931 West Adams Boulevard

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  • Built in 1908 by Thomas Phillips Newton, president of the United Casting Company; the Department of Buildings issued him a permit for a 10-room house to be built on a parcel comprised of the southerly 118 feet of Lots 122, 123, and the westerly half of Lot 124 of the Ellis Tract 
  • Architect: Henry M. Patterson. The contractor was the Pasadena firm of Dawson & Daniels
  • Thomas P. Newton had married divorcée Jennie Bonsall Jauch on June 11, 1902. He was 55 and she just shy of her 30th birthday. She had previously married Dr. Joseph W. Jauch in November 1895; divorcing him in a closed-door trial on the grounds of cruelty and desperation in November 1899, she returned to live with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. William H. Bonsall, who at the time were building 1315 West Adams Street
  • Per the Los Angeles Times of July 14, 1902, the Newtons immediately bought and moved into the William W. Cockins house at 2653 South Hoover, an extant Queen Anne–style house considered a landmark of local Victorian architecture. They remained there until moving just around the corner to 931 West Adams 
  • In 1912, the Newtons hired Henry Patterson to add a garden pavilion; an addition to the garage was also made that year. Patterson was hired to add an upstairs bathroom in 1916
  • Thomas Phillips Newton died at 931 West Adams on November 14, 1922, age 75
  • On October 9, 1939, Mrs. Newton was issued a permit by the Department of Building and Safety to repair fire damage to the garage. Remaining at 931 West Adams into the mid 1940s, she died in Los Angeles on January 29, 1955, age 82
  • In its issue of February 13, 1950, U.S.C.'s Daily Trojan featured an image of 931 West Adams Boulevard accompanied by an article stating that the Zeta Delta Zeta chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha, the charter of which advanced from colony to fraternity status at U.S.C. in October 1948, had acquired the house and was making repairs in preparation for a housewarming in March, moving from West 30th Street.
  • The Department of Building and Safety issued a permit on September 17, 1951, officially changing the occupancy status of 931 to "fraternity house." On July 30, 1953, a permit was issued to remodel the upstairs baths, including in one the installation of the requisite urinal. In other waterworks, and what must have been one of the only of its kind among U.S.C. Greek societies, a permit of June 11, 1959, authorized an 18-by-44-foot side-yard swimming pool
  • Lambda Chi Alpha remained at 931 West Adams through the 1963-1964 school term as plans were underway to redevelop the property; in September 1964, when Tau Epsilon Phi had its charter jerked after a stag party and was ordered to vacate its house at 745 West 28th Street, the Lambdas found a new home 
  • On September 21, 1964, the Department of Building and Safety issued a building permit to an entity known as Adport—apparently a company belonging to Beverly Hills attorney Robert Felixson—for a three-story apartment building on the site of 931 West Adams. Though not listed specifically as the designer, the prominent Israeli architect Ben-Ali Shulman, who signed the document, appears to have planned the proposed 56-unit complex. The permit expired and it was not built. Demolition permits for the Newton house and garage were nevertheless issued to Felixson in April 1965. It appears that the bulldozing took place soon after, with the lot remaining empty until the current structure, a three-story, 38-unit apartment house designed by Leon Gluckman, was built by U.S.C., which had acquired the corner. A permit for it was issued on February 20, 1979



The Los Angeles Times
 featured 931 West Adams, along with its
easterly neighbor, #919, in its real estate section on August 1, 1909.
Its similarity to the Randolph Miners' 649 West Adams gave rise to a rumor
reported in the Times that Mrs. Miner was so incensed that the Newtons had
copied her house that she left town. Of course, neither the emulation nor the
huffing off were true; there were dozens upon dozens of similar designs
built across Los Angeles during the aughts. Below: A later closeup
reveals the fire escape installed once 931 became a fraternity.





U.S.C.'s Daily Trojan illustrated its story of the acquisition of
931 West Adams by Lambda Chi Alpha in its February 13, 1950, issue
with the image above. A housewarming was planned for the next month.
A trophy was awarded to the fraternity for the most humorous display during
the U.S.C. Greeks' fifth annual Christmas House Decoration contest in
1959. Mad magazine was perhaps at the height of its popularity.



A drawing of each fraternity and sorority house appeared in the 1954 El Rodeo, U.S.C.'s yearbook





Illustrations: Private Collection; LAT;  USCDL