Neighborhood Fixture: The Atwater apartments Gladding McBean built


ATWATER VILLAGE – The local tile and pottery factories of Gladding McBean & Co. at one point churned everything from pipes to the legendary “Desert Rose” dishware pattern sold under the Franciscan label  according to a neighborhood history. The 40-acre Gladding, McBean plant on Los Feliz Boulevard was demolished in the early 1980s and replaced with the shopping center that now houses Best Buy, Costco and other retails. But next door on the on Perlita Street  is a reminder of Gladding McBean in the form of  a nearly two-block stretch of tidy two-story apartment buildings.

Survey L.A., the city survey of historic sites and structures, says these apartments in the “Perlita Avenue Apartment Historic District” were built by Gladding  McBean in 1947 and 1948. There is no record that the apartments were built for Gladding McBean workers, and there’s no ornate or decorative tiles that dress up the rather plain exteriors. But the buildings, constructed in a Minimal Traditional style with some
American Colonial Revival touches, represent “a highly intact grouping of post World War II multi-family residences,” according to the survey. Furthermore, says the survey,

This grouping of multi-family residences represents an excellent example of apartment buildings from the late 1940s and conveys a strong sense of time and place through a high percentage of intact contributing buildings.


  1. Interesting. I often think of Franciscan & Tropico pottery when I’m there, but didn’t know about this.

    To show how much things have changed, if I’m not mistaken, the FHA almost required Colonial Revival design for federally financed postwar housing. The thinking at the time was that it was “timeless”. Especially if you’re an east coast WASP working at the FHA, no doubt.

  2. That whole are was contaminated by lead from the pottery factory that the monks ran. Avoid that area! Don’t breathe
    the dust. It cannot be uncontaminated.

  3. The frontage is like a perfect example of how to design barren and uninviting “green space”.

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