clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

What That Mid-Century Modern House is Doing in Hancock Park

New, 7 comments

On Tuesday we were wondering how a 1963 mid-century modern house ends up in stately old Hancock Park and now we have the answer: fire. Steve Vaught, who's always digging up good stuff for his Paradise Leased blog, sends in the dramatic tale: "I was just recently going through some old LA Times on another house on June Street and stumbled upon 115 (They mistakenly list it as 'North'). As expected, there was originally another house on the site, an English Tudor from the 1920's that had been built by August Roberti of the Roberti Brothers, big mattress manufacturers.]

"At about 3AM on Friday November 4th, 1960, the house, which was then owned by William R. Whittaker, president of the Telecomputing Corporation, was engulfed in flames. Mr. Whittaker wasn't home, but his wife and two children as well as a 61 year-old female guest were. The guest, Mrs. Elizabeth Anderson, was the hero of the hour, grabbing the two boys, aged 6 and 10, and navigating them through choking smoke in near total darkness down the stairs to the outside. Meanwhile, Mrs. Whittaker had leaped from the second story and onto the driveway below receiving minor injuries in the fall. Too bad the Roberti's didn't still live there. There would have been plenty of mattresses to land on!

"The press reports said flames were rising 100 feet above the roof line by the time the firefighters got there. It was, as you might guess, a total loss. So that explains why there's a 1963 MCM in the middle of June Street!"

Good story, but now we have a new question: is that a topiary teddy bear on the front lawn? [Curbed Inbox]