Victoria Park is a Glimpse into LA’s Historical and Architectural Magnifigance

Dec 05, 2010 by Lisa Newton

According to the LA Times, Los Angeles County is made up of 158 cit­ies and un­in­cor­por­ated areas, and 114 unique and diverse neigh­bor­hoods actually with­in the city of Los Angeles, each with its own differentiating, individualistic, and special ethnic mix and feel.

One such neighborhood, which, due to size, is often over looked, is Victoria Park. With over 4,000 square miles in Los Angeles County, the tiny, less than 1 square mile, Victoria Park is .0025% of Los Angeles’ land mass!

Considered part of the historical West Adams district because of its architectural style, Victoria Park, with its Frederick Law Olmsted inspired circular design, is only accessible via Windsor Drive just off Pico Boulevard. Like most of Los Angeles, Victoria Park began as part of a Rancho, but as time went by and land ownership’s traded hands several times, this area was destined for a different purpose.

By the late 1800s, Los Angeles was growing quickly, and the demand for property was increasing. Once priced at less than $5.00 an acre, Victoria Park was about to see its time come.

Nonetheless, in 1907, “nineteen substantial citizens,” including General Moses Hazeltine Sherman and his brother-in-law, Eli P. Clark, partners in the Los Angeles Pacific Railroad Co. “united to create an exclusive residential enclave.” Source: Los Angeles Department of City Planning (PDF)

Between 1910 and 1920, many of the original homes in Victoria Park were built using high quality woods like mahogany and oak, have ornate leaded and stained glass windows, beamed ceilings, and include conservatories and sun rooms.

Due to a lack of sales, shortly after World War 1, Victoria Park lots were subdivided and rezoned, which was the reason multi-family apartment buildings came to be here, of which several were built in the 1920s and 30s.

Here’s a map of Victoria Park, plus the two houses I featured in The Legacy of Two Important African Americans and their LA Homes, both of which are located just outside the boundaries of Victoria Park:

View Victoria Park in a larger map

Although the entire neighborhood looks like a picture out of time, these two houses have attained historical significance, as defined by the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, as worthy of preservation based on architectural, historic and cultural criteria.

The first, located at 4318 Victoria Park Place, is a classic Craftsman House. Built in 1912, when Los Angeles was just beginning to grow into the metropolis and world class city that it has now become, it’s Los Angeles’ Historical-Cultural Landmark #654. It has 4 bedroomss, 3 baths, and approximately 3,613 square feet of living area.

As you can see, this house has many of the traditional Craftsman features, such as a low-pitched roof lines, deep overhanging eaves, exposed rafters under the eaves, a front porch beneath an extension of the main roof, tapered, square columns supporting the roof, hand-crafted stone or woodwork, and the use of mixed materials throughout the house.

Looking at it is like taking a step back in time.

In fact, much of this entire neighborhood is like that, including 4311 Victoria Park Place, which is the second house presented here that’s listed in Los Angeles’ Historical-Cultural Landmarks list.

Holmes-Shannon House

Designed by Robert Farquhar Train, and Robert Edmund Williams, The Holmes-Shannon House is a Craftsman, using stylistic Tudor influencec. The home was originally built in 1911.

Not only is this house #885 on the Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Landmarks List, but it’s also listed on the National Register of Historic Places based on its well-preserved Craftsman architecture.

Originally built for Nellie Homes Shannon, a relative of Oliver Wendell Holmes, and her husband Michael Shannon, the Holmes-Shannon House is symbolic of a time gone by and the fact that it still retains so many of the classic features of its period as well as the history of its famous original owners.

Nellie Holmes Shannon was one of the city’s first prominent business women, and her husband, Michael Shannon, was among the first ten police officers to be hired by the city.

He served as the city’s first traffic officer. His son, Michael Francis Shannon, was a Deputy District Attorney for the city and a newsworthy criminal litigator in his later private practice. The Shannon family lived in this house from the time it was built until 1957.

If you’d like to read more about this time period, Victoria Park, the architects who designed the Holmes-Shannon House, and the details of what you’ll find in this area, the official Recommendation Report (PDF), which was presented to the Cultural Heritage Commission is a fascinating read.

Many of the observations above and some of the direct quotes were gleamed from the same.

Because it’s not realistic to reprint the entire 47 pages here. I highly recommend reading about Victoria Park’s history from the above PDF Recommendation report.

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Architecture, Culture, SoCal

One Response to “Victoria Park is a Glimpse into LA’s Historical and Architectural Magnifigance”

  1. Michael Locke says:

    Thanks for the info! I plan on visiting and photographing the area in the very near future. Michael Locke, Editor, “The Silver Lake News”


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