WSHPHS presents its 2023 Landmark Awards to homes, barn

| July 27, 2023 | 0 Comments

For decades, the local Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society has presented Landmark Awards to residences and historic properties in recognition of their architectural and historical significance to the communities within the historic Rancho La Brea. This year, the awards will be presented at the Society’s annual meeting on Sat., July 29. This year’s recipients are two Windsor Square residences and the Lasky DeMille Barn — better known as the Hollywood Heritage Museum — located as 2100 N. Highland Ave. (The residences are located at 500 S. Norton Ave. and 354 S. Windsor Blvd., and both were included on this year’s WSHPHS Garden Tour.)

500 S. Norton Ave.
This home on the corner of Norton Avenue and Fifth Street shows remarkable design and sophistication, the work of an unknown architect. The residence was built for Myrtle Elizabeth Allen, a LAUSD school teacher from Denver, Colorado, who must have known what she wanted and had the funds to pay for it, as the cost of the construction was listed as $6,300 in 1936. For a teacher with LAUSD for more than 20 years, this would have been a significant sum.

The house was designed in a fashionable and then contemporary French Norman / Hollywood Regency style complete with a tower and turret. The exterior of the house is adorned with a mix of brick and stucco and has rounded dormers, an elegant entryway and a steeply pitched roof. The interior, well preserved today, contains a curved staircase that climbs the home’s fairytale tower and is opposite a bright reception room. The kitchen also maintains an exceptional tiled “tented” ceiling.

Allen retired from teaching in the late 1940s and, in 1946, sold the Norton house and retired to San Bernadino before her death in 1955. The current owners purchased the home in 2019 and extensively relandscaped, installing a lush front garden and, in the rear, a new swimming pool and patio.

354 S. Windsor Blvd.
The stately Colonial Revival house at 354 S. Windsor Blvd. tells a Los Angeles tale that connects historic families, land and architecture in a way few houses can. It was built by Kate Van Nuys Page, the distinguished daughter of Isaac Newton “I.N.” Van Nuys, who was the owner of the southern half of the San Fernando Valley. His friend Harry Chandler later named the town of Van Nuys after him. Kate’s mother, Susanna Lankershim, was herself from San Fernando Valley landed gentry. Upon her marriage, Kate became Mrs. James Rathwell Page. Mr. Page, banker and businessman, was also chairman of Caltech, where the Page Dormitory was named after him.

In 1913, Kate and her brother, J. Benton Van Nuys, purchased several adjacent lots on Windsor and Lorriane boulevards. Benton and his wife, Emily, then moved the Victorian I.N. Van Nuys family mansion in 1915 from 1445 West 6th St. in Westlake to 357 S. Lorriane Blvd. That same year, Kate commissioned the august firm of Sumner P. Hunt and Silas R. Burns, later architects of the Automobile Club of Southern California, the Los Angeles Country Club and the Ebell of Los Angeles, to build her home on Windsor directly behind the family mansion — now her brother’s — with which the Page house shared gardens and a tennis court.

For the Pages, Hunt and Burns produced an elegant design in the Colonial Revival style, with white clapboard siding, a shake roof and a recessed Palladian entrance, more reminiscent of New England than Southern California. Its only nod to the Mediterranean climate was a set of four French doors with arched transoms flanking the entrance. In 1930, a large library was added to the north of the house designed by architect Robert D. Farquhar, architect of the Owlwood Estate in Holmby Hills, The California Club and the Canfield-Moreno (today Paramour) Estate in Silver Lake.

Lasky-De Mille Barn:
The Hollywood
Heritage Museum
Built in 1901, The Lasky-DeMille Barn is the oldest extant movie studio building in Hollywood. “The Squaw Man,” which was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and was the first feature-length film produced in Hollywood, was shot in and around the barn in 1913. Considered by historians as the birthplace of Paramount Studios, the barn began its studio career as the Burns-Revier Studio in 1912, and it became the Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company in 1913.  The Lasky Company merged with Adolph Zukor’s Famous Players in 1916, becoming Famous Players-Lasky and merging with Paramount Distributing Company, finally becoming Paramount Pictures Corporation.

Originally located at the corner of Selma Avenue and Vine Street in central Hollywood, the barn was relocated in 1926 to the new Paramount Studios on Melrose Avenue, where it was located in the “western” part of the back lot and featured in movies such as “The Rainmaker” (1956) and the television series “Bonanza.”
On Dec. 27, 1956, the Lasky-DeMille Barn was designated California State Historic Landmark No. 554, recognizing the significant role the building played in the birth of the Hollywood motion picture industry.

In 1979, Paramount donated the barn to the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s Hollywood Historic Trust and moved the Barn to the parking area of The Hollywood Palace theater (today the Avalon) where it remained until 1983, when the barn was donated to Hollywood Heritage and moved to Highland Avenue across from the Hollywood Bowl, opening as the Hollywood Studio Museum in 1985. Since then, Hollywood Heritage has funded the preservation, restoration and maintenance of the barn. In 2014, the Lasky-DeMille Barn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

And, now it is a WSHPHS Landmark as well!

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Category: Real Estate

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