from the freeways because of the buildings going up around her. As I recall, she used to jump out at you, but now, one must search for her. I think it interesting to see these Victorians sprinkled about the high-rise buildings. Remembering when these now commercial areas were residential. Two of my favorites (I don’t know if they have monument status or not) are on Olympic Blvd. west of the 110 about 3 blocks west of 10th Street Elementary School (at the corner of Burlington Ave., I think). I also worked in Century City for 10 years and my commute from Long Beach was up Olympic from downtown. I rode the Blue Line (train) to a commuter express bus. I’m told, however, that the city will soon extend the Red Line (subway) up Wilshire to Century City. Now that would be convenient.

Paula said...

Hey, I live here. Thanks for the info on my home. I was wanting to do research at the L.A. Public Library. You've definitely given me somewhere to start!

Floyd B. Bariscale said...

I'm glad I helped, Paula. Please feel free to share any additional information you find out. Good luck.