Report recommends landmark status for Echo Park bungalow court [updated]

One of the seven bungalows in the Wurfl Court | Courtesy Los Angeles Planning Department

ECHO PARK — A report by the Planning Department recommends that a 1920s bungalow court threatened with demolition should be declared a city historic landmark. A final decision has yet to be made, but declaring the Wurfl Court, built by a Hollywood prop master, would make it much more difficult to replace the Mediterranean Revival-style bungalows with up to 12 new townhouses as the new property owner has proposed.

The Planning Department report said that the Wurfl Court, located in the 1400 block of Echo Park Avenue,  is worthy of becoming a landmark because it “embodies the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural-type specimen, inherently valuable for study of a period, style or method of construction.” So, who is responsible for building this 7-unit bungalow court that many now deem to be worthy of saving? The landmark application, researched by one of the property’s tenants, presents the story of Louis Wurfl:

“Born to German immigrants, Louis grew up in Echo Park and eventually began working in the family business: steel. He worked on many prominent steel projects in the Los Angeles area, including the cross on Echo Park’s historic Angelus Temple and several neon signs throughout the city. The growth of Los Angeles housing has always been intertwined with the city’s film industry, and 1450 Echo Park Avenue is a prime example of that. Like many people who built housing complexes in the 20s, Louis worked in the film industry as a prop master for MGM, building pieces for movies, including the Wizard of Oz’ Tin Man as well as several properties in Los Angeles.”

The Cultural Heritage Commission is scheduled to vote on Thursday, March 2, on the landmark nomination. The nomination would then be forwarded to the City Council for a final vote.

Updated: The Cultural Heritage Commission voted unanimously to declare a 1920s era Echo Park bungalow court a city historic landmark. A final vote will be taken by the City Council.

Wurfl Court bungalow | Courtesy Los Angeles Planning Department

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