Tomorrow Prince William and his new bride Catherine Middleton, the future of the English Monarchy, will arrive in California with stops in Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. And once again the stately Victorian homes perched atop a hill in Angelino Heights will bear witness to another historical moment in time. These ornate homes, modeled after the architectural styles popular in England during Queen Victoria’s reign and based largely on Baroque and Gothic styles, were located about a mile northwest of the city center, offering stunning views and convenient transportation. Only a few of these precious homes remain and are burdened with the responsibility of telling their story…..
Because of streetcar transportation to the nearby downtown business district, “The Hill” quickly became an affluent neighborhood of bankers, merchants and real estate developers in the late 1880’s. Many of these new residents from the East coast brought with them their taste for the Victorian and began to build their massive Queen Anne and Eastlake style homes . Exemplified by lavish ornamentation, vibrant colors, multiple stories, wraparound porches, bay windows and towers or turrets, these homes embraced eclecticism and grandeur at the same time. Detail and nuance were the focus of great labor with features such as intricate woodwork, colored art glass, lace curtains, and ornate lighting fixtures.
While so many of these beautiful homes were destroyed in the name of progress and expansion, the 1300 block of Carroll Avenue formed the Carroll Avenue Restoration Foundation to help preserve and restore these precious gems and today boasts the highest concentration of Victorian homes in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Conservancy offers a 2 hour walking tour where you are guided back in time to visit this historical area, view the homes, step inside and experience the splendor of an era gone by. An era where craftsmanship and beauty prevailed…where the creak of a floorboard was comforting – where the hydrangeas bloomed beneath the shade of massive fig trees, and where the soft glow of the 3-globe Llewellyns lit your way home….
This home’s first owner was Aaron Phillips, an Iowa hardware merchant who came to LA in 1887 with his wife and daughter, Grace. She lived in the home until 1942 when it was subsequently sold to the Morales family, members of which still live there today.
Dating from 1872, this house is the oldest in Angelino Heights. Originally located downtown at the corner of Seventh and Figueroa Streets, this was home to Mary Foy, Los Angeles’ first female chief librarian, a founder of the Native Daughters of the Golden West, and a leader in the women’s suffrage movement. This home was the design of Ezra Kysor, architect of the former Cathedral of St Vibiana, today being used as an event venue. (Also a beautiful place to visit)
Constructed in 1894 for real estate developer Charles C. Haskins, this was the last Victorian built on Carroll Avenue. Notice the unusual balustrade used on the porch and the very ornate spindle columns.
After our walk and as our minds were still mired in the cobwebs of the past, we headed downtown, just a 5 minute drive to an area nicknamed “the nickel” by the skid row residents near Main and 5th Streets. On Main, just a couple of blocks from the Vibiana is a new restaurant paying homage to the past. “The Nickel Diner”, offers delicious versions of diner food including fresh baked goods including their famous bacon crumble dipped glazed doughnuts. You really just need to try this – it’s crazy different. Even though the line outside looks like the line outside Dupar’s on a Sunday morning, the wait was just a few minutes, prices are right, and the food is homey and inventive with a lean towards the south with bacon and cornmeal showing up in multiple forms. All good!
Red Velvet Cake with a Chocolate crunch filling, S’Mores Cake, Peanut Butter Crunch Cake – just to name of few of the incredible dessert offerings at the Nickel Diner.