1575 West Adams Boulevard


  • Built in 1908 on Lot  2 in Block D of the Adams Street Tract by developer G. Frank Sloan
  • On September 2, 1908, the Department of Buildings issued Frank Sloan a permit to build a two-story, eight-room house on the site budgeted at $2,900. (In February 1907, Frank Sloan had begun building 1581 West Adams next door to the west of 1575; in the summer of 1907, he built 1571 next door to the east)
  • The first owner of 1575 West Adams was mining engineer and real estate investor David W. Shanks. Living with Shanks and his wife Fannie between a divorce and remarriage was her son of a previous husband, John Cartmell (called Jack), who had discarded his father's surname (Clark) and taken his stepmother's maiden name. After Fannie Shanks died at home on May 26, 1912, David Shanks moved to San Francisco, where he was living at the Empire Hotel—made famous 18 years later in Vertigo—when he died in 1940
  • On August 9, 1911, the Department of Buildings issued David W. Shanks a permit to add a screen porch to the house
  • Ownership of 1575 West Adams after the departure of David Shanks until 1917 is unclear; occupying the house between 1912 and 1917 were physician Pinckney French and his wife Lucy, followed by Isadore Goldstein, an assistant cashier at the Los Angeles Examiner. Dr. French's brother-in-law, Dr. John S. Potts—at one time they had practiced together in San Francisco—died at 1575 West Adams on February 9, 1913
  • Romanian-born Morris Rappaport, successively a clothing merchant, furniture manufacturer, and citrus grower, owned 1575 West Adams by 1917, moving in with his wife Amelia and three daughters. (Amelia and the couple's eldest daughter, Lillian, had been born in Romania, Rose and Tessie in California.) On July 31, 1917, a Times headline read "Suspicious. Arson Plot Laid to a Clothier. Fire Trap Discovered in Ceiling of Store." Rappaport was arrested at his haberdashery at 102 South Main Street and taken to City Jail after police were tipped off that a crime was planned; Rappaport claimed he was set up. The case does not seem to have been further reported, but Rappaport "retired" from the clothing business the next year, his entire stock being auctioned off on August 1, 1918. He moved on to producing furniture. His brother-in-law, Herman Robinson, had opened Robinson's Furniture Manufacturing Company that year, in 1921 greatly expanding his factory on Santa Fe Avenue between 15th and 16th streets. Two years later, Rappaport teamed with Frank Soronow, another department-store-furniture manufacturer—the local industry was quite large—to form Soronow & Rappaport. This partnership was short-lived, with Rappaport then trying his hand at citrus-growing in Riverside County. His family retained 1575 as a city residence. By the spring of 1930, Morris and Amelia were living in Temescal, though they were enumerated in the federal census of that year at both of their residences
  • On May 14, 1921, the Herald reported that an electric iron had caused a small fire at 1575 West Adams
  • Occupying 1575 West Adams full time in the spring of 1930 were two of the Rappaports' daughters and their families: Lillie, divorced from sign-painter Clarence Zirker, and her son Irving Zirker, and Tessie and her husband Morris Goldsmith, a structural engineer, and their son Jerrald King Goldsmith, who had been born on February 10, 1929
  • Jerrald King Goldsmith would become better known as Jerry Goldsmith, the celebrated and prolific composer and conductor known for his work in film and television. His seemingly uncountable list of work includes, for television, music for Playhouse 90, The Twilight Zone, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, Room 222, Barnaby Jones, and The Waltons and for film, Lonley Are the Brave, Freud, Seven Days in May, A Patch of Blue, In Harm's Way, The Blue Max, The Sand Pebbles, The Trouble With Angels, Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon, The Omen, Logan's Run, Alien, the Star Trek franchise, Basic Instinct, and Seabiscuit. In terms of Los Angeles–themed movies, Goldsmith scored L.A. Confidential and, famously, composed the elegiac music of Chinatown in just 10 days.

The forlorn but still standing house at 1575 West Adams Boulevard, now over 120 years old, was the
first home of one of Hollywood's—and American music's—most famous composers. A lifelong
Angeleno, Goldsmith attended Susan Miller Dorsey High School, U.S.C., and Los Angeles
City College and died at home on North Palm Drive, Beverly Hills, July 21, 2004.

  • The Rappaports, Goldsmiths, and Lillie and Irving Zirker left 1575 West Adams by early 1932. The Goldsmiths moved to a new house at 3714 Lorado Way in View Park
  • On December 15, 1932, the Department of Building and Safety issued Milton Lowenstein a permit to repair damage caused by fire. Lowenstein maintained 1575 West Adams as income property. The 1933 city directory lists a lunchroom at the address run by Fred and Mary Winslow, though this operation appears to have been short-lived. Renting the house for the balance of the 1930s was furniture finisher Serapio Huerta and his wife Amelia. The Huertas had seven children, among whom was Amelia Jr., who lived at home with her husband Felizardo Escalante, a tire-store employee
  • On April 18, 1940, the Department of Building and Safety issued Milton Lowenstein a permit for termite-damage repairs to 1575 West Adams; on July 18, 1940, Lowenstein was issued a certificate of occupancy for the conversion of the house into what was classified as a "sanitarium," which he had begun advertising that spring as a "lovely home for the aged, with a nurse's care, rates $35 a month and up"
  • Milton Lowenstein truncated his family's name to "Low" between 1940 and 1942; how long he may have owned 1575 West Adams is unclear. It is also unclear as to how long the home for the aged may have stayed in operation, but the house appears to have accommodated multiple occupants over the years. Interestingly, 1575 has remained intact, if not well maintained, even as its two immediate neighbors acquired front-yard commercial additions as properties in the blocks of Adams Boulevard between Vermont and Western avenues began to turn from residential use, reflecting the decline of the West Adams corridor, beginning as early as the late 1920s
  • Gilbert M. Culton had acquired 1571 West Adams next door in 1937; he built a front-yard commercial addition to the house and moved his business, Properities Maintenance Company, into it from Venice Boulevard. (Properties Maintenance specialized in building repairs and in the control of termites, beetles, and fungus.) Culton and his company remained at 1571 until the late '50s, after which the business migrated next door to 1575, remaining for a few years
  • On May 29, 1973, the Los Angeles Times reported that an intruder entering the rear of 1575 West Adams had been shot and killed by John Cottle, a 24-year-old resident of the house

Illustrations: Private Collection; Paramount Pictures