1661 West Adams Boulevard


  • Built in 1901 on a parcel consisting of the east 50' of Lot 4 and the westerly 30' of Lot 5 of the Westacres Tract by James Mackey Howard, until recently a glass manufacturer living in his native Pittsburg (as the Pennsylvania city was then spelled)
  • On July 1, 1901, the Los Angeles Herald reported that James Howard had bought his Westacres property from tract developer William Fitzherbert West
  • On July 23, 1901, the Herald reported that Howard had hired contractor Gottlieb H. Wahlenmeier to build a two-story dwelling to be completed by October 15
  • In an indication of how early the neighborhood was threatened with commercial development—as well as citywide concern over the proliferation of billboards on vacant lots—Howard was among nearby homeowners who, in the spring of 1907, protested over a large sign placed at the southwest corner of Adams and Normandie advertising the site as a location suitable for a livery stable. The owners considered it a ploy to force them to purchase the parcel at an inflated price
  • Howard's daughter Rebecca was married at 1661 West Adams on January 24, 1911; her husband, William C. Hay, was in the lime and plaster business in Portland as well as in Los Angeles. In an amusing letter to the editor appearing in the Los Angeles Times on July 6, 1912, Hay addressed general complaints of the high cost of living, excoriating those blaming President Taft's tariff policies for the problem. In Hay's opinion, the cause of such complaints was actually consumer extravagance. He contended that Americans were a spoiled lot, spending untold millions on the theater, on stays in "marble and mahogany-finished hotels," on amusement parks and confectionery, on cigars and automobiles, and in "glittering cafés"...and on a "general desire to masquerade with a false front...." Hay's own economy included living for several years with his in-laws
  • Decamping to Burbank, Howard and his family left 1661 in 1917; for several years afterward, the house was rented to Harry P. Taylor, a mine owner and vice-president of the Alfred Pure Ice Cream Company
  • During Taylor's tenancy, 1661 was robbed twice by a notorious "monkey bandit" (a thief adept at scaling walls)
  • Occupying 1661 during 1921 and 1922 was the family of William R. Molony, a physician and surgeon. On July 31, 1921, soon after moving in, one of the Molony's sons, Richard, was killed in an automobile accident at Wilshire and Vermont
  • In subsequent years, the use of 1661 West Adams appears to have alternated between a boarding establishment and a single-family dwelling. On the building permit issued to owner Dr. William H. Hunter on November 14, 1966, one for the removal of the house's original wood siding and its replacement with stucco, 1661 is noted as a single-family dwelling; on April 27, 1967, Dr. Hunter was issued a permit to change the use to include a day-care center. A permit to revert to single-family status was issued on May 27, 1968; one to convert the building to a boarding operation for the mentally ill was issued on May 14, 1969. Today 1661 West Adams appears to be part of a residential care and treatment treatment facility

Illustration: Private Collection