Echo Park - The outside walls of the Atwater Bungalows are earth-colored, like adobe. The corners and wall intersections are rounded, as if they were created by packing mud. Wood beams poke out from the edge of the roof area. Windows are recessed, and the doors are often battened.
Now this cluster of residences near the top of Avon Park Terrace - designed to look like a Hopi Village - has been nominated as a Historic-Cultural Monument.
Though the two-acre property has 10 dwelling units - variously completed between 1908 and 1939 or later - the nomination rests mainly on two structures that were completed in 1931 - the bungalows at 1431 and 1433 Avon Park Terrace.
“The 1931 Atwater Bungalows represent an intact and complete representation of the Pueblo Revival Style in the form of a Hopi Village,” according to the nomination prepared by John Wingler for the Echo Park Historical Society, “demonstrating all significant details inherent in this style which gained popularity in Los Angeles during the early decades of the twentieth century.”
These two structures were designed by architect Robert Stacy-Judd for H. Gale Atwater, a dentist who started buying the multiple properties on that lot in 1922. His great-grandson, Régis Toby Atwater, is listed as the current owner, and lives in one of the other bungalows, maintaining the properties.
“Of course, we are honored to be nominated. I helped John Wingler, the historian, with his research last year,” Toby Atwater said. However, he felt some ambivalence now about monument status.
“I don't think ‘historic-cultural monument status’ is really needed during these troubling times,” Atwater said. “It seems these resources could be used more constructively elsewhere in the city considering the many challenges Los Angeles is currently facing.”
He added, however, that he and his family plan to keep maintain the properties, and want to preserve them for the future.
“We will be here weathering the storm unchanged when things settle down hopefully, and maybe then will be a better time for this discussion, I think,” Atwater said. "I hope the community agrees.”
The architect, Stacy-Judd, is best known for his works in the Mayan Revival style, including the Aztec Hotel in Monrovia, and the initial Philosophical Research Society buildings on Los Feliz Boulevard.