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113 N. Primrose Avenue



Some houses and properties have fairly complicated stories to tell,  and this is surely one those houses because the answer to the question  "Who was the original owner" can't be answered easily.

The present  location of this property is in the Monroe Addition, Block D, the south  150 feet of the east 57 feet of Lots 4 & 5, so the original owner  of the property was William N. Monroe.  He sold the property in 1888 to  John H. Bartle, a banker, and John T. Stewart, a doctor, both early  Monrovians involved in civic and business affairs.  The tax description  of what they bought reads this way:  Part of Lots 4&5 beginning at  the NE corner of Lot 5 thence N 150 ft. thence W 57  thence S 150 ft  thence E 57 ft to place of beginning.

Stewart and Bartle had  bought other property in partnership before, but Stewart meant this  property for a house for him, his wife, and son.  Rather than building a  house from scratch on the property, he purchased a house that had been  owned by and probably built for R.M. Mullally.

Mullally,  originally from Ohio, had left Los Angeles to try citrus ranching in  Duarte.  Apparently it didn't suit him and he moved to what the Monrovia Planet  (19 Feb 1887) referred to as an "attractive" house on Chestnut Avenue.   Though the Mullallys owned other property in Monrovia, this is most  likely the house that Dr. Stewart purchased in 1890 and moved to the  corner of N. Primrose and W. White Oak (now W. Foothill Blvd.).

When  the house was moved, the front of it was placed so that it faced south  with a lovely view of the sloping San Gabriel Valley.  The 1908-1909  Monrovia directory gives the address as 201 W. White Oak (now W.  Foothill Blvd).  Dr. Stewart fixed up the house and added a barn to the  property, but he didn’t live there long.  He moved his medical practice  to Los Angeles and sold the house to another doctor, Russell D. Adams in  1893.

Like William Monroe, John Bartle, and John Stewart, Dr.  Adams was considered a pioneer of Monrovia, and he was extremely active  in Monrovia civic affairs until his death in 1917.  So four of the five  men associated with this house were extremely important in the early  history of Monrovia which makes what has happened to the house even more  regrettable.

The house was a common style found in Monrovia known  as a "Folk Victorian", a miniature version of the more imposing  two-story Victorians, this one with Queen Anne detailing.  The porch  brackets are delicate and lacy, the corner brackets on either side of  the bay window are detailed, and of course there is the fish scale on  the front-facing gable.  The bay windows and the large window on the  other side of the door would have had great views of the town and the  rest of the San Gabriel Valley.  The very tall wood skirting around the  perimeter of the house is an indication that the house may have had a  basement at this time.  This WAS a real gem.

The damage to the  house didn't start right away.  After Adams' death in 1917, his two  daughters continued living in the house until the early 1920s when the  house was sold to the Lindstrand family.

The 1924 directory shows  Emil Lindstrand, who worked or owned the Willard Service Station at 123  S. Myrtle, as living at the 201 W. White Oak Avenue address, so at that  time, the house still faced south.    The 1927-28 directory gives Mr.  Lindstrand's residence address as 115 N. Primrose.  The subsequent  addresses list 113 N. Primrose as the address.  It was most likely at  this time that the wooden skirting was removed, and the house placed on a  raised concrete foundation, lowering the house's elevation.  Mr.  Lindstrand lived in the house for many years with his wife Betty and  daughter Leona.

Unfortunately, about 70 years ago the owner of the  sliced it up for multiple families to live in, and for many years now,  the house has been rental property.  In spite of the house's importance  to Monrovia's history, it cannot be landmarked unless much restoration  is performed on the exterior.  As can be seen from the original picture  and the way the house looks today, much of the original exterior  architecture has been removed and/or replaced with inappropriate  materials.  This is a real loss of Monrovia's heritage.

So who was  the original owner??  Monroe?  R.M. Mullaly?  Bartle and Stewart? Dr.  Adams??  Even though Mullally built the house, he didn't live in it long  and neither did the second owner, Dr. Stewart.  So I'm going with the  man with whom the house has been associated the longest, the man who  served on the first Monrovia school board as well as tending to the  medical needs of the community for twenty-four years, Dr. Russell Adams.

Block No:

Lot No:


Construction Year:

Architectural Style:



Style Altered?

Location Changed?





4 & 5








Russell D. Adams


Monroe Addition to Monrovia Tract

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