19 St. James Park


One of only four surviving original houses of those that surrounded the greensward of St. James Park, #19 was not, in fact, the first residence to occupy its lot. The first to sit on the eastern half of Lot 32 was built for the Creighton family in 1896; one of the earliest and most charming examples of Colonial Revival domestic architecture in Los Angeles, it was designed by the esteemed team of Oliver P. Dennis and Lyman Farwell. Curiously, nine years after it went up, the house—at one point designated 21 St. James Park—was moved some yards westward to the rear of its own lot and turned 180 degrees to face Scarff Street. (The original eight full lots of the St. James Park Tract north of the east-west St. James Park roadway—originally designated West 25th Street and terminating at Chester Place at  its eastern end—were doubled-ended, facing east as well as toward Scarff; four of these lots remain part of the surviving southfacing house at 27 St. James Park, while the other four came to be occupied by at least two buildings apiece.)

Remarkably, the original Creighton house, now 2342 Scarff Street and seen below, remains standing in excellent repair. For unknown reasons, rather than build a second house facing Scarff, the family chose to go to the expense of relocating the first and build a second where it had stood. The new one was in total contrast to the first; while itself a Revival, what became #19 was in the fashionable Mission style complete with elaborate Alamoesque gables (as seen above). Now considerably altered, the whole house is identifiable as original but seriously muted. Over the ensuing decades the Creightons would variously occupy #19 and 2342 Scarff and at times rent them to others. 

As can be seen in the image above—taken from the Harold Lloyd film A Gasoline Wedding—#19 may not have been purely Mission Revival, with a front entrance portico apparently in a style more closely related to the house it replaced. This curious feature has gone missing in the house's current reduced profile.

The full story of #19 St. James Park will appear in due course.

The house at 2342 Scarff Street today (above) backs up to the
dwelling that replaced it in 1906, seen below; 2342 Scarff stands
in a leafy streetscape reminiscent of New Orleans's Garden District,
to which the St. James Park neighborhood as a whole might have
come close to resembling had it survived in a more intact state.


Illustrations: Silent Locations; Google Street View; Victorian & Craftsman Homes