4015 West Adams Boulevard


  • Built in 1911 on a parcel comprised of Lot 3 and the east half of Lot 2 in Block 7 of the West Adams Terrace Tract by Clara Collins Teague Gries. The house's initial address was 3323 West Adams Street; annexation-related street-name and address alterations resulted in the immediate numbering, with West Adams Street jumping from its 2200 block to its 3100 block as it crossed Arlington Avenue
  • Architect: Arthur B. Benton
  • Clara Gries was the widow of Jacob K. Gries, a California pioneer and prominent Ventura County landowner; he died in Los Angeles on New Year's Day 1903. The Grieses had married in 1897 after the death four years before of her first husband Milton Dana Teague not long after the Teagues had arrived in California from Maine via Kansas. Later in 1897, Mrs. Gries's son, Charles Collins Teague, was married to Harriet McKevett, daughter of Charles H. McKevett, who had arrived in Santa Paula in January 1886, becoming one of the biggest poo-bahs in Ventura County. In addition to land development and oil interests, he was a leading citrus rancher, having been a founder of the fabled Limoneira Company in 1893, when in partnership with Nathan W. Blanchard and Wallace L. Hardison—who was a brother of Clara Gries's mother—he bought as a start 413 acres from none other than Jacob K. Gries. The ties of the Hardisons, McKevetts, and Teagues and their influence over citrus production for the world market only tightened when C. C. Teague (as he was known) became the general manager of Limoneira in 1901. (Teague later became chairman of Sunkist)

The citrus powerhouse Teague McKevett was an amalgam of business interests and social ties

  • On July 23, 1911, the Los Angeles Times reported that Mrs. Gries's new house was to be built on a parcel "immediately adjoining on the east the beautiful mansion designed by Mr. Benton for A. S. McKevett," a reference to Alice Stowell McKevett—the widow of Charles H. McKevett—whose house at 4025 West Adams was being built at the time of the paper's announcement. The Times went on to describe the Gries house as one of "eleven rooms, exclusive of servants' quarters and large sleeping porches. It will be of the Spanish Renaissance type [as was the McKevett house] with plastered exterior and tile roof. A feature will be an unusually large entrance porch with columns and a balustrade. The interior finish will be in hardwoods throughout. The house is to contain in all five artistic mantels, each designed along a different line. The unusually large living-room will open off the main reception hall from the left, and the dining-room and library will be situated at the right. The interior decoration is to be artistic and ornate." On July 22, the Los Angeles Herald reported that Mrs. Gries and Mrs. McKevett had been jointly issued a building permit to build a garage that would straddle their property line (the center line of Lot 2)
  • Mrs. Gries and Mrs. McKevett would both be moving to Adams Street from Menlo Avenue, where the latter rented after her husband died in Santa Paula in 1907 and where Mrs. Gries owned a house she occupied with her daughter Madge and her husband Moses Hodge Ross, an obstetrician. It is unclear as to why, other than each having a great deal of money to spend, the ladies felt the need to build such grand houses; at any rate, their timing was poor in terms of putting up such statement houses. The neighborhood might have seemed the match for any expensive development in Los Angeles at the time, but it happened that both Windsor Square and Fremont Place opened in 1911 and were just two subdivisions along the Wilshire Corridor that would be among those that would begin to drain the West Adams District of its most affluent residents
  • On October 19, 1916, the Department of Buildings issued a permit to Mrs. Gries to make an addition to the west porch of 4015, for which she recalled the office of Arthur B. Benton to design; nine years later, what was now the Department of Building and Safety issued several permits that in some ways acknowledged the changing demographics of West Adams Street, all along which big houses were being converted into multi-unit dwellings. On September 15, 1925, Mrs. Gries was authorized to make large additions to the house, one of two stories at the northwest corner measuring 22 by 30 feet and another of the same height at the southwest corner measuring 8 by 24 feet. Mrs. Gries and her widowed elder daughter Zoa Teague Vale would now be the occupants of 4011 West Adams while her younger daughter and son-in-law, the Rosses, would be moving into 4015. Dr. Ross added a second garage to the property in 1926
  • Clara Gries died of cancer at 4011 West Adams on May 10, 1935, age 86     
  • Still living at 4015 West Adams, Madge Teague Ross died in Los Angeles on January 16, 1951. Dr. Ross remained at 4015 until not long before his death on January 12, 1962. His obituary in the Times three days later described him as having come to California in 1903 as a quarantine officer for the U. S. Public Health Service, some months before marrying Madge, going into private practice in 1906. While the October 1961 Los Angeles city directory listed him as living in the house, it appears that Dr. Ross had struck a deal to sell 4011/4015 by that time, resulting in the house actually going down before he did; on November 20, 1961, the Department of Building and Safety issued developer Joseph Stabler a permit to demolish the 50-year-old house, with a permit for the current 26-unit apartment that replaced it being issued the day before Dr. Ross died. The McKevett house next door at 4025 West Adams, construction on which began just a month or two before 4015 was started in 1911, would be coming down within a month or two after 4015 was demolished—Joseph Stabler had acquired it as well and was issued a permit on February 27, 1962, for its replacement with a second 26-unit building, also still standing

Ads for the apartments that Joseph Stabler originally called the Adams West appeared in the
Los Angeles Sentinel during 
the summer of 1962. The Santa Monica Freeway was then
being rammed through central Los Angeles, infamously walling off the West Adams
district from the Wilshire-corridor neighborhoods to which Los Angeles's affluent
had begun to migrate as early the 1910s. Beverly Hills got off to a start in
1906; Windsor Square and Fremont Place opened in 1911, Hancock
Park in 1920, along with dozens of other tracts on the Westside,
in East Hollywood, and in the wide San Fernando Valley.

Illustrations: Private Collection; LAS