Garvanza house once threatened with demolition now up for landmark status

By Brenda Rees

A well-restored Folk-Victorian home that was moved  to Garvanza from Chinatown to save it from demolition is being considered for historic status. The two-story Donnelly House, relocated into the area in 2011, was recently recommended for recognition as a city monument by the Los Angeles Department of City Planning to the Cultural Heritage Commission.

Today, the house on Avenue 64 is perched atop a steep slope with stairs leading to a centered wooden staircase and the main entrance. A single triangular gable, at the roof center, contains a round vent, fish-scale shingles and decorative woodwork at the apex, according to the monument application. The full front porch is supported by wood posts with decorative brackets. Inside, the house features wainscoting, hardwood floors and built-in cabinetry.

Through the years, the house has shifted locations and has seen its share of remodeling attempts. It was built circa 1870s-80s but its first location is still a mystery.  Records do show it was in Chinatown, on land owned by then mayor of Los Angeles Prudent Beaudry, when John Donnelly lived there from 1886-1920.

It passed many hands but in 1982 the now-defunct Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) identified the property in a historic resources survey.  Unpermitted work in 1986, however, resulted in exterior stuccoing and installation of aluminum windows.

When the house was slated for demolition in 2008, historian Charles J. Fisher submitted a report to the CRA to document its history. The house eventually was given a reprieve and it was rehabilitated in 2009 with the removal of the stucco and addition of reconstructed decorative features.

The Donnelly house finally moved in 2011 to its present – and hopefully permanent location in Garvanza.

Brenda Rees is a writer who lives in Eagle Rock

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