428 West Adams Boulevard


  • Built in 1901 on Lot 12 of Block A of the Treat Tract by real estate operator John Osborn as his own home; a notice of its completion on November 1 appeared in the Herald on December 7, 1901. Osborn had purchased the lot the previous July from William H. Schweppe, a very active St. Louis investor in Los Angeles real estate who was developing lots in the tract. (He had completed and sold the house at 422 West Adams next door that summer)
  • Architect: Unknown; it may have been Lester S. Moore, who had built 422 that year for William H. Schweppe
  • Rented to Dr. Guy Cochran during 1904 as he awaited the completion of his new house on Loma Drive
  • 428 West Adams was occupied by several families over the next 25 years, among them those of civil engineer Edward Johnson and public-school teacher William H. Wagner, who rented from 1914—by which time the house may already have become a duplex—until at least mid-April 1930
  • Starting with the Major Traffic Street Plan of 1924, Los Angeles began to reconfigure and widen streets in all directions out of the downtown core, which would have dire consequences on the West Adams district and its already-fraying single-family nature well before the Harbor Freeway was driven through it in the 1950sFlower Street had ended at West 20th Street, continuing only piecemeal beyond. From the westerly side yard of 428, one could look up the segment of Flower that ran between Adams and West 23rd Street; the house was nearly in the path of what would be, by 1932, an uninterrupted Flower. Only the aforementioned side yard of 428's lot would be taken by eminent domain, however. The house would have to be demolished or moved; as it turned out, the slight westerly curve in Flower's new cut south from Adams left the southerly part of the lot wide enough to allow the house to be moved to its rear. With the city's population more than doubling during the '20s and the rich already moving to westerly neighborhoods of more modern houses, nearly all big single-family residences in the area had been converted to apartments; that 428 had lost its lovely, lush garden was of little importance in the newly dense, practical West Adams. By 1929, the house had been sold to John C. Quinn of Sedalia, Missouri; Quinn had retired as a merchant there earlier in the decade, moving to Los Angeles, where he invested in real estate. He died in March 1929, after which his brother James P. Quin assumed responsibility for his California holdings. On February 25, 1931, J. P. Quinn was issued a permit to push 428 back on its lot. The house was described as being a duplex both before and after the short move. The Quinns had also acquired 422 West Adams next door
  • While the population pressures of the 1920s caused the conversion of large West Adams houses into flats, thereby altering the character of the boulevard, the Depression further reduced the thoroughfare's continuity when commerce appeared. During the '30s and '40s, Mabel I. Robinson operated a beauty parlor on one side the house, listed in city directories at 430 West Adams
  • 428 West Adams had dodged the automobile's bullet once; it would not withstand the coming mammoth successor to the widened and lengthened Flower Street—at least not on its original lot. The southbound lanes of the Harbor/110 Freeway, which would be open to West 42nd Street on March 27, 1956, were being aimed through its parlors. House moves in Los Angeles were not at all uncommon, but 428 would be one of the few that moved a second time. Willard Lee, who owned a lot on West 39th Street, no doubt got the 52-year-old house cheaply; on July 30, 1953, he was issued a permit to move it to Lot 12 of the Crosby Tract, where it would become 1260 West 39th Street. Interestingly, Lee was issued a permit on the same day to move the duplex on Lot 23 of the Lee & Johnson Tract—417/419 West 28th Street, two blocks south of 428 West Adams—to 1260 West 39th as well, where it still sits on the rear of the lot. Though now unrecognizable from the street, the 116-year-old Osborn/Johnson/Wagner house, once at 428 West Adams, sits up front

The house at 428 West Adams was relocated to the
rear of its lot when a southerly extension of Flower Street
was cut through in 1931, claiming a swath of its yard. In 1953,
the house was relocated yet again—this time farther afield, down
to West 39th Street—as the Harbor
/110 Freeway began to extend
toward San Pedro. The house at 500 West Adams was demolished
at the time of the Flower Street cut-through; 414 and 422 were
casualties of the Harbor, seen outlined below. Millions have
driven through one-time living rooms since the highway
opened south of Washington Boulevard in 1956.

The house built at 428 West Adams in 1901 was trucked to a new lot at 1260 West 39th Street 
two miles to the southwest (as the crow flies) in 1953. It remains there today as part of an
apartment complex that includes another former Adams district duplex moved to the
new lot at the same time; 428 is seen above in pink facing the street in 2015.

Illustrations: Library of Congress; GSV