2146 West Adams Boulevard


  • On October 28, 1901, the Los Angeles Times reported that a building permit for a two-story, six-room residence at 2146 West Adams Street had been issued to real estate investor Grace E. Wells, who placed the finished house on the market in the spring of 1902; no architect was specified. Newspaper advertisements offering the house appeared at least until the middle of July
  • Having moved recently from Chicago with her daughter and son-in-law, Dr. an Mrs. Elbert Wing, Eliza W. Halliday purchased 2146 West Adams, with property comprised of Lots 1 and 22 of Block 1 of the Boulevard Tract, as part of a family investment scheme; at the same time, the Wings were buying four adjacent lots in the same tract from which two buildings would be removed to build 2156 West Adams in 1903. The total family parcel had 128 feet of frontage on Adams and sloped 255 feet down to New Orleans Street (now West 26th Place) and was near the beginning of Adams Street's westerly run atop the edge of a northerly plateau. The southerly views in this section were giving rise to in-town estates beyond Arlington Avenue
  • Eliza W. Halliday was the widow of William Parker Halliday, a one-time riverboat captain whose vast business enterprises in river and rail transportation, mining, and banking had built up Cairo, Iliinois. The couple was reportedly separated at the time of his death in Chicago on September 22, 1899; apparently cut out of his will, Eliza sued for and won her dower rights to one-third of his estate, thus establishing her investment kitty
  • The Los Angeles Herald reported on June 6, 1909, that Mrs. Halliday had hired Pasadena architect George J. Webster to design a 14-room "Old English" style house, with a shingled exterior, for her property on Adams Street. If she did not already own Lot A of Tract 164, adjacent the Boulevard Tract lots on which 2146 West Adams stood, she had now acquired it to accommodate the proposed larger new house. This design may have originally been intended, as suggested by permits issued on March 25, to replace the 1901 house, which would have been moved elsewhere. Either the June 6 report of what appears to be a description of outright replacement of 2146 was in error, or plans were altered, but on November 8, 1909, the Department of Buildings issued a permit allowing for a 16-by-26-foot addition to the original house, this new easterly wing being designed by George Webster. The house would now straddle lots in two different tracts. Only a rear shed may have been removed from Mrs. Halliday's property; it was replaced with a new 20-by-28-foot garage designed by Webster, the building permit for which was issued on January 11, 1910
  • After her husband died on May 8, 1916, Charlotte Wing sold 2156 West Adams and moved into 2146 with her mother and a younger sister, Mary
  • In 1919, Eliza Halliday hired Davis & Davis (F. Pierpont Davis, Walter S. Davis, and Henry F. Withey) to build a new house at 316 Adelaide Drive in Santa Monica; she moved there with her daughters the next year and died at age 88 on February 9, 1930
  • The next owner of 2146 West Adams would be Ralph Cook Scott and his wife, née Annie Simpson, who had moved recently from Beatrice, Nebraska. They had been married in Philadelphia in 1918. Scott is listed in various records as a mortician, furniture salesman, manufacturers' agent, life insurance salesman, and freelance investor. The funds for the latter occupation may have come from his wife: Unusually, the owner cited on a building permit to add a bathroom, among other changes, issued on July 17, 1923, is "Miss Anna [sic] Simpson." In the city directory of that year, and for the next several years, she was listed similarly, with her husband listed separately. The Scotts, who did not have any children, would remain at 2146 into the 1940s before moving to San Francisco
  • Between 1940 and the mid 1980s, 2146 West Adams was officially classified as a single-family dwelling, apparently escaping the pattern of most large West Adams houses by serving as multi-unit housing
  • In the 1987 Los Angeles city directory, 2146 is listed as being occupied by the California Association of Alcohol Recovery Homes. The house's higher purpose appears to have been nearly circumvented by the Department of Building and Safety's issuance of demolition permits for the house and garage to an entity known as the E E & S Development Corporation on August 8, 1989
  • Now known as the Wells-Halliday House, 2146 West Adams was adopted as Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #458 on November 3, 1989
  • The house was spared by the new owner, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, with only the garage being razed in 1990 to make way for additions to the facility over the next few years. The complex was dedicated as the Carl Bean AIDS Care Center on September 21, 1992, by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the Black Los Angeles AIDS Commission, and the Minority AIDS Project. The facility is still open today
  • In 1993, the Los Angeles Conservancy bestowed upon the owners of 2146 an award for the renovation and adaptive reuse of the Wells-Halliday house as an AIDS hospice

Illustration: Private Collection/Homes and Gardens of the Pacific Coast, Vol II, Los Angeles