FOR AN INTRODUCTION TO WINDSOR SQUARE, CLICK HERE

Lorraine Boulevard
500 block




500


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 126 and northerly 50' of Lot 125
  • Built in 1912 at 635 South Harvard Boulevard; BP for house issued 9-22-1911; for garage 11-18-1911
  • Original commissioner: insurance broker Frank E. Walsh
  • Architect and contractor: The Milwaukee Building Company (Mendel Meyer,  Julius C. Schneider, and Philip W. Holler)
  • Sold by Walsh in the fall of 1921 to Chicago railroad car manufacturer and real estate investor Alonzo Clark Mather as his winter home. In 1925, while living in the house on Harvard Boulevard, Mather, who invested in property all over the country, purchased for development the Eagle Rock and 13 surrounding acres in the recently annexed Los Angeles district of the same name
  • Having decided to move to Windsor Square, Mather purchased Lot 126 and appears to have negotiated a deal with James A. Gibson of 524 Lorraine Boulevard (Lot 124) to purchase Lot 125 between their properties to be split evenly
  • In 1928, Mather hired cement contractor William E. Jensen to lay new foundations on his Windsor Square property for the relocation of his house and garage from Harvard Boulevard (BPs for the relocations issued 7-10-1928; address indicated on BPs is 504 Lorraine Boulevard)
  • Mather died in the house on 1-25-1941
  • In 2011, a new owner, among other alterations, added considerable bulk to the house's south side and a parking lot at the front, neither of which, as in the case of 524 Lorraine, improve the historic character of the the boulevard




As seen at its original location on Harvard Boulevard in
the Los Angeles Times on 8-11-1912 and in the September
1916 issue of the trade journal The Western Architect.









505


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 105
  • Built in 1924; BPs for house and garage issued 1-22-1924
  • Original commissioner, architect, and contractor: the Preston S. Wright Company, for resale
  • Etta Keith Eskridge, a divorcĂ©e, was in residence by 1926; although it might be presumed that she had a substantial private income given alimony and the fact that her father was a silver miner (she was born in Virginia City), not long after her spinster sister Margaret Keith chloroformed herself to death in her Beverly Hills house in 1933 (engendering considerable lurid and amusing press regarding the deceased being less rich than she seemed to believe, an astrologer, and an elaborate funeral), Etta left 505, her sister having bequeathed her only $50 and the forgiveness of a $4,000 loan. Etta moved to an apartment at the Arcady, built on the Wilshire Boulevard site of the house moved to 637 South Lucerne Boulevard in Windsor Square in 1923
  • Raymond E. Wright, the brother and partner of Preston S. Wright and with him the house's original contracting team, now operating on his own, acquired the house by 1935; after some work by him, 505 was again offered for sale
  • Attorney Richard J. O. Culver was the next owner; his family stayed in the house until at least 1973






515


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 106
  • Built in 1923; BPs for house and garage issued 5-14-1923
  • Original commissioner: jeweler and diamond dealer Louis S. Nordlinger
  • Architect and contractor: Preston S. Wright Company
  • Nordlinger was still living at 515 when he died on 7-8-1940
  • The house was reported by the Los Angeles Times of 12-22-1940 as sold to Erle Barker, vice president of Barker Brothers, the Los Angeles furniture company founded in 1880 by his grandfather. Barker's stay was brief; the house was being offered in classified advertisements in late 1946 as being for sale at a "sacrifice," with immediate possession available (Barker was in ill health; after a move to Los Feliz, he died in a Santa Monica hospital on 1-26-1948)







524


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 124 and southerly 50' of Lot 125
  • Built in 1922; BP for house issued 1-4-1922; for original garage 3-20-1922
  • Original commissioner: plumbing-supplies executive and real estate developer Albert Hays Busch
  • Architect: Feil & Verge (Joseph L. Feil and Gene Verge)
  • Contractor: The Birch O'Neal Company for house; "same" is indicated on the garage BP, indicating Feil & Verge
  • Busch and his wife, Ruth Gordon Busch, who had married in 1920 when he was 21 and she 20, did not last long in the house; an acrimonious divorce followed six years later. During the couple's wrangling, the house was put on the market in late 1925, then rented, before it was bought by attorney James A. Gibson of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in 1928; Gibson had been living up the street at 321 Lorraine Boulevard since 1924
  • Gibson made several alterations to the house in 1928 and 1929; he also appears to negotiated a deal with Alonzo C. Mather in the acquisition of Lot 125, which lay between 524 and the corner Lot 126 to which Mather moved his house from 635 South Harvard Boulevard in the summer of 1928. Lot 125 was evenly divided; on his 50', Gibson added a swimming pool and dressing room (BP issued 2-11-1929)
  • A later owner added a second garage in 2004, this one at the front of the property; less than year later, a second floor was added to this structure as a recreation room. A breezeway connected the new addition to the original house and served as a gate to the rear motor area
  • The Busch family were pioneer landowners and developers along Wilshire Boulevard, having once owned a large tract at the southeast corner of Vermont Avenue. For more, please see the story of 3124 Wilshire Boulevard and Wilshire After Its Houses


As seen in the Los Angeles Times on 12-9-1984, 524 appears from the street still in its original
configuration. A two-story garage and sweeping driveway were added to north side of the
property (left above) 20 years later, adding to the visible bulk of the house and
to the unfortunate trend of Windsor Square lawns becoming parking lots.







525


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 107
  • Built in 1920; BPs for house and garage issued 4-15-1920. Both indicate the address of 523 
  • Original commissioner: Fred H. Campbell, an associate of the S. M. Cooper Company, with which during this period he worked on several Los Angeles residential projects; as were many of S. M. Cooper's Windsor Square residences, 525 Lorraine was done on spec
  • Architect: Robert D. Jones in partnership with Sanson M. Cooper acting as contractor
  • Acquired by film producer B. P. Schulberg in 1921
  • A robbery of jewels and rare tapestries from the Schulberg residence was reported by the Times on 12-16-1925; a recently fired chauffeur was suspected. The same article reported that Schulberg had filed for voluntary bankruptcy in New York the prior October
  • Schulberg was issued a BP on 8-5-1926 for a two-story addition at the rear of the house and, less clearly stated, for changing the cornice. He was issued a BP on 10-2-1926 to add a laundry to the garage
  • As would a number of Hollywood notables, Schulberg followed the lead of the richest of the Los Angeles establishment away from upper-middle-class districts such as Windsor Square and Hancock Park to estate areas of suburbs farther west; he was in Beverly Hills by 1938
  • The house was being offered for rent unfurnished at $175 a month in the spring and summer of 1942; it was on the market in the summer of 1952, and still the following February, "reduced from $42,500 to $32,500." After this, from at least 1956, mortgage company executive Merritt F. Conway was in residence until 1967







532


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 123
  • Built in 1919; BP for house issued 5-1-1919; for garage 5-19-1919
  • Original commissioner, architect, and contractor: builder George F. Sloan, apparently on spec
  • The Los Angeles Times of 3-11-1923 reported that 532 was among the "pretentious" houses recently sold in Windsor Square ("pretentious" having yet to acquire its negative connotation); 532 had been acquired by Frederick William Matthiessen Jr., president of Westclox; his father, who died in 1918, had owned the company, which introduced the Big Ben alarm clock in 1909. By 1925, Elsie Matthiessen was listed in the city directory at 532 as the "widow" of "F W Matthiessen"; as Mr. Matthiessen was not dead—he would die as the result of a car accident in Santa Monica in 1948—this listing was in accordance with the not uncommon practice of divorcĂ©es referring to themselves as widows, perhaps out of spite as much as to save face. Elsie was, in fact, the second Mrs. Matthiessen, having become so in 1917, 20 years younger than her groom; soon after divorcing her in 1924 after a year at 532, Mr. Matthiessen promptly married his third wife, this one 27 years his junior. The most recent Matthiessens then lived for a time nearby at 53 Fremont Place before decamping to Pasadena
  • By 1926, real estate investor James R. Canterbury and his family were in residence; on 10-31-1926, they were robbed by a serial thief not caught until 1929. The Canterburys remained at 532 until at least 1934
  • By 1936, the Canterburys had been succeeded by wholesale hardware dealer Edward H. McLaughlin, his wife, and five children. Mrs. McLaughlin collapsed at 532 on 5-16-1952 and died the next day; Mr. McLaughlin died at 532 on 12-19-1962


As seen in the Los Angeles Times on 3-11-1923 at the time of its sale to F. W. Matthiesen







533


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 108
  • Built in 1923; BPs for house and garage issued 4-17-1923
  • Original commissioner: Ella H. Cooper, wife of builder Sanson M. Cooper. (Builders and developers often took out permits in the names of spouses or their employees for houses built on spec)
  • Architect: Robert D. Jones in partnership with Sanson M. Cooper acting as contractor; their firm, known as the S. M. Cooper Company, was very active in Windsor Square
  • The S. M. Cooper Company made additions to the house in early 1924, adding a bedroom and enlarging the garage (BPs issued 12-6-1923)
  • The first occupant of 533 was real estate dealer Forrest B. Lewis, who arrived in 1924
  • Produce shipper John Timberlake Bunn bought 533 from Lewis in 1929 and remained until the mid 1940s. After his daughter Margaret's wedding on Christmas Day 1933, a reception was held at 533 
  • Zola Halliburton, a daughter of oilman Erle P. Halliburton, had grown up at 19 Berkeley Square and married young physician John E. Hall there in 1941; the couple moved into 533 after the Bunns. After her divorce from Hall was granted on 3-21-1949, Zola fixed the house up (BP issued 6-10-1949) and moved out







541


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 109
  • Built in 1923; BPs for house and garage issued 3-20-1923
  • Original commissioner: Sanson M. Cooper for his own firm on spec
  • Architect: Robert D. Jones in partnership with Sanson M. Cooper acting as contractor
  • Retired Nebraska bank president George E. Aldrich was the first owner of 541; he stayed for nearly 20 years. As a last hurrah, he and Mrs. Aldrich celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in the house in 9-1942; earlier in the year, classified advertisements had run in the Times offering 541 for sale with the caveat that it was "crying for an interior decorator to lighten and brighten it with paint and paper"
  • Businessman James F. McGann and his wife bought 541 Lorraine in 1943; at around the same time, Nell G. McGann, who had been living at 675 Crenshaw Boulevard with her brother's family, bought 502 South Windsor Boulevard just around the corner from 541






542


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; northerly 75' of Lot 122
  • Built in 1920; BP for house issued 12-27-1919; for garage 2-4-1920
  • Original commissioner: mortgage banker George N. Whiting
  • Architect and contractor: Arthur R. Kelly
  • George Whiting was separated from his wife, Mildred Wellborn Whiting, by 1925; he moved to the University Club and she to her parents' house at 2 Chester Place
  • George Whiting sold 542 to his brother and business partner Dwight A. Whiting and his wife Rosalind Morris Whiting; the Whitings made a number of alterations to the house. According to a BP issued 10-17-1926, changes to the living room included the addition of decorative beams and an organ and the replacement of two windows with a bay window. Outside, a tiled fountain was added
  • On 12-17-1926, the Los Angeles Times reported that the house had been ransacked, apparently by a notorious hijacking gang—thought to be headed by a man known as "The Chief"—who posed as Prohibition agents looking for a large still and a major stash of liquor. Two servants were at home; Mrs. Whiting and then two men making deliveries arrived in the middle of the proceedings and the invading parties fled empty-handed
  • The chimney was enlarged in 1927 (BP issued 12-15-1927)
  • Rosalind Whiting was granted a divorce in Reno on 7-8-1929; she and the Whitings' two children moved to an apartment at the Beau Sejour in West Hollywood, Dwight to the Biltmore
  • Classified advertisements appeared in the Times during 2-1931 offering 542 at a "sacrifice"; Dwight remarried three months later
  • No doubt attracted by its organ, 542 was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Lon V. Smith, who were married in 1929. Mr. Smith was an oil lease broker and Mrs. Smith a tireless clubwoman—she would rise to the presidency of the Ebell Club—as well as a philanthropist to musical endeavors
  • Additions to 542 by the Smiths included a second floor to the garage for servants' quarters (BPs issued 4-2-1937), a barbecue with fireplace (BP issued 5-26-1937), and, among other alterations in 1948, a separate music room (BP issued 3-31-1948)
  • Mrs. Smith, whose maiden name happened to be Jane Wyatt, died at 542 on 3-4-1956






549


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 110
  • Built in 1954; a BP issued 12-10-53 describes an application to correct the floor and plot plans indicated on a previous BP
  • Original commissioner: dress manufacturer Devlet Getson; Getson specialized in high-end beading and embroidery
  • Architect: Absmeier & O'Leary (John C. Absmeier and Arthur F. O'Leary)
  • Contractor: Devlet Getson
  • Prior to the construction of 549, Lot 110 appears to have remained unimproved since the opening of Windsor Square in 1911
  • A number of changes, including to the house floor plan, were made before a certificate of occupancy was issued to Getson on 8-8-1955: A separate storage unit was added; the original attached garage became a laundry room after a separate garage was built
  • Under subsequent owners, renovations were made after a fire in 2007; additions were made to the rear of the house in 2010


An interesting urban remnant can be found at 2855-59 West Seventh Street, where Turkish-born
 Devlet Getson ran his business for many years. In May 1948, Women's Wear Daily reported
that Getson was moving Eastern Embroidery from 910 South Broadway to his new

complex and had opened an elaborate showroom called the House of Devlet.







554


  • Windsor Square Tract 1390; Lot 121 and southerly 25' of Lot 122
  • Built in 1923; BP for garage issued 3-23-1923; for house 4-19-1923
  • Original commissioner: Esther Leistikow, wife of financier Frederick W. Leistikow
  • Architect: Paul Revere Williams, then self-described as a draftsman in the offices of architect John C. Austin. Williams is not credited as architect on the original BPs for 554, on which are typed the names of John C. Austin as well as Frederick M. Ashley, who had recently joined the Austin firm. Per Southwest Builder and Contractor of 6-10-1921, Williams, having that year joined the Austin firm, had recently been granted his certificate to practice architecture by the California State Board of Architecture
  • Contractor: The Birch O'Neal Company
  • The Los Angeles Times reported on 3-7-1924 that the Leistikows had recently entertained at a dinner for 16 "at their beautiful new home, 554 Lorraine Boulevard"
  • Although the Leistikows retained 554 until the 1950s, they had moved to Delray Beach, Florida, in the 1940s
  • For more information and vintage views of the Leistikow house, please see this page of the excellent and comprehensive online Paul Revere Williams Project


The house appears little changed from the time this photograph was made in 1926




Views of 554 Lorraine Boulevard taken in the 1930s
from Sixth Street reveal that the perspective from Lorraine belies the
house's mass. An athlete appears to be in residence.









Illustrations: Private Collection; LATAlan RosenbergDick Whittington/USCDL;
California State Library