Rising four stories and topped by a blue-and-white neon rooftop sign, the brick Lewelleyn Manor at the northeast corner of Temple Street and Rampart Boulevard commands attention like few other nearby buildings can. The 46-unit apartment building with a night club on the ground level was built in 1926 by contractor and real estate investor Lewelleyn J. Smith, who had big ambitions for this corner of what is now called Historic Filipinotown but what was then referred to as the North Rampart Section, according to an L.A. Times story of the era.
On the same block, Lewelleyn also built the former Rampart Theater, which opened in 1924 with the the screening of Constance Talmadge’s “Her Night of Romance.” A headline of a Times story described the new theater at the corner of Temple and Benton Way as an attempt to build a “Growing Community Center Not Depending on ‘Downtown.’”
Soon after, Lewellyn began working on the Lewelleyn Manor, which was faced in “Old Rose Brick” and was said to be “unusually artistic,” according to a Times story. Classified ads promoted the Lewellyn Manor’s spacious apartments, elevator, filtered ice water, electric refrigeration and private phones.
Lewelleyn died in in 1956 at the age of 80. His apartment house has seen better days. But, in addition to a rooftop sign, a metal canopy above the Rampart Boulevard lobby hint at the building’s glory days.
What’s in store for Lewelleyn Manor? We will soon find out. The building was put up for sale for $4.7 million in early March and is currently in escrow, according to Redfin.