Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Donnelley House is Moving to Garvanza!

The Donnelley House is moving to the Northeast Community of Garvanza! The 1870s Gothic Revival Cottage will be coming through Highland Park from Chinatown to Garvanza along Marmion Way to Monte Vista, turning onto Piedmont then N. Figueroa Street, proceed East on York Boulevard and, finally, North to its new home at 1135-1153 N. Avenue 63 across from the Church of the Angels. Due to a Caltrans glitch this week, the move was postponed until the week of the June 22.

The Donnelley house has been located on 829 W. Bartlett Street in Chinatown since it was moved there in 1886 on land that had been subdivided by former Los Angeles Mayor Prudent Beaudry. John A. Donnelly and his family initially leased the land from Beaudry, but then bought it in 1889. Beaudry also owned the land in Garvanza where the house will settle until he sold it to Augustine Campbell-Johnston whose family established a ranch on the property. The House is one a very few remaining extant structures dating from the period of Los Angeles history between the Civil War and the coming of the Great Land Boom of 1885-1888.

Preservationist Brad Chambers is the owner of the Garvanza land. He plans to place the house on a hillside above Avenue 64, across the street from the Historic Church of the Angels, which is an Ernest Coxhead designed stone Gothic church that was built in 1889. Chambers has a proven track record with preservation and restoration, including in the area of stucco removal. He received an award from the Highland Park Heritage Trust for the removal of stucco and the restoration of another Garvanza area home several years ago. In addition, Chambers is currently serving on the Whitley Heights H.P.O.Z. Board in Hollywood.

The house had been sheathed in stucco since 1986 and was scheduled for demolition until it was researched for the landowner and its true rarity was determined. Arrangements were made with Chambers to move the house to the Garvanza property where he moved and restored another historic Chinatown home several years ago.

In preparation for the move, Chambers had the stucco removed and exposed the structures original siding and shingled gable. The aluminum slider windows were removed and historic windows matching the original openings were installed. At its new site, the house will be lifted by a crane onto its new foundation that is on a small bluff at the rear of the Garvanza property. Once reassembled and restored, the house will be nominated as a Historic Cultural Monument for the City of Los Angeles. Below is a before picture:


  1. If Chambers is such the preservationist, why didn't he leave the house on Bartlett, and restore it on site?

  2. Good question. I will try to find out why he had to move it. Perhaps there was a reason why he couldn't leave it in place.