Los Angeles Postcard Collection | Residential


The Garden Court Apartments
 7021 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90028

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Situated in the foothills of Hollywood, the Garden Court was built by J. A. Ransford in 1916. Designed by architect Frank Meline, the modern-equipped building offered billiards, tropical gardens, tennis courts, Oriental rugs, grand pianos and a magnificent ballroom that some observers noted was patterned on the Petit Trianon in Paris.

The Italian-Renaissance style hotel counted many Hollywood luminaries as guests, including silent film actress Corliss Palmer and actor George Cleveland - known for his role as "Gramps" on the TV show Lassie. No word if the female Long-Haired Collie also checked in.

In 1964, silent-screen star Mae Murray was reported missing. Murray had taken a bus from Los Angeles to New York, but instead departed in St. Louis, where she was found dazed and wandering the streets. Virtually penniless by then, the actress lived alone at the Garden Court Apartments.

Years earlier, the once effervescent blonde vamp of the silver screen was found in a coma at her apartment, listed as 628 South Ardmore Avenue, now part of Koreatown. The actress died in 1965. In her honor, the Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax screened her 1924 hit Madamoiselle Midnight.

Attempts at turning the ageing building into a Hollywood musuem failed, and by 1981 the once-grand beaux-arts building was all but vacant. The site was first slated for demolition 1981, but lack of proper permits stalled the process. Even though the landmark hotel was declared a Los Angeles cultural historic monument, the walls came crumbling down in 1984.

Bought and sold numerous times, the much-maligned building that some referred to as 'Hotel Hell' became the site of the gargauntuan venture known as the Hollywood Galaxy Theater Complex; a $48-million eyesore that opened in 1991 and has since been revamped.




Montilla Apartments
 5272 Hollywood Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90027

Built at a cost of $125,000 in 1927, the four-storey brick apartment house (known as the Mount Royal) was owned by developer Robert Nimmo and designed by E. B. Rust. Rust, a Los Angeles-based architect was also responsible for the Westlake-area Hotel Californian, the downtown Kleiber Motor Truck building at San Pedro and 11th and the Versailles (614 South St. Andrews).

Touting its atmosphere as "healthful and harmonious", the exquisitely furnished Montilla with its rooftop sun room attracted a handful of silent screen stars such as Mabel Scott, Sterling Ford and Elsie Winterlin.

In the 1940's the building was sold and given the British gangster-sounding name 'Whitehall Manor', a name-change that lasted until the 1960's. The site was demolished in 1994 and has been vacant ever since.




The Harris Residence
 539 South Beverly Glen Los Angeles CA 90024

Designed by architect Heth Wharton, this French-Provincial Holmby Hills residence was purchased for $15,000. Today the property is valued around $8 million.

The original owner was real estate developer Fred F. Harris. The Beverly Hills realtor had interests in the Gaylord, the Mayfair and the Mayan Hotel (formely the Maryella, at 3049 West 8th). Harris was also one of the founders of the Wilshire Center - a commercial thoroughfare between La Faeyette Park and Normandie Avenue.

Renovated in 1941, the Holmby Hills residence looks somewhat as it did, at least from the outside.




The Navarro Apartment Hotel
 925 South Alvarado Street, Los Angeles CA 90006

Built by developer W. E. Curry, the Westlake-area hotel opened for business in 1909 - with among other things, a large amusement room. The hotel was refurbished in 1912 (for some reason) and sold in 1926.

During the mid-1980's, the Navarro became the Bethlehem Center - a food pantry. Today, the 32-unit Navarro operates as residential housing.




Cordingly-Sherman Apartments
 10401 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90024

Situated on the northwest corner of Wilshire and Beverly Glen, the 11-storey Cordingly-Sherman Apartments were designed by Beverly Hills architect Martin Stern Jr. in 1951. Although known for his work in Las Vegas, Stern's place in Los Angeles architecture would resonate a few years later with the much-loved Ships Restaurants.

In addition to the chic Westwood building that bore his name, real estate developer George Cordingly Sr. (d. 1962) was responsible for a number of medical buildings in Beverly Hills and the San Fernando Valley.

In West Los Angeles, Cordingly owned the Westward Ho Public Course, a 9-hole golf course built over 25 acres. The site began as a Country Club in 1923, when the area was called Biona Hills -- "the connecting link between Palms and Ocean Park Heights. The entire lot was bulldozed in 1951. Today, the busy intersection of Venice and Sawtelle is better known as Mar Vista.

Keeping it in the family, Cordingly's wife worked on the interiors for the Beverly-Sycamore apartment building in 1928. Designed by James Conway, the high-priced French Normandy building in Hancock Park is now the Faubourg St Denis.

The Wilshire corridor apartment building attracted notable tenants, among them; silent screen star Dolores Costello, comedian Ed Wynn, Florence Selznick - mother of movie studio titan, David O. Selznick and Helms Bakery founder, Paul Helms.

The Cordingly-Sherman Apartments highrise operates today as '10401 Wilshire Residential Apartments', oddly enough.




Sherwood Hotel and Apartments
 431 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90071

The 1907 building became the Sherwood Hotel around 1931. With 160 outside rooms and 72 apartments, the Bunker Hill rooming house informed guests of electric elevators and disappearing beds on doors. These amenities must have appealed to film director Norman Taurog, who reportedly stayed here.

The building was demolished in 1957 to become a parking lot. Soon after, the site was owned by Southern California Edison.




The Rex Arms Apartments
 945 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA

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Built by F. O. Engstrum, The Rex Arms formally opened in 1912.

The eight-story structure in downtown Los Angeles was made of reinforced concrete and listed as absolutely fireproof. In 1915, the L.A. Times reported there were 265 rooms, a large ballroom and parlors with outside exposure - making the Rex Arms one of the largest and costliest building of its' type in the United States. Noted silent screen star William S. Hart was reported to have stayed there in 1917. And no less than Charlie Chaplin and Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle filmed their 1914 silent, The Rounders, outside the building.

The Rex Arms underwent a transformation by Albert C. Martin in 1935, around the time Wilshire Boulevard (between Alvarado and Figueroa) was widened. The building was cut back twenty-two feet to conform to the new set-back line. A few years later, the Rex Arms was one of many buildings designated an air-raid shelter.

In 1966, local papers reported that five hotel residents were slashed with a butcher knife by a soft-spoken, bespectacled fellow resident. The 50 year-old suspect claimed he "must have blacked out and went berserk". He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity. Engstrum's other buildings included the Rosslyn Hotel and the Clark Hotel.

With the development of the Harbor Freeway, the ageing Rex Arms was eventually engulfed and the light went out in 1974.




The Park-Wilshire Hotel
 2424 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90057

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Originating as the Victoria Arms upon completion in 1924, the Park-Wilshire was situated on the South-East corner of Wilshire and Carondolet Street. The eight-story building was designed by architects Russell and Alpaugh. Among their many building, they were also responsible for Temple Emanu-El - a two-storey synagogue off Wilshire Boulevard and Manhattan Place. Somewhere along the way, the Koreatown building found Christ and is now a Church.

The Park-Wilshire however, found an infinte legion of new owners and refurbishments. The building attained a certain level of notoriety in 1962 when Karl Frey, former owner, faced conspiracy and pandering charges. The Polish-born Frey denied he was the kingpin of a call-girl racket being conducted out of his hotel. According to newspaper reports at the time, Interpol ranked the dodgy millionaire amongst the world's top 10 criminals. For all the bawdy shenanigans, Frey was convicted, fined $10,000 and served 270 days in jail.

By 1984, the Park-Wilshire was one of the last remaining mid-rise apartment-hotels along Wilshire Corridor East. After the period following the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, many building from the 1920's were razed to make room for redevelopment. The Park-Wilshire received a $3 million renovation from part-owner and architect, Viktor Peteris.

The building underwent its last makeover as recently as 2016, when a Sherman Oaks real estate firm purchased the building. The firm have a number of Southland properties under their belt, including the Wilshire Royale.




Named after its owner and developer, Harris A. Dickerman, the 1925 red brick building designed by Arlos R. Sedgley is still standing.

Sedgley went on to build UCLA's Zeta Beta Tau fraternity building in 1938, although it appears to have been demolished. One Sedgley building that did survive was the 1937 Ambassador Chateau on Hobart Blvd., in Koreatown. The large corner building was declared a Los Angeles Cultural Historical Monument (#815).




San Marcos Apartment Hotel
 242 North Western Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90004

Opening on the corner of Beverly and Western in 1928, the Spanish-Renaissance type hotel was originally named after its owners, F. O. and R. A. Dalton, of the Dalton Investment Company.

Designed by the firm of Postle & Postle, the Dalton Apartments launched with 56 apartments, 30 hotel rooms, two automatic elevators and radio equipment in each unit.

The Dalton Brothers moved into the Southern California property business in 1921, purchasing the Follies Theatre (also known as the Republic Theatre Building), located downtown at 337 South Main. Known originally as the Belasco Theatre, the early years began earnestly enough with drawing-room comedies. As the theatre district moved south, the leading playhouse dropped the Belsaco name and relocated to Hill Street. From then on, the building turned burlesque.

The show was raided by vice squad in 1934 with audience members arrested on charges of participating in a lewd performance. When burlesque fell out of favor, the theatre had its licence suspended and closed in 1944. One its final shows starred "Ball of Fire" Betty Rowland, Dorothy Darling and Princess Garcia.

After the final g-string dropped, the Follies continued into the late 1960's with nudies and foreign art film. The building had one last gasp of life in 1968 when then-Mayor Sam Yorty urged the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board to add the building to its list of culturally significant buildings.

Unfortunately, the once-impressive theatre saw the unpleasant end of a wrecking ball in 1974.

Back on Beverly and Western, the former Dalton Apartments changed to its current name in 1934. A ground floor restaurant 'Hawaiian Kitchen' opened in 1973. Today the San Marcos still operates as a hotel, in what is now Koreatown.


            



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