The Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission will soon decide whether to landmark one of the most unusual houses in the city after an application was submitted to the city Tuesday. Tucked away in a small alley, the Finn Frolich House is known to neighbors for its odd architectural style and to students of Hollywood history as a long-rumored residence of celebrated author Jack London.
Often called the London House, the home was owned for decades by late script supervisor and UCLA professor Robert Gary, who correctly believed the home had some connection to London, due to a large bas-relief of the writer that adorns the front of the building.
Gary eventually discovered the home was built in 1923 several years after London’s death, but its original owner appears to have been the Call of the Wild author’s good friend Finn Frolich. A sculptor, Frolich designed the bas-relief that graces the home, as well as a bust of London that can be found at Jack London State Historic Park in Glen Ellen.
The boxy structure contains four units spread across three stories and is built in a familiar Spanish-revival style. According to the Huffington Post, the building also features a number of interesting quirks, including nautical lamps and the remnants of a block and tackle pulley system that seems to have once been used to lift guests and residents up to the inexplicable door on the second level.
It’s not yet clear who nominated the home as a historic-cultural monument, but a sale of the building is pending. The building’s most recent owner was adult film star Kitten Natividad, according to the Huffington Post.
Given its advanced age and odd design, it’s possible the building’s new owners would seek to demolish or seriously renovate the structure. If officially named a historic cultural monument, any plans for demolition would be delayed for at least six months to allow for alternative scenarios to be considered.
- Did London Come to Hollywood? [Paradise Leased]
- Roots of California Bohemia Lurk in a Hollywood Alley [Huffington Post]
- Hollywood building that once housed lavish supper club wins landmark status [Curbed LA]
- Landmark status for Jim Morrison’s last U.S. residence is ruined [Curbed LA]