|A postcard of the house in a 1905 photo|
Here is how the L.A. Herald described the house.
"Across the west front and along the sides of the two-story residence is a wide veranda bordered with columns and arcade effects. The first floor has a wide reception hall, a large living room, a dining room and breakfast-room, and at the rear of the living room is the conservatory, also a den, a diningroom [sic] and the usual conveniences for home life.
"On the second floor are six large bedrooms, with dressingrooms and baths. From the second floor a broad stairway leads to the roof garden. The residence is supplied with furnace heat and a private gas plant."
|A 1901 receipt from Hoegee|
(courtesy of A. Hoegee & Sons)
In March, 1907 a series of small weekly ads appeared in the Herald. They were all similar in character and style, and mentioned of lectures by a Dr. Leon Elbert Landone (1857-1945), "an English scientist and brain building specialist." He was beginning a "course of three lectures on Awakening Man's Dormant Brain Centers and Unconscious Possibilities. ", speaking each Thursday and Monday throughout that Spring at the Auspices Metaphysical library, 611 Grant bldg., course ticket $1.00, single admission 50 cents. He also advertises other lectures, including The Works of Luther Burbank, Do We Know Just What the Soul Is?, and Cosmic Consciousness. Those small, classified ads were the very first mention of Dr. Landone. Searches of earlier publications in California and other states, as well as census records failed to turn up a Dr. Landone, or a Leon or Brown Landone, in either the U.S., Canada, or England.
|Another photo of the Hoegee Mansion|
|A close-up of the house from the photo above|
The lectures must have been a success, as he took them on the road, resulting in multiple mentions in local papers. By November he had shifted gears, speaking of the value of Luther Burbank's new spineless cactus, which would provide great fodder for cattle. Next month he was back in L.A. touting his new spineless cactus diet, which was based on a new cactus variety (and for which he had purchased ownership rights to). He received notice in the papers on this in both San Francisco and the Imperial Valley. A third article mentioned his plan to climb Mt. Wilson as exercise while on the diet, as he had kept all his energy.
His fame expanded. In January, 1908 he spoke as an invited science lecturer to a meeting of the Ebell Club of Los Angeles, speaking on the topic Individual development through vibratory processes--tone, color, electricity and thought.
Then in May, 1908 came the big announcement.
Making two consecutive days with front page headlines, Landone announced his purchase of the Hoegee Residence, including the acreage, for his great experiment in a "proposed school of evolution and institute of child culture. Children will be selected from various centers throughout the United States, and these will be used as the subjects for evolutionary experiment." He was further quoted "[These children] will be simply the examples of the best physical body combined with the best mental qualifications", while purposefully disavowing the use of "artificial marriages". He mentioned his independent study abroad "for years, at such institutions as Padua, the University of Paris, at two or three English institutions of learning" and went on to state "what was of more value to me than all the rest combined [was my] three months of study under Herbert Spencer."
In January, 1909 it was announced that Dr. Landone had returned from his trip back east, and selected twelve children "upon whom to apply his theories of race development through the improvement of the individual." It was also announced that Dr. Landone had personally assisted in the selection of tints for the bedrooms in the extensive remodel of the house.
|Dr. Landone in 1910|
(photo very similar to the 1908 one in the Herald)
But he did not marry, for in 1910, the federal census noted Dr. Landone as single, and living in the house at 2054 Holly Avenue with a housekeeper, a gardener, a chauffeur, and a maid. His occupation was recorded as general lecturer, age 52, born in Canada, father born in Wisconsin, and mother born in New York.
And for the Burdette book of 1910, he is more than a "general lecturer", he is now degreed with an A.M., M.D. PhD. Usually below the photo of an entry in the book there would be a short biography, showing the background, schooling, work experience, and typically the spouse of the entrant. Interesting reading, though, for Dr. Landone's entry. Past locations for him are non-existent. He is noted, however, as being "Executive Secretary International Committee of New Educational Movement and President Institute of Applied Science and Art." No mention of where his degrees are from, however.
|The house in its 1910 glory|
By 1940 Brown Landone had moved to Winter Park, Florida, and was noted as a health author in that year's census. He passed away in 1945, and is buried in Palm Cemetery in Winter Park.
After 1911 the house's residents become fuzzy. With the large property surrounding the house, the resident pool was no doubt small. By 1919 the house had changed addresses, becoming 2124 North Commonwealth, and in 1923 it was occupied by Hollywood director Maurice Tourneur. The next recorded mention of the property was a sale in 1927 by John H. Fisher, a noted real estate investor, to the Bank of Italy, who subdivided the acreage. The main house area was purchased by Phillip and Frances Hunt in 1927, and the Hoegee house was demolished to make way for a new residence. (Others have made statements that Tourneur built the current residence.) In 1928 the house, now known as The Cedars, was inhabited by actress Madge Bellamy, who interestingly was the star of a Maurice Tourneur film of 1922, entitled Lorna Doone. Two early photos of the much larger house seem to be available on the web. One is shown below.
|courtesy of michaelgankerich.wordpress.com|
Following Ms. Bellamy's stay it has been the home of multiple business persons and Hollywood personalities, culminating with Sue Wong, fashion designer, who purchased the property around 2004 and restored it.
With the assistance of Sanborn maps and today's technology, it is possible to view the acreage change from 1919 to 1950. Cedarhurst Circle outlines the hill.
|Animated map showing from Landone Park to The Cedars|
Further reading on Brown Landone
A few books written/published by Dr. Landone
Los Feliz Improvement Assn. document on the property (new link)
Developer Xorin Balbes video--owner who sold to Wong
The Cedars video with Sue Wong (2008)
Movieland Directory's idea of former residents (of the Cedars)