Thursday, January 13, 2011

Almost the End of An Era

After several years of peril from developers, the home known as Orchard Gables, is finally out of danger. Designation as a cultural historic monument has now saved it from the wrecking-ball.

Built in 1904, it sits at a 45-degree angle to the southwest corner of Fountain and Wilcox. With an unusual, asymmetric design, steeply pitched curved gables and clad in wood clapboard, the home is one of the last (if not the last) from Colegrove, a development established by attorney and California Senator, Cornelius Cole.

Serving first in the State House of Representatives and then in the senate, Cole was an anti-slavery advocate and helped keep California in the Union. In fact, he was the attorney for Henry Hancock who, as you have no doubt already guessed, is the namesake for Hancock Park.

Cole received 500 acres from  Hancock as payment for legal services. As the name implies, Colegrove was to be a citrus orchard. In 1880, Cole subdivided the land into 10-acres lots, which he sold, but his influence in the area continued for many years thereafter.

Orchard Gables' past has been touched by many other figures from Los Angeles history. It was first owned by Paul Homan. Mr. Homan hired well-known architect Abbot Kinney, the man responsible for "The Venice of America" or as we now know it, the Venice, CA. At one point, it housed Hollywood's first professional theater, the Orchard Gables Repertory Company.

Remember, Hollywood wasn't always a movie town and there are many more interesting places to read about, so please come back.

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