3115 West Adams Boulevard


Perhaps its new day will come some day, but the whimsical "Italian Gothic" house built in 1904 for music dealer James T. Fitzgerald remains the subject of much discussion among those interested in old West Adams architecture—but little action in terms of all-out restoration. More darkly Victorian than modern, despite the general passing of the old style by 1904 and architect Joseph Cather Newsom's liberal application of then-fashionable clinker brick, the house was built just within what was at the time the western city limits of Los Angeles. A building permit was issued to Fitzgerald's wife during the first week of March 1904; the couple was in residence by early the next year. Perhaps it was the intrusion of a porchclimber on November 18, 1907—though this perpetrator simply entered through the front door rather than shimmy up a column—perhaps it was dissatisfaction with the charming though undoubtedly dark house, but the Fitzgeralds left 3115 after less than five years. After a stop in a rented house in South Pasadena, the couple bought Effie Neustadt's much, much grander pile four blocks east on Adams at 2445 South Western Avenue—light-filled and only a year old. 

By 1911, not long before it was renumbered after annexation-related address changes caused eight blocks of Adams to vanish numerically, what was redesignated 3115 came to be occupied by James C. Haggarty, son of clothier J. J. Haggarty, who would be building his famous "Castle York" across the street at 3330 Adams in 1912. Young Haggarty stayed until 1934, by which time the bloom was definitely off the West Adams rose. (The declining fortunes of 3115, reflecting those of the neighborhood, can be found here.) While it still stands, the house seems unlikely to ever be what it was during its first two decades; even if apparent demolition by neglect is halted and it is restored to glory, the once-salubrious streetscape of the grandest stretch of the boulevard is unlikely to ever recover aesthetically.

While just a shadow here, the house appeared during construction in the Los Angeles Times
on July 3, 1904. The contrast between the gloomy 3115 West Adams and the Fitzgeralds'
second house on the street, at the northwest corner of Western Avenue, could not
be more stark. Architecturally, Southern California was rapidly moving away
from the Victorian profile Joseph Cather Newsom was well known for.

Illustrations: Private Collection; LAT