Saturday, December 29, 2012

Gilbert D. Munson -- 2717 West Eighth Street

Gilbert Dwight Munson (1840-1911) traveled to Southern California in 1900 after a successful career as a judge and lawyer in Ohio. Upon arriving he joined up with local lawyer Henry A. Barclay (who got him admitted to practice law in California) and hung out his shingle as the firm Munson & Barclay, specializing in civil matters in superior court. Coming to L.A. with Gilbert were his wife Lucy (who went by the name Lulu)(d. 1926) and only child Sarah(d. 1911), who married an old flame from Zanesville after returning there to help him heal from a lingering sickness. They came back to California and settled first in Los Angeles before moving to the Santa Barbara area.

L.A. Herald, Oct. 1903
By 1903 things were going well as can be seen by the notice at right in the Los Angeles Herald of a new Munson house to be built out on West 8th St. The $3,700 planned price tag works out to be around $95,000 in today's dollars. It appears that real estate in L.A. was a good bet even then. Houses in the same block today are valued in the $700K range according to Zillow.com.

Sarah and Lulu joined in the society of the times--in one article they were noted as signing up for annual dues to the new Children's Hospital. Other donors included Arthur Letts, Niles Pease, Mrs. W.C. Patterson, and Mrs. Homer Laughlin.

Below--a photo of the house ca. 1910:

The Munson Residence in 1910

Sadly, Gilbert passed away soon after in May, 1911. His law partner Barclay continued his practice after that alone. Then in October another death--daughter Sarah dies, leaving three children with husband Ernest.

Gilbert in 1910
By 1913 Lulu left the house, moving to then Santa Monica, now Brentwood (quite out of town for the day), settling in on Cliffwood Drive. The 8th Street house was then rented for awhile to Moses P. Brown and family, a bookkeeper at the German American Trust and Savings Bank.

Supposedly Ernest came from an upper-class background in Zanesville, but his relationship with Lulu didn't seem to be a great one, as in May, 1913 a judgment against him is posted in the Oxnard Courier followed ten days later by a notice of him transferring a 1/4 interest in a large acreage in the Montecito area.

In 1926 Lulu passed away, and was buried with Gilbert back in Zanesville.  Daughter Sarah, husband Ernest, and their three children were all buried in Santa Barbara.

And the house on West 8th Street?  It disappears from the listings after 1915, and when the area next showed up in a 1951 Sanborn map, the corner east to Hoover including the Munson lot is a commercial L-shaped retail area, as it appears today. And here's a look courtesy of Google:

The "Max" sign is where the house had been.

More Info:
G. D. Munson Biography

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