4003 West Adams Boulevard


  • Built in 1909 on Lot 4 in Block 7 of the West Adams Terrace Tract by Judge Thomas L. Winder. On March 28, 1909, the Los Angeles Times reported that Winder's wife Cornelia had contracted to have a two-story, nine-room house erected at West Adams Street and Tenth Avenue, an intersection which at the time was still technically in county rather than city territory; West Adams Terrace was part of lands that would not become part of the City of Los Angeles until the Colegrove Addition was made official on October 27, 1909. Four days before that, the Herald allowed that Winder, who had come west from his native Louisiana in 1887, the year of Southern California's famous railroad boom and bust, had recently moved into the house with his wife Cornelia and their 33-year-old daughter Lou; the Herald reporter noted that "The ladies will be at home to friends on Wednesdays." The Winders' son Jack had died in 1900 at the age of 23 after falling down an elevator shaft in the Lankershim Block, where he worked as a stenographer in his father's law office 
  • The addresses of houses on West Adams Street west of Arlington Avenue were changing as the city realigned itself over the next few years after the annexation of Colegrove and then that of Hollywood in February 1910; its number yet to be determined, the Winder house was listed in its first appearance in the city directory—the 1910 edition—as being on the "ns W Adams 1 W of 10th av." In the 1911 and 1912 issues, its address was 3201 West Adams, conforming to numbering from Main Street, only becoming 4003 in 1913 after realignments caused Adams to lose eight blocks numerically as it crossed Arlington 
  • On March 29, 1911, Lou Winder married businessman Lewis H. Allen at home; after a three-week West Coast honeymoon, the couple moved in with her parents  
  • On August 23, 1911, while chatting with a friend in his law office, still located in the Lankershim Block, Winder accidentally shot himself in his side with a revolver he had bought for protection that morning; he was taken to the hospital to have the bullet removed and appears to have made a full recovery
  • Thomas L. Winder died at 4003 West Adams on June 14, 1912, age 63, after suffering a stroke; the Times reported the next day that about four months before "he was stricken with paralysis and was forced to abandon his profession." Mrs. Winder and the Allens left the house soon after, renting it for two years to wholesale grocer Carl A. Seligman, partner in his father-in-law's firm M A. Newmark & Company
  • It appears that Judge Winder's illness and death may have left his family overextended in terms of real estate; after returning to 4003 for a year or so, his widow and the Allens spent the next several years moving from one rented house to another while continuing to lease 4003 West Adams. In 1916, Mrs. Clara K. Lemon moved in; when her plan to use the house as a girls' school was challenged in a September 1916 lawsuit by Clara Gries, who lived next door at 4015, the frustrated headmistress turned around and sued Cornelia Winder, claiming that Mrs. Winder had condoned her use of the house. Perhaps thinking that a garage would increase the appeal of 4003, Mrs. Winder added one to the lot in the fall of 1917. Before long, however, the property came into the possession of the Los Angeles Trust & Savings Bank. The bank created two bedrooms out of one and leased the house to real estate investor William H. Wise, his wife, and three sons
  • In 1922 came a new owner, Walter E. Seeley, president of the Union Terminal Warehouse Company. On May 2, 1924, the Department of Buildings issued him a permit to add a breakfast room designed by the office of in-demand architect T. Beverley Keim, whose big residential project at the time was William O. Jenkins's 641 South Irving Boulevard. A permit to add another garage, one designed by Keim to, it seems, replace the 1917 building, was issued to Seeley on February 25, 1925
  • Renting 4003 West Adams by early 1929 was C. Warren Smith; the scandalous Beverly Hills murder of his brother-in-law Edward Doheny Jr. was big news in February of that year. Smith was in the employ of Doheny oil interests
  • The Winder house appears to have been occupied only intermittently during the Depression years until it was acquired by the Finnish Lutheran Church of Los Angeles in 1940. By mid 1968, the church had moved to South Bonnie Brae Street
  • Owners of 4003 West Adams since the departure of the Finnish Lutheran Church have included Ezra L. Meshack, who on September 25, 1980, was issued a permit by the Department of Building and Safety to apply stucco to the exterior of the house. This work may have been a restoration of a previous coating of the material over, say, clapboard, but, at any rate, whatever texture and character the house may have had when it was built has been lost

Illustration: Private Collection