Echo Park bungalow court declared historic landmark

ECHO PARK – The City Council today voted to declare a 1920s-era bungalow court a historic cultural monument.

A tenant who lives in the Spanish-Revival style dwellings at 1456 Echo Park Avenue began the effort to win landmark status and protection for Wurfl Court after the new owner proposed demolishing the cluster of single-story, rent-controlled apartments with  as many as a dozen new three-story homes.

“These bungalows are a piece of history, and they should be treasured rather than torn down because of a loophole in a law,” said Lena Kouyoumdjian, who submitted the historic landmark application.

The nomination won the support of Councilman Mitch O’Farrell. “Bungalow Courts are the City’s signature multi-family housing, and I look forward to working with the community on further updates to City codes that strike a balance and preserve the rich architectural identity in the 13th District while encouraging reasonable growth and development,” he said in a statement issued after today’s vote.

The owner – Bixel House LLC. – has filed an application with the city planning department to level the seven bungalows on the property and replace them with 12 townhouses under the small-lot development ordinance, which allows for more dense development of single-family homes.

In arguing for the cultural significance of the bungalows, Kouyoumdjian’s application for historic status says these buildings reflect the rapid expansion of Hollywood and surrounding areas during the late 1910s and early 1920s. The bungalow court was built in 1922 by Louis Wurfl, who worked on some prominent steel projects in the L.A. area, Kouyoumdjian said.

“There is no housing structure more quintessentially Los Angeles than the bungalow court,” she states in the application.

Kouyoumdjian also says in an online petition that Wurfl Court is one of the few of its kind left in Silver Lake and Echo Park.

Nominations for historic preservation do not have to be supported by the property owner, according to the city’s Office of Historic Resources – though the owner usually participates in the designation process.

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Jesús Sanchez, Publisher

The Eastsider

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