Escaping Demolition, Landmark Home by Early Black Architect Will Take to the Road
Williams was black, and in 1936, the year he completed the red brick English-country-style residence, African-Americans were barred by restrictive covenants and prevailing biases from owning property in the best parts of the city.
Williams, a pre-eminent Southern California architect, lived instead in a modest house of his own design in Lafayette Square, one of the few upper-middle-class neighborhoods then open to blacks.
By the time he died in 1980, black celebrities were moving into Beverly Hills and Bel Air. The Landau House, meanwhile, named for the South African merchant who commissioned it, would continue passing from owner to owner, among them Bruce McNall, who built a vast fortune as a coin collector before going to prison for fraud, and Ronald O. Perelman, Revlon's chairman.
When it became clear that the 10,000-square-foot house would be an impediment to the expansion plans of its current owner, the elite prep school Harvard-Westlake, preservationists and neighborhood residents joined in demanding that it not be destroyed, and school officials promised to find a buyer willing to move it. They succeeded.
comments powered by Disqus
- Hull of Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley Found 150 Years Later
- U.S. Textbook Skews History, Prime Minister of Japan Says
- Recalling a Film From the Liberation of the Camps
- Skull Fossil Offers New Clues on Human Journey From Africa
- Are crude conspiracies right? Research shows nations really do go to war over oil
- Ronald Suny says historians have shied away from exploring the roots of the Armenian genocide for fear of taking attention away from the victims
- Columbia University professors Eric Foner, Alan Brinkley, and Alice Kessler-Harris to retire
- A powerhouse appropriations subcommittee is now headed by a historian: Republican Rep. Tom Cole (OK)
- Slavic scholars divided over a scholarship sponsored (and withdrawn) by Stephen F. Cohen
- Claire Strom to Step Down as Editor of Agricultural History