During the early years of the Westlake district’s development, the sloping terrain along Orange Street made it particularly attractive for the construction of airy, suburban residences. By the eve of the 20th century, it was almost fully lined with large, single-family houses picturesquely set back atop a light hill. The Queen Anne-style mansion at 1049 Orange Street (top photo right) was one of the earliest to be built on the street, finished sometime between 1888 and 1894. It seems that its somewhat less impressive neighbor at 1055 Orange was completed between 1906 and 1910.
Orange Street was renamed as part of Wilshire Boulevard in 1924, and many of its properties fared rather poorly when their section was widened in the early 1930s. The homes fortunate enough to escape demolition found the once spacious lawns at their doorsteps reduced to floor-high cliffs. As the top photograph by Charles Cushman shows, for many years it made for a rather curious sight.
It’s not clear to me how long the two houses survived, but in any case, their block of Wilshire Boulevard has been occupied by the 16-story Wilshire-Bixel Building since 1985. St. Paul Place, the narrow side street that once ran parallel to St. Paul Avenue and Bixel Street, was closed. A portion of its right-of-way, visible at the far right, is now used as a service driveway for the office tower.
1. “Auto injures a retired artist.” Los Angeles Times. 30 May 1910. B1.
2. Insurance maps of Los Angeles, California; Volume 1. New York: Sanborn Map Company, 1906.
3. Insurance maps of Los Angeles, California; Volume 3. New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Company, 1894.
4. Los Angeles; Volume 2. New York: Sanborn-Perris Map Company, 1888.
5. “Orange Street name change is given approval.” Los Angeles Times. 2 Apr. 1924. 11.
6. “Topping out point nears.” Los Angeles Times. 9 Sep. 1984. H21.
Original photo: Cushman, Charles. “Old houses above a clay bank-1000 block Wilshire – P05740.” 1952. Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection. Indiana University Archives. http://purl.dlib.indiana.edu/iudl/archives/cushman/P05740.