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Old Posted May 26, 2010, 1:35 AM
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GaylordWilshire GaylordWilshire is offline
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#18 Berkeley Square


For a full history of Berkeley Square, see berkeleysquarelosangeles.com


After I posted the few pictures I could find of Berkeley Square a few weeks ago, the vanished street became my latest architectural-forensics obsession. There seem to be precious few available pictures of the houses of Berkeley Square beyond those I posted (at least ones easily posted here), but I've been able to come up with a fair history for almost all of them. Some original families, such as the Burkes of #6 (the original owners and developers of the barley field that became the Square), the Montgomerys of #9, and the Taylors of #11, stayed in the houses they built ca. 1908 almost to the end, well into the '50s, when the freeway became imminent. All three of their houses, and at least two others on the street (the Phillips house, #4, and the Leeds house, #14), were designed by Myron Hunt, either with Elmer Grey or by Hunt alone. (Hunt and Grey, together or separately, have to their credit a long list of SoCal landmarks: among others, the Ambassador and Beverly Hills hotels, the Huntington Library, the Rose Bowl, the Pasadena Public Library, Occidental College, the First Church of Christ Scientist, the Wattles house in Hollywood, the Valley Hunt and Bel-Air Bay clubs, and Frederick Law Olmsted's Palos Verdes house.) Other famous architects involved in the designs of Berkeley Square include Alfred Rosenheim, B. Cooper Corbett, Arthur Benton, Merl Lee Barker, and Robert Farquhar (California Club, Clark Library, among others)--this last the original designer of the house in the picture here, the McReynolds house at #18. Four years after it was built, it seems, Dr. McReynolds fell under the sway of no less than the Greenes, possibly after seeing their "post-Gamble" (i.e., less bungalowesque) designs such as the Culbertson, and he employed the brothers for remodelings and additions into the '20s. (Btw--as is often the case with all such research, there are conflicting claims as to the design of this house, but Greene & Greene remodelings of what was originally a Farquhar house seems to be the progression here.) A side note: Dr. McReynold's father-in-law was B. F. Coulter of the department stores--including the great streamline one on Wilshire, pictures of which were posted here not long ago.

Isn't it amazing to think of the short lifespan of all this custom-built splendor by notable architects? When you're on the Harbor or the Hollywood downtown, it's hard not to wonder about vanished Bunker Hill. The next time you're zooming (or crawling) along the Santa Monica past Western, think about what was once just to the southwest of that intersection....

Last edited by GaylordWilshire; Apr 4, 2013 at 12:57 PM.
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