Thursday, October 27, 2016

Eastside Property: The legacy of an Echo Park leftist hits the market at a price any capitalist would envy

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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  1. Maybe the LA Times can move in and keep the Red tradition going?

  2. Went to the open house yesterday and it was swarming with people. People were hanging out and lots of chatter,lots of cell phone calls from the driveway, etc…. I think this one is going to go fast and way above asking.

  3. Only downside (if you can call it that) is that it’s right next to the Baxter Steps. You will have people walking directly past your property (and just a tad up your driveway) all the time for exercise and connection to the streets below.

  4. That last comment sums up so much that is happening in Echo Park now. The Echo Park I knew in the past didn’t mind folks walking by as they finished off hiking the Baxter Stairs. Nowadays the first thing new folks do when they move in is put up a fence.
    No comprendo.

    • I live at the top of some stairs as well and let me tell you… the stairs are not used exclusively by recreational hikers and runners, I have constant tagging, and littering. My house got tagged before. Now that I have a wall, my wall gets tagged. Ever so slightly preferable. 🙂

      Get the gang out, and i’ll take down my wall. Comprende?

      • I think that’s the issue: disrespectful people.

        In another time and currently in other places, there’s a culture of respecting other people’s property, their serenity, etc.

        Here in LA, there are people who only give a rip about themselves and don’t care about how they might negatively impact others. When the number of this type of person grows too large, fences go up. We have waay too many of this type of person.

  5. It is indeed news that this iconic home is for sale. I have admired it for years; it is considered one of the most if not the most beautiful examples of view property and mid century architecture in the Silverlake-Elysian Heights area.

  6. Beverly D'Angeleno

    Can we assume that the $1M the next owner pays to the Buchman probate for this nice piece of private property will be evenly distributed among those less fortunate? Viva la revolucion!

    • The son, a friend of mine since grade school, who is scheduled to receive the proceeds from this sale, told me that he plans to use half of the funds on wine, women, and song….mostly in Canada and in Central America. He plans to spend 40% of the rest of the proceeds on Bonneville land speed race cars and make a 5% donation to the NRA. He will “waste” the other 5% on a donation to the Republican Party. He is alleged to be rather eccentric.

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