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Monday, June 15, 2009

A Chinatown Victorian makes its move to Highland Park *

If you are planning to drive through Highland Park, don't be surprised if you see an 1870s Gothic Revival cottage in the slow lane. That would be the John A. Donnelly House, which has had its roof removed in preparation for a move from Bartlett Street in Chinatown to its new home, a lot on Avenue 64 in the Garvanza District of Highland Park. The moved was scheduled for tonight but has been postponed a week (see upate below). The house was threatened with demolition until it was rescued by preservationist Brad Chambers, reports Nicole Posert of the Highland Park Heritage Trust. Here are more details from Possert about the move and the home's history:

"The house will be coming through Highland Park along Marmion Way to Monte Vista to Piedmont to Figueroa to York Boulevard and then up to its new home on N. Avenue 64 across from the Church of the Angels.

The house has been located on Bartlett Street in Chinatown since it was moved there in 1886 on land that had been subdivided by former Los Angeles Mayor Prudent Beaudry. John A. Donnelly and his family initially leased the land from Beaudry, but then bought it in 1889.

The land in Garvanza that the house will settle on was also owned by Beaudry at the same time, until he sold it to Augustine Campbell-Johnston whose family established a ranch on the property.

The house had been sheathed in stucco since 1986 and was scheduled for demolition until it was researched for the landowner and it true rarity was determined. Arrangements were made with preservationist Brad Chambers to move the house to the Garvanza property where he moved and restored another historic Chinatown home several years ago.

In preparation for the move, Chambers had the stucco removed (pictured) and exposed the structures original siding and shingled gable. The aluminum slider windows were removed and historic windows matching the original openings were installed.

In final preparation for the move, the house was then stripped and the roof was removed so that it will be able to easily pass under electrical lines along the route. Once at its new site, the house will be lifted by a crane onto its new foundation on a small bluff at the rear of the Garvanza property.

Once reassembled and restored, the house will be nominated as a Historic Cultural Monument for the City of Los Angeles."

* Update: The house moved planned for tonight has been postponed a week, according to owner Brad Chambers. "Alas, City and Cal Trans complications have delayed the move to next Monday night. The house is on wheels now and no parking signs (currently up) will be taken down and put back next week. The mover feels pretty good about no issues for next week."

Photos by Charles Fisher

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