1180 West Adams Boulevard


The curious placement of this house suggested at first that it may have originally faced a side lane called West Adams Gardens—except that there was no such street cut through until the apartment complex by that name was built well after the appearance of the delicate 1180 West Adams Boulevard, much of the charm of which remains intact if mostly hidden. As it turns out, the house was shoehorned onto Lot 1 of the Niles Tract soon after the Department of Buildings issued a relocation permit on June 10, 1912, having been brought over from its original site across the street and just east, where it had been built as 1151 West Adams Street 11 years before. It was a spec project there, one of three dwellings (along with 1131 and 1141) put up by real estate operator Leonard Merrill on his small triangular Adams Street Tract. Merrill hired prominent architects Oliver Dennis and Lyman Farwell to design 1151; it had several occupants at that address before being moved by Maude Rice Ibbetson.

As seen and described in the Los Angeles Herald on April 18, 1901

The narrow lot of 1180 appears to have been part of the original parcel of 1190 West Adams, completed next door in 1900 by Mrs. Ibbetson and her then husband, Robert Edwin Ibbetson, a real estate power couple of the time. Personal relations between the Ibettsons soured even before the birth of their third child in July 1906; while he got the decree, his wife got 1190 in the couple's acrimonious divorce in 1911 (she said he was overly attentive to other ladies, he said certainly not). Maude continued wheeling and dealing in real estate on her own, acquiring 1151 and trundling it over to her side yard, positioning its former east side to face north toward Adams. Maude Ibbetson moved into 1180 and rented 1190 for a few years; there appears to have then been a brief reconciliation with "R. E.", as he was often styled in press reports. The reunion was unsuccessful—not surprisingly, given the charges and counter-charges in court documents—with court battles over child-custody and support issues continuing as late as 1921 (there would be other, property-related litigation between the battling Maude and Edwin as late as 1928). Apparently having sold 1180, Maude was back living at 1190 by 1921, remaining there until the 1940s. R. E. appears to have had an easier time moving on; he married Anna Thornton on July 17, 1922, their twins arriving nine months to the day later. A second son came along in February 1925.

Both 1180 West Adams—née 1151—and 1190 still stand, a famous Moreton Bay fig tree between them.

It is difficult to find good angles from which to appreciate the delicate
features of what is now 1180 West Adams Boulevard, with its original Adams-
facing façade up against the side of a building built to its east seven years after it
was moved. A recent aerial view reveals that though time-worn, 1180 remains
much as when built in 1901. Below: Some detail of what started out as
the front of the house is seen through the street from Adams.

Illustrations: Private Collection; LAT; GSV