2615 Ellendale Place


  • Built in 1916 on a parcel comprised of Lots 5 and 6 of the Ellendale Place Tract by retired industrialist Frank Page Bacon
  • On June 15, 1916, the Department of Buildings issued to F. P. Bacon—then living nearby at 1452 West 29th Street—a permit for a sprawling 1½-story, 72-by-41-foot residence at the southwest corner of Adams Street (as the Boulevard was then known) and Ellendale Place. The designer and contractor was the De Luxe Building Company of Los Angeles. The address indicated on the permit is 2601 Ellendale Place; by the time of completion, the address became, and remains, 2615
  • 2615 Ellendale Place replaced a previous single-story residence on the site that was built in 1890—addressed 1300 West Adams Street—and moved 26 years later to a parcel caddy-corner across Adams, where it became 1289 West Adams. From 1890 until his death in the house in 1905, 1300 West Adams was occupied by the Reverend Washington W. Welsh. After the death of his widow in 1907, the house was purchased by candy manufacturer and real estate investor Roland P. Bishop, who had built 1280 West Adams at the southeast corner of the Adams/Ellendale intersection in 1894. In 1900 Bishop, who'd been widowed in 1891, had married Dorothy Wellborn, a daughter of U.S. District Court judge Olin Wellborn; Judge and Mrs. Wellborn moved into 1300 after Bishop made additions to the house in the summer of 1907 (the building for some reason cited on the pertinent building permit as 2601 Ellendale Place). Unlike his cousin and business partner William T. Bishop of 1342 West Adams (next door to 1300 at the southeast corner of Adams and Menlo), and Mrs. W. T. Bishop's sister and her husband Godfrey Holterhoff of 1360 West Adams at the southwest corner of Adams and Menlo), Roland Bishop decided to follow the lead of his brother-in-law Burton E. Green, oilman and developer, and leave the West Adams district to become an early resident of Beverly Hills, which, although platted since 1907, was only incorporated in 1914. The Wellborns would be following suit. As part of his real estate dealings before moving to the aborning westerly suburb, Bishop was issued a permit by the Department of Buildings for the relocation of 1300 to 1289 on June 1, 1916. He had already sold his own house at the southeast corner in 1914; it would survive until 1959. After relocating 1300, Bishop sold its original lot to Frank Page Bacon, on which he would build 2615 Ellendale Place. What became 1289 West Adams would be acquired by George E. Bentel by 1920; that house would survive until 1971
  • Given the remoteness of Beverly Hills, it might stand to reason that Frank and Emily Bacon did not recognize the move of the Bishops, the Greens, and the Wellborns out of the West Adams district as a harbinger of things to come. They might, however, have noticed the stirrings of a flight out of the neighborhood as Wilshire-corridor subdivisions opened in rapid succession during the 1910s, notably Windsor Square and Fremont Place (both inaugurated in 1911), but they chose to build at the southwest corner of Adams Street and Ellendale Place anyway
  • Frank Bacon had had a full life prior to settling at 2615 Ellendale to begin a new chapter. Born in St. Louis in 1848, he'd moved to California with his family as a teenager. His father Henry Douglas Bacon established the Page-Bacon Bank in San Francisco; Frank would there later establish the Globe Iron Works, makers of railroad locomotives. Marrying in 1874, he left Mamie Bacon with their eight children in 1895, resulting in her suing him for non-support. The determined Mrs. Bacon pursed litigation for several years resulting in what became a scandal that painted Frank as somewhat less than honorable, the fight much-publicized up and down the state ("She has the most beautiful home in Alameda, but nothing to eat," the Los Angeles Herald reported on December 17, 1895; the decree finally came down in January 1898). There were in addition protracted family fights over the wills of Bacon's parents. Moving on, Frank Bacon married 53-year-old Emily Tibbey McGee in 1904. By 1908, the couple was living at 1452 West 29th Street in Los Angeles, not far away from their future home. They would remain there until moving into 2615 Ellendale in late 1916
  • Frank and Emily Bacon appear to have led quiet lives at 2615 Ellendale Place. Mr. Bacon died at home a day shy of his 80th birthday on April 3, 1928, with his second wife and eight children named in his Times obituary two days later; he was buried in St. Louis. Despite her neighborhood's decline, which began in the '20s and accelerated during the Depression, Mrs. Bacon remained living in the house until her death on December 20, 1939. In an odd postscript to the story of the family of Frank Bacon, his granddaughter Faith Bacon became a burlesque performer not shy of posing nude. She starred as a fan dancer featured at Chicago's Century of Progress International Exposition of 1933-34; Faith had a running battle with the better-known Sally Rand as to who was the originator of the art. Sadly, with gigs having dried up, she jumped out of a Chicago hotel window in September 1956
  • Ownership of 2615 Ellendale during the war years of the '40s is unclear, but occupying the house for a time during that period was chiropractor W. Grant Hess, who had co-founded the Chirothesian Church of Faith in 1917. Hess appears to have held church services in the building while also manipulating spines there; his sect seems somehow to have combined Christianity with hands-on-treatments

Having been altered to contain 11 bedrooms, 2615 Ellendale was up for
auction in February 1954, as advertised in the Times on the 21st. It
was a no-sale. In another seven years, the residence would be
occupied by its long-term owners, the sisters of the Alpha
Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

  • By 1948, Carl and Sophie Carlson owned 2615 Ellendale. The couple were issued a permit by the Department of Building and Safety on October 28, 1948, to convert the house into a 15-bed home for the elderly. By 1954, the Carlsons' operation had been closed; the house was put on the auction block on February 23 of that year. It does not seem to have sold, with Carl A. Carlson still being listed at 2615 in the 1956 city directory
  • Harold and Maria Hartleben lived at 1190 West Adams, two blocks east of 2615 Ellendale; having acquired the latter house, she was issued a permit by the Department of Building and Safety on February 2, 1961, for general repairs, though by the end of the year there was yet another owner
  • The Alpha Gamma Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority—Kamala Harris became a member of the national organization at Howard University—acquired 2615 Ellendale Place in 1961. On June 8 of that year, the organization was issued a permit by the Department of Building and Safety for an interior remodeling. The sisterhood held an opening reception in the house on February 25, 1962, as reported in the Sentinel on March 1. With a new roof of Monier Villa tile installed in 2003, the house remains beautifully maintained by the AKAs in 2020, nearly 60 years after moving in

Illustrations: Private Collection; LAT