Originally posted by strangedays
Great, great thread. I feel obligated to contribute.
Looking at Baldwin Hills South/West, 1940-49, at what would become Baldwin Hills Park now. The road wrapping around on the right is probably Jefferson, which changed names into Higuera St., which probably intersects at bottom center (off screen) with Moynier Lane. The small road just after Jefferson/Higuera that dead ends into the hills could be Lewawee (based on a 1941 map). (USC Digital Collection)
I hope it's OK to revisit this photo, since it has a couple noir connections.
The house more or less in the middle of the picture -- apparently with a water tank behind it -- up (south) the faint road from the greenhouse-shaped buildings . . . that's 3801 Lenawee Avenue, Los Angeles City Monument #502, the Collins-Furthman Mansion
(Misspelled with two N's by the LA City Planning Dept; it's actually in Culver City).
I haven't figured out who Collins was, but Furthman was screenwriter Jules Furthman (1888-1966), who wrote the screenplays for, among others, the noir films The Big Sleep
(1946) and Nightmare Alley
Per the LA County Assessor, the mansion dates to 1915 and was remodeled 1993; it's now an office building.
- Photo by me
In his book "Von Sternberg" (University of Kentucky Press, 2010), author John Baxter writes, "Furthman lived in then-remote Culver City, where he had moved with his wife when neighbors complained about the cries of their mentally handicapped son. In a community that barely read and had little interest in art, he amassed a library of rare books and collections of coins, orchids, and art. He owned works by Picasso, Matisse, and Brancusi, and his seven greenhouses contained 48,000 orchid plants." [I count five large greenhouses in the picture]
The University of South Carolina houses the Jules Furthman Screenplay Archive; Box 10 includes "Inventory of the Furthman Orchid Nursery, 5940 West Jefferson Boulevard, Los Angeles, an orchid range [sic?] of seven houses (over 48,000 plants)" [The greenhouses are in the right spot to be at 5940 W. Jefferson]
From the obituary of Esther Rodriguez Kaser, Ojai Valley News, Oct 3, 2007: "While living in Culver City in the ‘40s and ‘50s, they were fortunate enough to be orchid growers for film producer Jules Furthman on his orchid ranch. They also got to live on the ranch in a large home once used by Cecille [sic] B. DeMille that had been moved from the MGM movie lot to the ranch."
It's a bit of a stretch, but I wonder if "the large home" once used by DeMille is 3801 Lenawee? There doesn't seem to be any other really large home on the property in the 1940s photo.
It's hard to see, but if you follow the Baldwin Hills ridgeline north to south in the 1940s photo, there appears to be a building with an oil derrick to its right, just above a mostly triangular, northeast-facing shadow. I believe that building is this house:
- Photo by me
- Photo by me, looking south from Baldwin Hills Scenic Overlook
A house in the middle of an oilfield? It's practically pregnant with noir!
This house must predate the Inglewood Oilfield (1924), because who would build a house in the middle of all that? The house apparently lost its north chimney but looks lived in (note satellite dish and repaired cracks in brickwork); there's a porch on the west side, but I didn't get a good photo of that. You can also see the house from Kenneth Hahn SRA, or from La Cienega by the park entrance -- but keep your eyes on the road, please!
Does anyone know anything about that house? I've wondered about it since I was a kid -- and that was quite a while ago.