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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Will the home of Billy's Gangplank become Echo Park's next historic landmark?

The city's Cultural Heritage Commission voted today to consider declaring the home of art dealer Billy Shire a historic cultural landmark. Shire's hard to miss home -which he once described as having "a tiki-nautical thing going on" - is already an unofficial neighborhood landmark in the Elysian Heights section of Echo Park. The front of the attention getting home is entered through a front-porch structure, dubbed "Billy's Gangplank," that was created and built by his brother and neighbor, sculptor Peter Shire. The Shires consider Billy's Gangplank a work of art but city inspectors have expressed a different view on the matter.

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The city's Building & Safety Department has viewed the porch as an illegally permitted structure, according to a story The Eastsider published in March. In addition to Billy Shire's home on Vista Gordo, the Cultural Heritage Commission also agreed to consider a landmark nomination for the mid-century home designed by their father, Henry Shire, on nearby Princeton Street.

The commission also agreed to review an monument application for a third Echo Park area home (this one, however, was not connected by the Shires) on Mayberry Street.

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