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Old Posted Oct 6, 2010, 6:16 PM
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GaylordWilshire GaylordWilshire is offline
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Jeff-- I will have to take a look at Curse of the Cat People again--I couldn't find any movie stills of the house, but I see that the Waters house is listed as a location for the film on IMDB. It definitely fits a movie like Curse. Somewhere along the line I've seen the Capen house, which was at 818 West Adams just east of the Waters house, erroneously listed as Curses's locale. They're not dissimilar in massing. Here's a picture of that house, apparently demolished sometime in the early '40s:

The Capen house, 818 West Adams: note the zanja in front. It ran on the south side of Adams
west from Figueroa and was decommissioned in 1901.

What is sort of interesting about the Capen house is that the porch entrance, with its elaborate scrolls, survives to the northeast in Sierra Madre, on the front of the Pinney House (architect: Joseph Cather Newsom). At least, that is my contention--some sources, including Gebhard and Winter, say that the entrance came from a house that once stood on Wilshire. There were, however, no high (by which I mean seriously turreted) Victorian houses built on the original westward-extending Wilshire--its development really didn't get going until the very end of the Victorian era. There were some on Orange Street, closer to downtown east of Westlake Park, which later became Wilshire in the '30s, but still I am of the opinion that the Capen porch entrance was the one installed on the Pinney house. (See what you think by comparing these pictures.) Producers of the 1942 Barbara Stanwyck movie The Great Man's Lady chose the Pinney house as a location, but wanted a fancier porch--apparently the Capen was being torn down and its entrance was recruited. (My guess is that other spindlework from the Capen was used to complete the new porch or else duplicated by studio carpenters to do the job.)

Closeup of the Capen--note the entrance and the spindles in the arch.

Another shot of the Capen. Note one of the six-globe streetlights that were installed in the West Adams
district beginning in 1903. The LAPL dates this photo 1941, so neither the house or the lamps have long
to live. Also note the post-zanja fire hydrant.

Kansas Sebastian
The Pinney house, Sierra Madre.

Big Orange Landmarks
The Pinney entrance--a far-flung remnant of West Adams (IMHO).

Notice the similarity of balcony ironwork on the Hildreth house (above), which stood on Bunker Hill, and on the Capen. Both the On Bunker Hill website and Floyd B. Bariscale of Big Orange Landmarks cite J. C. Newsom as designer of the Hildreth--so I'm wondering if he also did the Capen. As I mentioned above, Newsom designed the Pinney house. Although the Pinney was originally of a plainer style (similar to the architect's San Dimas Hotel), and though I don't think the flamboyant Capen porch is an especially good architectural fit for it, I guess it's something that there is the possibility of Newsom having done both buildings.

Last edited by GaylordWilshire; Oct 6, 2010 at 7:28 PM.
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