3701 West Adams Boulevard


  • Completed in 1924 on Lot 9, Block 1, of the Adams Street Arlington Heights Tract. On November 15, 1923, the Department of Buildings issued permits for 3701 and its garage to Marie Lichtenberger, wife of Louis Lichtenberger, president of the Lichtenberger-Ferguson Company, a saddlery and—keeping up with the times—an automotive-tire distributor. (Louis Lichtenberger's father, another Louis, arrived in Los Angeles in 1863 and became a local carriage manufacturer.) Mrs. Lichtenberger was a daughter of Louise Denker of 3820 West Adams and a sister of Antoinette Lichtenberger, who was married to Louis's brother George, vice-president of Lichtenberger-Ferguson
  • Architect per the original building permit: Emmet G. Martin; Martin was at the time chief draftsman in the design firm of his brother, Albert Carey Martin. A. C. Martin was licensed to practice architecture in California in 1908 and the firm he founded that year is still in business today as AC Martin Partners, Inc.
  • Marie and Louis Lichtenberger died seven months apart in 1938, Marie at home at 3701 West Adams on February 23, Louis on September 26. Both funerals were held from 3701, with Marie's mass at St. Agnes at Adams and Vermont and Louis's at St. Paul's at Washington and Bronson. They are buried at Calvary Cemetery
  • By mid-January 1939, at least one room in the 14-year-old house, which would have been much more valuable by 1938 had it been built in Hancock Park or Windsor Square (where it would almost certainly not have been subject to having rooms rented out), was being advertised as available for a monthly fee, "board optional." In October 1943, the house was for sale per classified ads in the Times: "12 rm. Furn 5 bedroom 3½ bath. Lovely garden....." It is not known who owned 3701 at this juncture, if not Louis Lichtenberger's estate; any other ownership prior to that of businessman Simon P. Johnson, who appears to have acquired 3701 circa 1950, is unclear 
  • Simon P. Johnson was unable to enjoy his new house for long. He died at 3701 West Adams on March 2, 1951, age 75. Johnson, an Emporia, Kansas, native, had come to Los Angeles at the turn of the century and in 1917 was a founder of the Conner-Johnson Funeral Home. When the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, later famous for its Paul Williams–design headquarters at Adams and Western, was organized in 1925, Johnson was among the first directors
  • Daisy Johnson remained at 3701 following her husband's death and would continue the operation of Conner-Johnson for another 12 years. Whatever its prior use as a multi-unit dwelling, the house officially became a duplex in 1957. On May 27 of that year, the Department of Building and Safety issued Mrs. Johnson a permit to make several alterations creating a second entrance, one addressed 2543 Seventh Avenue. On May 10, 1960, she was issued a permit to enlarge a bedroom. Her sister, the artist Alice Taylor Gafford, was living at 3701 during the early 1960s
  • On May 15, 1965, Daisy Johnson married actor and comedian Wonderful Smith, well-known as a cast member of Red Skelton's early radio shows along with Ozzie and Harriet Nelson as well as for many other appearances. After Daisy died on October 13, 1974, Mr. Smith remained at 3701 until late in life. Conservators of his interests replaced the roof in 2005; Wonderful Smith died at the age of 97 on August 28, 2008
  • The Lichtenberger/Johnson/Smith house, once again a single-family residence, was sold in 2010 for $880,000; it has been reported that during escrow, all of its original lighting fixtures were stolen

Illustration: Private Collection