West Adams Heights
“Nowadays we scarcely notice the high stone gates which mark the entrances on Hobart, Harvard, and Oxford streets, south of Washington Boulevard. For one thing, the traffic is too heavy, too swift; and then, again, the gates have been obscured by intrusions of shops and stores. At the base of the stone pillars appears the inscription “West Adams Heights.” There was a time when these entranceways were formidable and haughty, for they marked the ways to one of the first elite residential areas in Los Angeles. . . In the unplanned early-day chaos of Los Angeles, West Adams Heights was obviously something very special, an island in an ocean of bungalows—approachable, but withdrawn and reclusive—one of the few surviving examples of planned urban elegance of the turn of the century.”
– Carey McWilliams, “The Evolution of Sugar Hill,” Script, March, 1949: 30.
Today West Adams Heights is still obviously something special. The past sixty years, however, have not been kind. In 1963 the Santa Monica Freeway cut through the heart of West Adams Heights, dividing the neighborhood, obscuring its continuity. In the 1970’s the city paved over the red brick streets and removed the ornate street lighting. After the neighborhood’s zoning was changed to a higher density, overzealous developers claimed several mansions for apartment buildings. Despite these challenges, however, “The Heights,” as the area was once known, has managed to regain some of its former elegance.
The West Adams Heights tract was laid out in 1902, in what was then a wheat field on the western edge of town. Although the freeway now creates an artificial barrier, the original neighborhood boundaries were Adams Boulevard, La Salle Ave, Washington Boulevard, and Western Avenue. Costly improvements were integrated into the development, such as 75-food wide boulevards (which were some of the first contoured streets not to follow the city grid), lots elevated from the sidewalk, ornate street lighting, and large granite monuments with red-brass electroliers at the entrance to every street. These upgrades increased the lot values, which helped ensure the tract would be an enclave for the elite.
One early real estate ad characterized the neighborhood stating: “West Adams Heights needs no introduction to the public: it is already recognized as being far superior to any other tract. Its high and slightly location, its beautiful view of the city and mountains make t a property unequaled by any other in the city.”
The early residents’ were required to sign a detailed restrictive covenant. This hand-written document required property owners to build a “first-class residence,” of at least two stories, costing no less than two-thousand dollars (at a time when a respectable home could be built for a quarter of that amount, including the land), and built no less than thirty-five feet from the property’s primary boundary. Common in early twentieth century, another clause excluded residents from selling or leasing their properties to non-Caucasians.
By the mid 1930’s, however, most of the restrictions had expired. Between 1938 and 1945 … Read More
Moving is hard work, stressful and filled with adventure. These do’s and don’ts can help you position the new home adventure you or someone you know is having a positive one. It makes sense to know what’s proper and what’s not in your or your relatives, friends or neighbors new home and hood. Mark Nash author of 1001 Tips for Buying and Selling a Home shares some do’s and don’ts on new homeowner etiquette.
-Host your own housewarming party, if your a new homeowner invite friends and family over to see the new place.
-Deliver your sets of keys to your new neighbors home that the previous homeowners gave to you.
-Introduce yourself, your partner and children to your neighbors before they seek you out. New homeowners, young and old love to be welcomed to the hood.
-Offer to introduce you new neighbors and their dog(s) to other dogs they might run into on neighborhood walks.
Don’t forget to warn new homeowners with pets about which dog-owners allow their dogs to go off-leash.
-Offer advice on your favorite bakery, hair stylist, babysitters and dog groomers.
-Alert them to the locations of 24-hour stores, in case your new neighbors have an emergency in the middle of the night.
-Offer to help family members who are new homeowners get unpacked or clean.
-Offer to take mountains of packing and moving boxes to the local recycling center for new homeowners.
-Offer to host an informal neighborhood get-together for your new neighbors to meet the current ones.
-Know when it’s time to go home, don’t wear out your welcome with the new homeowners.
-Bring your new neighbors bottles of chilled spring water on moving day and offer to catch up with them once they get settled.
-Deliver your name, address and phone number with a list of emergency numbers to your new neighbor.
-Offer to clear recently moved-in new neighbors sidewalks after a snowfall, especially if they moved from a non-snow climate.
-Suggest that packages your new neighbors are expecting can be left at your home while they are at work.
-Wave to your new neighbors if you don’t have the time to talk.
-Ask your neighbors who they would recommend for repairs and remodeling projects in your new home.
-Do learn from neighbors with different cultural backgrounds.
Register for gifts if your hosting a housewarming party in your new home.
-Expect housewarming guests to bring gifts and if you do receive gifts, open after the party.
-Drop in on new homeowners, call first.
-Offer decorating advice to a new homeowner unless asked.
-Don’t ask how much they paid or imply that the new homeowner over or under paid. People consider financial information private.
-Gossip about the previous homeowners, you might not know if the new owners still talk with them.
-Gossip about others in the neighborhood. Let new make their own decisions.
-Attach ribbons, signs or flags to the new homeowners property without asking permission.
-Ask your new neighbor to trim … Read More
Once upon time, in a quiet village, stood a small bungalow, which suffered from neglect because its owners didn’t have any money to maintain it properly. A sign "for sale" had been standing in the front garden for a very long time, but nobody was interested since the bungalow was of very modern design, which was a sharp contrast to the rest of the historic village. Day after day the wood rotted away and nature slowly took over the garden, until only a complete make-over could help the bungalow to survive…
Tagged: , Home Improvement , bungalow … Read More