512 West Adams Boulevard


  • Built in 1898 as the rectory of St. John's Episcopal Church on Lot 8 in Block A of the Treat Tract
  • Architect: Eisen & Hunt (Theodore A. Eisen and Sumner P. Hunt)
  • The Reverends Benjamin Walter Rogers Tayler, Lawrence B. Ridgley, Lewis Gouverneur Morris, George Davidson, and Ray Holder and their families occupied the rectory during its 58 years
  • The Department of Building and Safety issued a demolition permit for 512 West Adams on June 7, 1956. The site became, and remains, a parking lot
  • As of yet no clear photographic images or drawings of the rectory of St. John's have surfaced

The house at 512 West Adams, hiding behind the palm tree at top, reveals more of itself in a
view circa 1932. To its left is 508 West Adams, at the time an annex of the U.S.C. School
of Music; in 1945 it was moved to 127 East Adams Boulevard, where stands today.

The third sanctuary of St. John's Episcopal Church opened
in 1924, replacing the original of 1890, seen below after its second
enlargement and remodeling in 1896. (The 1896 church was moved 52
blocks south, where 
it survived until 1993.) A glimpse of the 1898 rectory at
 West Adams appears above at left; at the corner of Figueroa and Adams, out
of view at right, was the Parish Hall, which was the renovation of a house moved
from 1007 West Adams Street in 1905. The earlier incarnations of the church
reflected the bucolic streetscape of the Adams district before its roads
were paved and sidewalks installed, transforming it into suburbia.

Similar views of St. John's offer slivers of the church rectory;
sometime after 1924, possibly with alterations in 1932, the house
gained a fireplace and chimney at its southwest corner. Since demolition
in 1956, its site has served as a parking lot. The 1924 sanctuary, designed
by the architect brothers Walter S. and F. Pierpont Davis, is often cited as one
of the most beautiful and significant buildings in Los Angeles; while its original ver-
dant streetscape has long been lost—St. John's is just at the west edge of the 110
freeway—it seems odd that there has been no attempt to beautify the grounds
with at least, perhaps, tall hedges to its left and right to conceal the parking
lot and the large Mobil service station now on the Figueroa corner. Seen
below at the right edge is the red roof of a wing of the Automobile
club of Southern California, opened in 1923, which began the
transformation of the district from its residential years.

Illustrations: Private Collection; National ArchivesLAPLMott Studios/Calisphere