Friday, October 21, 2016

Preservationists seeking to save “East Asian Eclectic” home from demolition

HERMON  —  Preservationists want a home that is slated to be demolished declared a city historic landmark. That would complicate plans to knock down the home, built in 1938 in the “Far East Asian Eclectic” style, to make way for the construction of eight homes under the city’s under  small-lot development ordinance.

The Cultural Heritage Commission is scheduled to decide on Thursday, Oct. 20, whether to take the historic cultural monument application submitted by the Highland Park Heritage Trust under review.

The two-story Lee Residence at 6111 Monterey Road was built for the family for Edgar K. Lee, a Chinese immigrant and Pasadena store owner who married Alice Stuart,  whose parents were among the first residents of Hermon, according to the landmark application.  The home reflects a blend of what has become known as “Far East Asian Eclectic” style with more traditional forms of the era. Says the application:

“East Asian Eclectic architecture, a derivative and referential style that borrowed forms and ornament directly from ancient buildings in East Asia, emerged as part of the larger Exotic Revival trend in Los Angeles in the 1920s and proliferated on a large (if geographically isolated) scale with the construction of Los Angeles’ New Chinatown in 1938. East Asian communities continued to use the style to define neighborhoods with ethnic association.”

The exterior of the home remains largely intact. The staff of the Planning Department has recommended that the landmark application be taken under consideration.

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  1. If nothing else the small lot ordinance should be revised to include the original structures into the design?

    If not it just encourages investers to buy historical homes and destroy them for the land.

    • I agree. Buy an empty lot to develop or incorporate these historical homes into the plans. I hope this residence is saved. We are losing more and more of what little history we have here in LA. Thanks to the folks trying to preserve this!

    • So you want the government to prevent a private property owner from improving his/her property?

  2. This isn’t a historical home – there’s no such thing as an ‘East Asian Eclectic’ style. This is simply an anti-development effort.

  3. No no no. This is nothing but NIMBYism. This home is in terrible shape and the previous occupants trashed the house and its yard for years. Tear this tacky thing down and put something that people would actually want to purchase.

  4. Its called preservation and the house is beautiful, let it stand!

    No one wants more of those muti-colored pastel cubical homes.

    • Make up your mind!!!

      You complain that rent and housing is too high, yet, when new housing projects are proposed, you oppose them. In the real world where people have to earn a living to pay for their housing and it’s not subsidized by private apartment owners, you can increase the supply of housing which in theory, will spread out demand and reduce prices, or you can limit the supply which will create pent up demand, increasing prices. Also, if housing demand drops, there is less demand for apartments and rent drops as well.

      Or, you can just sue people in an attempt to get what you want, but that will only delay the inevitable since we have property rights in America.

      • I’m in no way opposed to new developments. We need them. I am opposed to new developments not incorporating in one way or the other a historical building that might be of significance. We can do both. Balance, folks. Balance. Old and new.

        • The small lot subdivision ordinance is place to increase housing density which was designed to combat the high cost of housing in Los Angeles. That being said, it is terribly executed and regulated by the building department (18-24 month entitlements) which makes it completely ineffective with regard to creating affordable housing since only well-funded large developers can tackle such a project. And by the time these developers navigate the entitlement and building process, they units have to be sold at a premium to make the project profitable.

          Regardless, how exactly would you incorporate the existing house into a new housing development under the small lot subdivision ordinance? Although I’m not familiar with the site, I worked on a project where the house was located in the center of the lot (where most homes are located), making it impossible to incorporate the existing structure into the plan under the small lot subdivision guidelines.

          What I’m basically saying is you can have one or the other, but not both. Do you want to increase the housing supply in an attempt to bring down the cost of housing or do you want to protect old homes and keep housing high. I personally don’t care either way because I already own my own home, but it’s something everyone needs to think about.

      • First off, don’t make assumptions about people you know nothing about!

        Secondly, there is nothing real about Los Angeles when it comes to supply and demand. its all speculation. If your silly theory was correct, downtown Los Angeles would be REAL affordable about wright now wouldn’t it? Thousands of units added over the last decade. I have worked in DT for the last 15 years and ironically mass construction has had the opposite effect.

        Of course, once the flood gates are open and we pave everything in sight, Real Estate will eventually be affordable again. Because the quality of life in this city will be so vastly impacted that people will choose to move…
        only then will you realize that your horizontal fence was worth what you paid for it!

        • So based on your anecdotal evidence (working downtown for 15 years), the law of supply and demand doesn’t pertain to Los Angeles housing? I think this gives me a pretty good idea of who you are and your ability to comprehend economic scenarios.

          • no…Its much more complicated than simple economics but you are too blinded by your silly pro-development theories to comprehend that.

            Clearly you are are biased, probably because you’re in the Real Estate game…maybe paid way TOO much for your tiny craftman and are now lashing out!
            Perhaps because your just realizing the markets true volatility…

  5. This is a very interesting house with important neighborhood associations that is at great risk because of the large lot size. Too many historic homes are falling to the wrecker through the small lot ordinance; developers simply pay more than preservation-minded individuals can afford.

    Unfortunately, the Cultural Heritage Commission will be hearing this matter with the board still one commissioner short, after Mayor Garcetti unbalanced it last month by moving Elissa Scrafano to the Cultural Affairs Commission; that board too is now unbalanced.

    As we saw last month with William Pereira’s Metropolitan Water District campus, a potentially controversial landmark nomination can result in a 2-2 vote which defaults to “no action” and demolition for an historic property. For more info, and a link to our petition asking the Mayor to restore the CHC board to the correct 5-person size, see

  6. I favor historic preservation, target other neighorhoods or lots for high density living.

    One side note, based on the photo, it looks like there is T-111 siding on the front of the house. That’s like, kind of the cheap stuff from the big box stores. I question if that is T-111, and if it is, it definitely is not from the 1930s.

    Hope new owners apply for a Mills Act – it’d help them a lot with getting the funds to restore the house.

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