Architectural treasures lost, Los Angeles…

Designed by Roy Seldon Price, Dias Dorados – residence of the father of the studio system, Thomas H. Ince. Torn down by developers in the 1940s:

Designed by Johnson, Kaufman and Coate 1922 – Meyer House, Beverly Hills – I can’t find recent records, but if this one still exists please let me know.

Pickfair – razed by Meshulam Riklis and Pia Zadora:

Fred Thomson and Francis Marion estate (The Enchanted Hill)–a magnificent house on 24 acres designed by Wallace Neff–razed by Paul Allen:

I could go on and on but it’s too disheartening. Until 2011 and the debacle (albeit it had a happy ending) with Richard Neutra’s Kronish house, Beverly Hills has allowed it’s architectural and cultural heritage to be vandalized and wiped from the earth. And, yes — we have extremely strong opinions on this one, kittens. It’s a crying shame and more needs to be done. In the meantime, feast your eyes on absolute gems preserved (alas, many of them only in photographs) in the perfectly beguiling two volume work of author and historian Houses of Los Angeles, 1885-1919 (Urban Domestic Architecture Series, Vol. 1): Sam Watters: 9780926494305: Amazon.com: Books        and
Houses of Los Angeles, 1920-1935 (Urban Domestic Architecture): Sam Watters: 9780926494312: Amazon.com: Books.

16 Comments

  1. August 14, 2012
    Reply

    Pickfair gone? Meshulam Riklis and Pia Zadora should be driven into the desert and left there in bare feet and no cell phone. So it is written so let it be done. Have you ever been to the Mission Inn in Riverside? It was almost lost before it was saved. (Sounds like a Southern Baptist hymn!) Anyway as a kid it was my playground. I knew how to get into the places no one went. It was magical, like my own private movie set.
    Hugs from up North.
    Lanier

    • August 14, 2012
      Reply

      I concur!!! They call the monstrosity they replaced it with Pickfair but it is one hot neo-Georgian MESS. I have lived here so long and heard so much about the Mission Inn but I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been. Now I have to wait for it to cool down.
      xox,
      Vickie

      • August 14, 2012

        The Mission Inn is lovely at Christmas all festooned with lights. Fall is a good time too. Wish I was there so we could sneek into the
        forbidden places and I could show you the Budda Bar. Did you know that GWTW had its sneak at The Fox in Riverside. They used to sneak films there all the time even when I was living there. Saw Bob and Dolores Hope there for one of his (some movie with Phillis Diller and Gina Lollabrigida, a WWII comedy) afterwards in the parking lot I passed him and said goodnight. He said. “Goodnight son.” That was a wow moment.

  2. August 14, 2012
    Reply

    Hey — My mom lived in Palm Springs for a while when the New York winters got to be too much, but then she left and headed to your glamorous city by the bay saying, “Palm Springs is fine if you play golf, are Republican, or are dead from the neck up.” Yes, she was a very outspoken gal and it was definitely another era… Point of the story is I remember seeing Bob Hope around town in the winter and he was always positively chatty and warm. I don’t know where he lived but I do remember Lucille Ball lived out at Thunderbird, and I went a-typing on the interwebs and found this – http://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/gallery/1950s-houses/ – feast your eyes, love!

  3. August 16, 2012
    Reply

    Great images, V! I too am deeply saddened by the “out with the old, in with the new,” mindset that has swept many architectural jewels off the map in this country. Even when architectural significance isn’t at play I take issue with demolishing a perfectly sound structure to replace it with some grotesque gargantuan monstrosity. There use to be a classic California ranch at the corner of Crescent Drive and Sunset, just across the street from the Beverly Hills Hotel. I always enjoyed its clean lines, crisp white color and red front door. Sadly, it has disappeared from the streetscape, replaced by one honking behemoth stone structure. Seeing it recently actually took my breath away—and not in a good way.

    Thanks for sharing! Always fascinating!
    Best-
    ~M

    • August 16, 2012
      Reply

      “Honking behemoth” is the perfect description!!!

    • August 17, 2012
      Reply

      She and her husband (at the time) said the structure had to be torn down due to extensive termite damage… Houses here in S. Cal. that were built at that time were framed in Redwood — damn near impervious to termites.

      • August 17, 2012

        Her excuse was about as believable as her acting. I can’t believe that Pickfair was a historic site and protected.

  4. Jan
    November 24, 2013
    Reply

    Hello Vickie,
    the Meyer house in Beverly hills still exists, it lies at La Collina drive, but from aerial maps it looks like the pool pavilion was slightly rebulit. There is more information about the villa in book: Houses of Los Angeles 1920-1935 by Sam Watters and on this website: http://wikimapia.org/3793981/La-Collina-Benjamin-R-Meyer-Estate-House-in-HBO-s-Entourage
    Please excuse my English, it is not my mother tongue.
    Jan

    • November 24, 2013
      Reply

      Jan,
      Thank you so much! Sam Watters is one of my heroes – and it’s wonderful to know that beautiful house still stands. I’ll have to drive by. 🙂

  5. March 19, 2014
    Reply

    The photos of these beautiful homes are wonderful—I shall do my best to ignore the fact that they (including Pickfair?!) have been razed. Will we ever learn?

    • March 20, 2014
      Reply

      Not fast enough! There are significant efforts going on to protect old buildings, Pasadena makes the best effort, and Beverly Hills, well… at least I can say they’ve started.

  6. erfotografo
    February 26, 2020
    Reply

    I’m afraid the Meyer Estate dos not exist anymore. I drove to the address I found on the internet, the number doesn’t exist, and the houses in the area are regular middle class.

  7. erfotografo
    February 26, 2020
    Reply

    Anyway, I live in 90210, Any image you need from the area, I would gladly help.

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