Thursday, December 16, 2010

I. N. Van Nuys -- 1445 West 6th Street


Updated 4/10/16

One of Southern California's earliest pioneers,  Isaac Newton Van Nuys (1836-1912) first came to the San Fernando Valley in 1871, working with Isaac Lankershim, an even earlier California pioneer. At the time Lankershim and other investors owned the southern half of the San Fernando Valley, using it to raise sheep and wool. Then in 1873, Van Nuys and Lankershim's son James Boon Lankershim joined in, creating the Los Angeles Farming and Milling Co. After a severe drought in 1875, Van Nuys tried raising dry land wheat, with such success that by 1885 the company harvested more wheat than any other in the world. Among innovations to get to a world market was the installation of a toll road over the Santa Monica Mountains--today's I-405.

I. N. Van Nuys ca. 1909
Then in 1880 Van Nuys took Isaac Lankershim's daughter Susanna's hand in marriage, eventually raising three children. With the great success of wheat farming, Van Nuys had a hotel erected in downtown L.A. (1896), and built a new, 12,500 square foot showplace residence just west of downtown.  Consisting of three floors, the top floor held a large meeting room with stage and footlights. Visitors could stay overnight in any of eleven bedrooms, adjacent to eight baths.The main floor included a library, sitting room, dining room, den, and a large formal living room.

In 1900, the newly built mansion had in residence, Isaac, Susanna, daughters Annis (known as Annie) and Kate, son James B., Susanna's mother Annis, and three servants.  



1445 West 6th Street in 1910


The residence stood on the northeast corner of Loma and West Sixth St. Today the site is the Rampart station of the LA Police Department. But in 1909 it was pretty much on the edge of town.  This bird's eye view done that same year gives a good overview of the neighborhood. Note the Van Nuys property at center, just below the "Site of Crown Palace".

The area in 1909
(courtesy of memory.loc.gov)





Today of course it's very different, as the home of a Los Angeles police department station.

The view per Google Maps:


1445 West 6th Street today

But what happened to the house?

By the time of Isaac's passing in 1912, the fashionable areas of Los Angeles were moving west, especially along Wilshire Blvd. and north. By 1914 the family had decided to move, but widow Susanna could not bear to part with the house, which held many dreams and events for the family, including a recent wedding for daughter Kate. And so it was decided the house would be moved to a site in a new subdivision called Windsor Square. A contract was let, and the house was divided into several sections, and moved over three miles.

A view of the move on a map:

The (probable) path for the move of the Van Nuys mansion
(courtesy of Google maps)

Son James Benton was in charge of the move, but both he and mother Susanna kept their address at the Van Nuys building downtown. But in 1919 Susanna took residence in Santa Monica and J. Benton (as he now called himself) was at the house in Windsor Square.

Susanna passed away in 1923, and son J. Benton continued to live with his wife Emily, and family at 357 S. Lorraine Blvd. through 1942. By 1957 he moved to San Marino, and the new owner was Dr. Stuppy, MD. William Stuppy sold in 1998 to Lucy Dahl, daughter of author Roald Dahl.

The house (as of April 2016) is back on the market, offered for $8.9 Million. Below are some recent photos of the exterior (courtesy of Brad Jones):

357 Lorraine -- Driveway Access

357 Lorraine -- Corner Entry

357 Lorraine --  East Portal

More about the residence:
A 2012 Newsletter featuring the house

Thanks to DHM for starting me down the update path on this great house.


4 comments:

  1. The Van Nuys house by Roehrig was moved to 357 Lorraine Blvd in Windsor Square, and it's still there:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?q=357+s+lorraine++los+angeles&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hq=&hnear=0x80c2b89507214f51:0x3ec166094c428972,357+Lorraine+Blvd,+Los+Angeles,+CA+90020&gl=us&ei=ri35TfSNDITo0QHh6ZiSCw&sa=X&oi=geocode_result&ct=image&resnum=1&ved=0CBcQ8gEwAA

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  2. And according to one of those "real estate sites", the house consists of 13 bedrooms and nine bathrooms.

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  3. It was used as home of the family in the modern "Cheaper by the Dozen" remake.

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  4. Wow, after falling in love with that house 20 years ago, and learning soon after that it was moved, today I stumble on this and see it in its original site. God bless The Interwebs!

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