March 07, 2006
Hollywood House Threatened
Hollywood Boulevard’s Oldest Structure Threatened
by John Clifford
The 1904 house, located at 1717 Bronson in Hollywood, is the oldest surviving example of the homes that once dotted Prospect Avenue during the early part of the 20th century, prior to the Avenue being renamed Hollywood Boulevard in 1910. The home had a large front yard, like most of those of the period. When development of the area began in earnest in the 1920s and 30s, that yard was converted to commercial use, as were many others.
Like the 1905 Janes House, which once had a gas station in its front yard, was moved, and is now restored behind a shopping center at 6541 Hollywood Boulevard, the home at 1717 Bronson also had commercial structures built in front of it. For this reason, the home was turned 90 degrees so that it now faces on Bronson Street.
In four historic surveys, conducted from 1986 to 2003, the home was listed as a historic structure with great significance. Two of those survey’s were for the City of Los Angeles, one was for the State of California, and the fourth was for a National Register survey. However, a developer who wants to tear down the property hired a consultant to reassess the property, who determined it was no longer historic. Based on this newest report, the city has issued a Negative Declaration to clear the way for its demolition.
Hollywood Heritage has responded to this Negative Declaration in an effort to point out the incongruity of allowing a developer to determine the historic significance of a structure that they want to tear down. It is this kind of action that has prompted Hollywood Heritage, according to their December Newsletter (page 12), to review their legal options to halt the demolitions such as this or the one that occurred at the Villa Capri restaurant. According to Robert W. Nudelman, preservation issues director for Hollywood Heritage, “Our historic resources are being illegally threatened with demolition. Hollywood Heritage, as guardian of our history, is obligated to take a strong stand against these illegal actions.”
Read Hollywood Heritage's response to this issue at: http://www.hollywoodheritage.org/preservation/bronson/1777_Bronson_Avenue_Neg_Dec.htm
Article by John Clifford. Mr. Clifford has served as a board member and officer of Hollywood Heritage, Pomona Heritage, and the Pomona Fox Corporation. A long-time preservationist, he lives in Pomona with his wife Deborah and daughter Ariel.
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