This is sort of cemetery related, as I've visited Mr. Ford's crypt.
read more at Adventures in Grave Hunting
It appears that the eulogy I wrote for 334 E. Cypress last month was premature and altogether incorrect.
I"m thrilled to report that this adorable 87-year-old fire damaged house will not be razed!
Every time I walk by this little charmer, I expect to see its demolished remains. Instead, on a recent walk to downtown I literally jumped for joy when I noticed that a new roof was being put on.
A neighbor who lives in the back apartment was sitting near her open window when I stopped to snap photos. She told me that it was determined that the structure was still sound and its internal wounds were not fatal, so the owners opted to fix 'er up rather than tear her down.
I absolutely love it that, against the odds, this landmark vintage dwelling is getting a second lease on life!
Some of my favorite houses in Burbank are the oldsters that still stand proud among the modern development.
When I see them, my mind wanders back in time to wonder what the area was like when they were new.
The house that stands at 334 E. Cypress, down by the Media Center Mall, was gutted by fire in the past year.
I can now check visit the "Six Feet Under" house off my list of things I've been wanting to do.
Builder will seek permission from county to build five units on a lot that is zoned for just two.
By Ryan Vaillancourt
Published Wednesday, May 2, 2007 10:35 PM PDT
MONTROSE — The owner of a historic Craftsman-style house in
unincorporated Montrose wants to knock it down and build a two-story,
five-unit apartment complex in its place.
The developer is scheduled to present the project at a public meeting tonight, but some residents and neighbors are already lamenting the potential loss of one of the community's oldest homes.
Built in 1914, just after the city was founded, the house at 2128 Glenada Ave. sits on street with a cul-de-sac, said Mike Lawler, president of the Historical Society of the Crescenta Valley.
"It's important to hang on to that older architecture and when you preserve old architecture, it enhances the value of the neighborhood around it," Lawler said. "People like old architecture, that old charm. It makes it feel like a community."
While everyone else was focused on Anna Nicole Smith's funeral this morning, I was mourning the loss of yet more vintage housing in my neighborhood.
This cute little duplex was built in 1920. I thought about moving there 10 years ago when 553 came up for rent, but the bedroom was too small. I'd have had to downsize from a queen-size and sorry but I like my big bed.
It had the greatest little breakfast nook, and gorgeous built-in shelves in the livingroom and dining rooms. Plus, way cool vintage art-decoy doors and windows.
Last November it became vacant, and since then it's been vandalized and I think some homeless people were using her for shelter and/or kids were using it as a place to party.
I've explored it on various occassions because the doors were unlocked and no safety fence was ever put up around it until a few days before demolition began. There was also a small house in the rear of the property, it was filled with all kinds of crap that people just left behind including furniture and appliances.
Walter and I liberated a few vintage doo-dads during one of my last visits there, knobs and things. I like to think I'm preserving Burbank history when I save a bit of one old place from going to the dump and adding to my own apartment.
Yesterday when demolition began I stopped on my way to work to take pictures. Justin Tate, one of the workers from Torres Demolition on site spent time talking to me. "It looks like the people just split who were living here, they left appliances, televisions, food, clothing...." Yeah, it was pretty filthy inside. Someone even vandalized her with paint on the walls and carpet inside 533.
Such a sad way to end an 87-year-long glorious reign on the block.
I told Justin that I was interested in the history of such buildings, and today when I stopped by to see the last remains of her going down Justin came over to tell me some exciting news. Apparently when they were knocking down the side wall of 555, they found an old photograph inside the wall behind the fireplace.
"I wish you were still here yesterday when we found it, I would have given it to you," he said.
None of the workers on site this morning claimed to have salvaged the photo or had knowledge of what happened to it. The only thing they could tell me was that it was larger than 8" x 10" and it featured a group of about 17 men in turn-of-the-century clothing, etc.
I would LOVE to find that photo, and figure who the men are and why the photo was tucked behind the fireplace wall. Justin took my business card and promised to call me if he found the picture or anything else exciting on sites in the future. Here's hoping! He also saved a cute little fairy bird feeder from the overhang for me, just before the last wall came tumbling down. Thanks, Justin!
See more photos of the old girl on my Flickr album dedicated to her memory.
I'm looking forward to joining the Studio for Southern California History's Walking Tour of Angelus Rosedale Cemetery coming up on Sunday, February 11th (10-11:30 a.m.) which will be conducted by my pals Steve Goldstein and Joe Walker.
A grave there that's of particular interest to me holds the remains of Mrs. Mable Monohan, who was brutally murdered in her home here in Burbank back in 1953.
Below is a photo I took of the house earlier this month. It's located at 1718 Parkside Ave., just a few blocks away from the Walt Disney Studios, between Riverside Dr. and Alameda Ave. P.S., the house is currently for sale.
See more of my photos here.
The frail, 64-year-old widow's body was discovered in the ransacked home after her gardener called police when she didn't answer the door and, finding it unlocked, walked in on the gruesome crime scene. Mrs. Monohan died from the result of asphyxiation due to strangulation and a cranial hemorrhage caused by a blunt force blow to the left side of her head.
A year-and-a-half later, after a media circus murder trial at the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice, three small time criminals - Barbara Graham, Emmett Perkins and Jack Santo - were convicted for Mable's murder (a robbery gone askew) after another accomplice, John True, traded his testimony against them for immunity. A fifth alleged accomplice, Baxter Shorter, went missing and, assumed dead, has never been found.
All three were sentenced to death at the San Quentin gas chamber, and were executed on June 3, 1955.
Movie buffs are sure to be familiar with this case. Party-girl Graham was immortalized in the arguably white-washed character study classic 1958 film, I Want to Live! - portrayed by Susan Hayward, a role which earned Hayward a Best Actress Academy Award.
Veteran writer Clark Howard chronicled the same story from a more objective and detailed angle for CrimeLibrary.com in 2003. That story no longer appears on the website, but I did find the text on Internet Archive. Download it here for some fascinating reading. Graham insisted she was innocent and the truth about her participation that fateful night on Parkside Ave. is still debated among criminal history enthusiasts.
An additional resource for those interested in this case is the Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection (use search term "Barbara Graham") which includes 172 news photos from the original trial coverage.
Thanks to Wes Clark's Burbankia (my latest obsession) I recently learned that novelist James M. Cain wrote his 1934 best-selling book, The Postman Always Rings Twice, while residing right here in Burbank.
Therefore, I decided to spend the morning portion of my MLK Jr. holiday on a vintage celebrity house-hunting tour up the road a piece, bringing home a snap of Cain's former (rented) abode located at 616 S. Bel Air Drive, between Providencia and Cedar:
The sensational sexual crime novel was initially banned in some cities, but was eventually was adapted into the 1946 MGM film noir classic (tamed down from the book thanks to the Production Code) starring Lana Turner and John Garfield.
Nick Smith (Cecil Kellaway), the middle-aged proprietor of a roadside restaurant, hires drifter Frank Chambers (Garfield) as a handyman. Frank eventually begins an affair with Nick's beautiful wife Cora (Turner), who talks Frank into helping her kill Nick, by "accident." But the best laid plans...... ~ Jim Beaver, IMDB.com
Cain wrote other novels that were also made into enduringly classic favorite feature films, such as "Mildred Pierce," starring Best Actress Ocar-winner Joan Crawford, and "Double Idemnity," starring Barbara Stanwyck and Fred MacMurray.
Cain died in 1977 at the age of 85, and his body was donated to medical science.
Click here to see James M. Cain books and movie items at Amazon.com.
I'm a writer at large, located in Burbank, Calif., on the lookout for kitschy stories to share. My interests include cemeteries, local history, pets and other critters, and random shiny things that catch my attention. Thank you for choosing to spend a part of your online day here!