Start your holiday season in style by visiting grand homes built during the heyday of the post-WWI, Roaring 20s and Art Deco eras, when the West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA) presents its 26th annual Holiday Historic Homes Tour & Progressive Dinner, A Warm Welcome to Wellington Square — Holidays in the Heart of the City, on Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2. A self-guided walking-only tour (no dinner) is available Sunday afternoon.
The gracious Wellington Square neighborhood vividly represents the rapid growth that Los Angeles experienced during the 1920s, in the years following “The Great War.” Most of the homes gracing the broad streets of Wellington Square reflect the eclectic styles of a vibrant young city, with Spanish, Tudor, Norman, and other “Revival” styles throughout the neighborhood. Visitors will not only tour the beautiful homes colorfully decorated for the holiday season, but will also enjoy a different food course in each house.
The 1920s were a vital as well as challenging time for Los Angeles, as well as the West Adams District, with its new Wellington Square enclave coming into its own at the same time as developers’ attentions were also drifting to other parts of the city. The iconic Hollywoodland sign first graced the hillside to the north in 1923, and new construction downtown brought us such famous landmarks as the Biltmore Hotel (1923), the Central Library (1926), and the “skyscraping” new City Hall (1927).
Wellington Square’s celebrated residents of bygone days have included the great jazz pianist Dorothy Donegan; Evelyn Freeman Roberts and her husband, Tommy Roberts, co-founders of the Young Saints Scholarship Foundation; actor-comedian Nick Stewart, who played “Lightnin'” on the “Amos ‘n’ Andy” TV series and founded the Ebony Showcase Theater; UCLA Bruins and Lakers basketball star Lucius Allen; decorated Civil War soldier Norman Ives; and Drs. John and Vada Sommerville, pioneering African American dentists, civil rights leaders and the first owners of the Dunbar Hotel (then called the Hotel Sommerville) on Central Avenue.
Wellington Square boasts one of the oldest active neighborhood associations, formed in 1923.
This year’s progressive dinner will visit a choice selection of homes and styles along the main avenue of Wellington Square. While the original grand gates that used to greet visitors are no longer there, the inviting spirit of the neighborhood will reflect the wonderful spirit of the Holidays that makes this time of year so special.
Time and prices: Docent-led tours depart every forty-five minutes, from 3:00 pm. through 6:15 p.m. on Saturday, December 1, and from 3:30 p.m. through 6:45 p.m. on Sunday, December 2. Prepaid reservations are required for the progressive dinner tour. Tickets: $85 per person. The Holiday Tour & Progressive Dinner lasts approximately three hours. No high heels, please.
Visitors for the Sunday self-guided walking tour may check in between 12:00 noon and 2:00 p.m. Houses close by 3 p.m. Tickets: $30.
Vintage attire will be admired but not required.
Address: Southwest corner of Washington & Crenshaw Blvds., Los Angeles, CA 90016. Exact address provided upon registration.
The tour will raise funds for the West Adams Heritage Association, a nonprofit organization that was founded in 1983 to support preservation of the community’s architectural and cultural heritage. WAHA has grown from a small resident support group to a recognized preservation voice with hundreds of members who live in the many neighborhoods of the Historic West Adams District.
A Warm Welcome to Wellington Square — Holidays in the Heart of the City, West Adams Heritage Association’s 26th annual Holiday Historic Homes Tour & Progressive Dinner, Saturday, December 1, and Sunday, December 2, featuring post-WWI homes built during the Roaring 20s and Art Deco era.
Most of the homes gracing the broad streets of Wellington Square reflect the eclectic styles of a vibrant young city, with Spanish, Tudor, Norman, and other “Revival” styles throughout the neighborhood. Visitors will not only tour the beautiful homes colorfully decorated for the holiday season, but will also enjoy a different food course in each house.
Time and prices: Docent-led tours every forty-five minutes, 3-6:15 pm Saturday, and 3:30-6:45 pm Sunday. Prepaid reservations required for the progressive dinner tour. $85 per person. Sunday self-guided walking-only tour (no dinner) from 12 noon to 2 pm. $30. www.WestAdamsHeritage.org, 323-735-WAHA (735-9242) or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tour raises funds for the West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA), a nonprofit organization founded in 1983 to support preservation of the community’s architectural and cultural heritage. WAHA has grown from a small resident support group to a recognized preservation voice with hundreds of members who live in the many neighborhoods of the Historic West Adams District.
This unique Colonial Revival, one of the oldest in Wellington Square, was erected during the post-World War I building boom that finally popularized the Square and other lagging housing tracts throughout Los Angeles. It is characterized by a rectangular footprint and symmetrical façade with a centered door with sidelights, accentuated with columns, and hooded to create a covered porch and balcony. Other traditional Colonial features include a hipped roof, multi-paned six-over-one double-hung windows, bay windows, and clapboard siding. This house was built for $7,000 by Frederick William Dee, the owner of the F. W. Dee Sheet Metal Contracting Company, and wife Mary Dee, who is listed as the architect. Fred Dee was also an early bicycle racer, and later was a member of the “Wheelmen of the Last Century,” a bicycle enthusiasts group that included Los Angeles Sheriff Eugene Biscailuz.
The Dee offspring lived here until it was bought by the State of California in 1950 for demolition to make way for the 10 Freeway. Luckily, a change in the freeway route saved this historic residence for future generations.
And for Highlight Hollywood readers, here’s an extra treat. Do you know that in addition to this wonderful tour, that Dorothy Dandridge’s mother’s home will also be featured in the annual acclaimed tour. Here are a few details. The home contains exquisite hand-painted murals in the dining room, the library, and also upstairs in the master bath. And it has one of the most intriguing “Clinker brick” fireplaces that our friend Flo Selfman has ever seen, with a mantel inset with semi-precious stones.
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Photographs are Courtesy: Flo Selfman
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