I love walking tours in Los Angeles and try to do as many as I can. The Los Angeles Conservancy offers several so I signed up for their Angeleno Heights Victorian Homes walking tour to take a look at some of the oldest remaining homes in Los Angeles. It was a rainy day, but that didn’t stop us, even though I had to fight raindrops dripping on my camera lens.
Angeleno Heights is east of Echo Park not far from Downtown LA and we met at the old firehouse on Edgeware Road. While we were waiting for everyone to show up, our guide mentioned that even though the firehouse is no longer in operation, there are several vintage fire trucks stored inside.
About twenty people showed up, despite the downpour. We walked up Edgeware Road and huddled under a tree as our guide talked about the neighborhood and some of the old homes on the street. It was developed in 1886 by William W. Stilson and Everett E. Hall. For a while, it was an affluent “suburb” within sight of downtown. The first streetcar line in Los Angeles stopped there making it easy for residents to travel back and forth.
Carroll Avenue has been preserved with many of its original Victorian homes as well as some that were moved there from other parts of the city. All the utility lines have been buried underground to give the street more of a sense of authenticity.
Most of the homes were built in the Queen Anne style but you can also see Pre-Victorian, as well as early 19th century Craftsman bungalows. A few hitching posts and raised platforms on the sidewalk are remnants of the days of horse-drawn carriages.
The neighborhood was affluent in its heyday but fell into disrepair after residents moved West to other parts of the city, the beaches, and the San Fernando Valley. In the late 1960s, preservationists rediscovered the area and began restoring some of the homes. There are now 800 structures spanning 120 acres.
The Libby House
We were able to walk inside two of the homes during our tour. The Libby house (1887), on Edgeware Road, is owned by a woman who asked that we not post any photos of her home’s interior on the web. However, she said she enjoys talking about her house with each month’s tour group and has an amazing view of Downtown Los Angeles from her backyard.
Some of the homes, including the Libby House, have carriage houses in the back and a few have been converted into rental units.
The Foy House
The Foy House is the oldest home on Carroll Avenue and is Pre-Victorian. It was built Downtown in 1872 in the Italian style and was moved twice before settling in Angeleno Heights. One of its former residents was Mary Foy, who was LAs chief librarian and a leader in the women’s suffragette movement.
The Innes House
As can be expected in the city of movieland dreams, several of the homes have been used for filming. The Innes House was built in 1887 and was Halliwell Manor in the TV show “Charmed.”
We were able to walk inside the Innes house. The first floor has authentic Victorian Era furniture, lighting fixtures, doors, and windows. There’s an icebox in the kitchen, but the original stove has been replaced by a 50’s style range.
The Sanders House
The slightly dilapidated Sanders House, built in 1887, was used during the filming of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”
The Luckenbach House
The Luckenbach House, built in 1888, has an interesting history. It was originally constructed for James S.Luckenbach who was a businessman but was sold to philanthropist Kaspare Cohn. Cohn donated it to the Hebrew Benevolent Society in 1902 and it became the Kaspare Cohn Hospital and the first official Jewish hospital in Los Angeles. From 1906 to 1910, Dr. Sarah Vasen, who was the first female doctor in Los Angeles, acted as superintendent.
The hospital relocated to Boyle Heights in 1910, which was the largest Jewish community in Los Angeles at the time. It relocated again in 1930 to Fountain Ave and was renamed Cedars of Lebanon. The Mt Sinai Hospital for Incurables in Boyle Heights also eventually moved West. In 1961 the two hospitals merged forming the prestigious Cedars-Sinai Medical Center near Beverly Hills. The Luckenbach house can be seen on a mural on the side of Canter’s Deli in the Fairfax district of Los Angeles.
The Pinney House
The Pinney House was built in 1887 for industrialist Henry L. Pinney. He lived in the house until his death in 1980 at age 106. Having lived there for over a century, Pinney had many stories to tell. You may recognize this house from a brothel scene in the TV show “Madmen.”
The Beaudry House
I love the detail work and windows on The Beaudry House, built in 1885, below.
Other homes we passed by on the Angeleno Heights walking tour
Please click on the images to view full-size
Most of the homes we saw on our walking tour have been carefully preserved and renovated but there were a few that endured gross redecorating attempts. One was a Craftsman that had been stuccoed on the outside. I’m sure preservationists give it a resounding UGH!
The community surrounding Carroll Avenue is mostly low-income and regentrification has caused the prices of Victorian homes to rise. Nevertheless, the street is extremely popular during Halloween, which is no surprise. The entire neighborhood goes all-out spooky!
To book a tour of the Angeleno Heights Victorian Homes, visit the LA Conservancy website.
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