Alex Buchman was a socialist who once served as a bodyguard for exiled Soviet leader Leon Trotsky and was later investigated by the FBI when he tried to unionize fellow aerospace workers in the 1950s. After he lived in China and Mexico, Buchman and his wife, Debbie, settled in the Elysian Heights section of Echo Park, which had been dubbed “Red Hill” because so many socialists, communists and leftists had settled there during the 1930s and 1940s. This month, the two-bedroom house the couple built on Park Drive, which commands some of Echo Park’s best views and highest real estate prices, went up for sale at $925,000.
The 1950-Buchman Residence melds mid-century design with some Streamline Moderne touches reflected in the original cabinetry, fireplace and other architectural features.
While today’s Echo Park residents may fear gang members or developers, Buchman expressed concern about leftist rivals in the neighborhood during a 2001 GQ magazine story by John Brodie:
To put it simply, he is afraid of Stalinists on his block. “I didn’t want to be earmarked in this neighborhood as a Trotskyite. Because I’m not a Trotskyite. I’m a Socialist,” he says as he escorts me into the living room of his modern 1,300-square-foot home.
Buchman died in 2003 at age 91. His wife passed away within the past year.
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