On the Road and In Your Backyard

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter 🐾BillinGlendaleCA.

West Adams

As late 19th Century Los Angeles expanded from Bunker Hill to Angelino Heights, it also expanded westward to the south. Some of this development in homes of LA’s then rich and famous occurred along Wilshire Blvd and around Westlake Park(now MacArthur Park), while other development took place along West Adams Blvd from about Grand Avenue to Arlington Avenue. The intervening years has not been kind to this residential district leaving two areas at the endpoints of the development, one just west of Figueroa(Chester Place and St. James Square) and one centered around Western and Adams. Today we’ll take a look at the first neighborhood, just north of U$C and now called University Park composed of Chester Square and St. James Square.

I relied a good bit on information from the Noirish Los Angeles Forum at SkyscraperPage.com (http://skyscraperpage.com/forum/showthread.php?t=170279) and Historic Los Angeles(http://losangeleshistory.blogspot.com/) compiled by NLA commenter Gaylord Wilshire.

Stimson House

Taken on 2016-09-08

University Park, Los Angeles, CA

The Stimson House was built in 1891 by a lumber magnet, and has served as a private residence, U$C fraternity house and a convent.

Doheny Mansion

Taken on 2016-07-12

University Park, Los Angeles, CA

The Doheny Mansion was built in 1900 by Edward Doheny Sr.. The family lived here(Ms. Doheny) until the late 50’s. It (and the entire Chester Place neighborhood) was willed to the Catholic Church and now serves as a satellite campus of Mt. Saint Mary’s College.

St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church

Taken on 2016-07-12

University Park, Los Angeles, CA

The residents of Chester Place(the Doheny’s) and St. James Square were predominately Catholic, this was their neighborhood church.

Alfred J. Salisbury House

Taken on 2016-07-12

University Park, Los Angeles, CA

This house was built in 1891 and is one of the best preserved Queen Anne styled residences in the City. It has been really nicely refurbished and is used for U$C student housing.

Forthmann House

Taken on 2016-07-12

University Park, Los Angeles, CA

This house was moved here(Hoover and 28th Street) from the area currently occupied by the LA Convention Center, it’s carriage house was moved to Angelino Heights. It was originally built in 1887. It is currently called the U$C Community House.

The Stearns / Dockweiler / Robinson House

Taken on 2016-07-12

University Park, Los Angeles, CA

This house was built in 1901 at 27 St. James Square and remained in the Steans/Dockweiler family until 1988. It was sold the the Robinson’s and portions are used for U$C student housing. This is, of course, and infrared photo of the house.

Adlai Stevenson Birthplace Historical Marker

Taken on 2016-07-12

University Park, Los Angeles, CA

I was rather surprised to learn the Adlai Stevenson was a native Angeleno, but it is true. He was born in 1900 at a house on this site at 2639 Monmouth Avenue. He went on to become Governor of Illinois, twice losing Democratic Candidate(he lost to Ike), and UN Ambassador.


Thank you so much 🐾BillinGlendaleCA, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

48 replies
  1. 1
    Mary G says:

    I didn’t know Adlai was an Angelino either. Those are beautiful houses.

  2. 2
    Litlebritdifrnt says:

    Lovely pictures of lovely houses. Alain, I am excited to report that my trusty camera should be operational sometime next week. I can’t wait to share photos of my backyard so to speak.

  3. 3

    @Mary G: IIRC, Adlai’s father(also Adlai) was working in LA at the time, they were not long time residents.

  4. 4
    raven says:

    Nice pics

  5. 5

    @Litlebritdifrnt: Thanks, I had to cull the pics from this area to only get 6. There are quite a few older houses south of Adams and north of Jefferson. U$C used to be just south of Jefferson, but they’ve really taken over most of the area up to Adams now.

    @raven: Thanks.

  6. 6
    J R in WV says:

    Nice pics, Bill. You have such a huge selection of wilderness and urban development to select for your subject. Great work, keep it up!

  7. 7

    @J R in WV: Thanks, I’ve been so busy the past few weeks setting up my portfolio site that I’ve hardly shot anything. We went to the Getty Villa for Mother’s Day, but I just took my cell phone.

  8. 8

    Couple of pics from the Getty Villa: Mother and Daughter and Outer courtyard from the 2nd floor.

    (Shameless Plug) You can access my portfolio site by clicking on my nym. (/Shameless Plug)

  9. 9
    Barbara says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Was the villa based on the summer palace of the Alhambra? The pool is bigger but the layout is striking in its similarity.

    ETA: Love the pictures of the houses. A great trip through LA history.

  10. 10

    @Barbara: No, it is roughly* based on the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum.

    *Really roughly, since the Villa in Herculaneum hasn’t been fully excavated from the volcanic ash.

  11. 11
    Amir Khalid says:

    I really hate to bring this up, but what is a lumber magnet?

  12. 12

    @Amir Khalid: Guy who owned a lumber company and made a lot of money at it. The interesting thing about that house is from the outside, there isn’t a whole lot of lumber visible. I’ve read that the wooden furnishings on the interior are amazing.

  13. 13
    debbie says:

    That house was definitely worth saving.

  14. 14
    Steeplejack says:


    Amir was tweaking you that it’s lumber magnate, not magnet.

    Nice pictures, BTW.

  15. 15

    @debbie: We’re generally doing better at that then we did in the post WWII period. It’s really sad to see pictures of the buildings we lost around the Plaza.

  16. 16
  17. 17
    Amir Khalid says:

    Ah, now I see: you meant a lumber magnate. For a while there I thought maybe the guy had a special talent that made lumber come flying toward him.

  18. 18

    @Amir Khalid: I do understand he had a magnetic personality.

  19. 19
    debbie says:


    Good. They’ve torn down all the nice old buildings here. It’s really very sad.

  20. 20
    rikyrah says:

    Those pictures are fabulous, Bill😄
    Through your lens, I have come to see LA in a different light.

  21. 21

    The ones around the Plaza that they tore down primarily became parking lots.

  22. 22
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    Love the Alfred J. Salisbury and Forthmann Houses, in a nostalgic sort of way. They are very similar to a # of houses in Kirkwood/Webster Groves near where I grew up. Back then they were mostly a little run down and maintenance on those 100 yr old homes ate budgets up but I always wanted to live in one. These days, they’ve been mostly updated and rejuvenated and you can’t even touch one of them for less than $750K. Beautiful homes.

  23. 23

    @rikyrah: Thanks, LA’s changed quite a lot in the last 20 years; especially downtown.

  24. 24

    @OzarkHillbilly: They’re really trying to rehabilitate a lot of the older houses now, in the past they would have just torn them down. You do know that $750K is pretty cheep here in LA.

    ETA: Many of the old buildings in the “Historic Core”(mostly built in the early 1900’s) are being converted from offices to residential units.

  25. 25
    JPL says:

    Bill, thank you so much for sharing the photos and the comments about the pictures.

  26. 26

    @JPL: Thanks, I’m trying to find the out of the way spots to photograph. Next up is the “Black Beverly Hills”.

  27. 27
    Steeplejack says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA, @Amir Khalid:

    Wow, rare to get a pedant two-fer. I’m set for the day.

  28. 28
    Lapassionara says:

    These are great. Thanks

  29. 29

    @Steeplejack: Guess I need an editor, sigh…

    @Lapassionara: Glad ya like em.

  30. 30
    MomSense says:


    Same for me. Plus the weather looks really nice – especially when I am viewing the pics from winter.

    How have these houses and churches managed to withstand earthquakes?

  31. 31
    Another Scott says:

    Great pictures Billin!

    In other news, at any given time, 1/3 of all Facebook accounts are fake.

    This is my shocked, shocked face.


  32. 32


    How have these houses and churches managed to withstand earthquakes?

    Wood frame construction usually fares pretty well in quakes. After earthquakes the brick buildings either become a pile of bricks or end up being retrofitted for the new codes that are prompted by the damage.

    @Another Scott: Thanks.

  33. 33
    Yarrow says:

    Gorgeous pics, Bill. Love looking at old houses.

    @Amir Khalid: That sounds like a superpower for a new superhero.

  34. 34
    satby says:

    I love old Victorian houses! Thanks Bill, these are beautiful!

  35. 35
    sherparick says:

    I believe that St. Vincent de Paul has been used in many a film where a RC event (marriage, funeral, etc.) was part of the plot. It looks very familiar.

    Meanwhile, in another scene where a white man feels oppressed because he can not crush people different them him under his boot, check this out: https://www.rawstory.com/2018/05/white-man-freaks-hearing-spanish-spoken-nyc-threatens-call-ice-hes-laughed-coffee-shop/

    As he spits out this garbage at people working, and of course paying taxes from their wages, he repeats the Fox News and Rush Limbaugh talking points I am sure he started learning at his father’s knee. The Conservative movement is insane.

  36. 36
    sherparick says:

    Also, this fine, am sure, self-proclaimed “Christian” is apparently running for Governor of Oklahoma, a very deranged state as it has been soaked in bath of Conservative bilge for 80 years in the service of the families that got rich on oil in the 1920s and who then bought up all the state’s newspapers, TV, and radio stations.

  37. 37
    Barbara says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Building a row of rooms around a courtyard with a pool was probably a relatively common pattern for wealthy people in hot places.

    Here is an image of the Generalife, or the summer palace: Generalife

    And here is the villa: Villa

  38. 38
    Barbara says:

    @sherparick: It’s hard to believe this guy has lived in New York City for more than 10 minutes if this is the first time he has actually heard people speaking Spanish in the city. If he saw the movie “Oliver and Company” as a kid it might have occurred to him that people in NYC speak Spanish. Or maybe reruns of Law & Order. Seriously, what a complete ass.

  39. 39
    Elizabelle says:

    Bill’s LaLaLand photos are a magnet for me. Good morning, all.

  40. 40
    meander says:

    Great photos and background! Thanks.

    Here’s a post about the Otis mansion in Los Angeles (inspired by a ca. 1900 postcard). Otis was the owner of the Los Angeles Times when the city was really booming, and he helped shape its growth.

    The book “Wilshire Boulevard: Grand Concourse of Los Angeles” is a pretty good history of Los Angeles as told by that one long and somewhat winding street. Of course, it has a chapter or two about the days when the area around Westlake / MacArthur Park was one of the Mansion Rows of the growing city. (Most, like Otis’s mansion, were torn down in the late 20th century, including the house that was one of the sets of the great Sunset Boulevard film.)

  41. 41
    J R in WV says:

    “West Side Story” for another example of Spanish being spoken RIGHT ON STAGE on Broadway…

    Plus the UNITED NATIONS is right there in NYC, along with consulates from many Latin Spanish speaking nations. And Chinese, and Korean, and and and …….

    What a Maroon!!

  42. 42
    Barbara says:

    @J R in WV: And Russian. Lots of Russian speakers in New York City!

  43. 43
    Mnemosyne says:

    I can tell you what year the Forthmann House arrived, because my BFF and I were living in student housing on 28th St. at the time. We were walking towards Hoover, probably to go to University Village, and we were like, “Um, that house wasn’t there yesterday, was it?” 😂 So it was in the spring of 1989.

  44. 44
    Dan B says:

    The Stimson family, and their relations, have been prominent in Seattle for decades. One member of the family, Dorothy Bullitt, became head of the biggest TV and radio station(s) in the city. Her daughters became powerful environmentalists. The Bullitt Foundation building was one of the first LEED Platinum (don’t quote me on that, look it up – might be just Gold) buildings in the country.

    The 10,000 square foot Stimson Green Mansion is a classic Tudor – lots of wood on the exterior – preserved to this day. Friends of ours (not wealthy) live a block away.

    New money in Seattle has far exceeded the old guard so the civic spirit is frayed, even though the old money originated from savaging the land.

  45. 45

    @satby: Maybe I should do a gallery of Victorians.

  46. 46


    I believe that St. Vincent de Paul has been used in many a film where a RC event (marriage, funeral, etc.) was part of the plot. It looks very familiar.

    Probably, Hollywood tends to use local locations, the “Historic Core” often substitutes for early 20th century NYC.

  47. 47

    @Barbara: True, I think the Romans thought of it first; or maybe the adapted it from the Greeks.
    @Elizabelle: I’ve taken lots of photos in the past 3 years.
    @meander: Gaylord Wilshire(noted in the OP) has a site on the Wilshire houses. The “Sunset Blvd.” house was owned by J.P. Getty(same guy who built the Villa) and was torn down to build the Getty office building on the site. His family(I think a son) owned a house up Irving now called “The Getty House” and is the official residence of the Mayor of LA. The Otis mansion(The Bivouac) was donated to an art institute that bears his name and was torn down for their expansion.

  48. 48

    @Mnemosyne: I think I might have seen it at it’s original location before the Convention Center expansion, it’s good that they were able to move it(we’ve gotten better at that). University Village, as you probably know, is no more and U$C has done a really nice job with the buildings that have replaced it(they were still under construction when I last was down there).

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