508 S. Ivy Avenue
Among those who flocked to the new Town of Monrovia during the great land boom of the Eighteen Eighties in Southern California was a young architect, Luther Reed Blair. Blair went into partnership with Uriah Zimmerman, a building contractor, and the two men were responsible for some of Monrovia's finest early buildings. The "Monrovia Planet": for May 28, 1887 mentions that they had plans almost ready for the Orange Avenue School, as well as the residences of M.S. Monroe, Jefferson Patten, E.P. Large, and Dr. Stewart.
Several months later the "Planet" mentioned that Blair's personal residence was nearing completion at the corner of Ivy and Olive Avenues. Blair was active in Monrovia fraternal circles as well as the business community, being a charter member of both the Odd Fellows Lodge and the Masonic Lodge.
The general stagnation after the collapse of the boom meant little work for those in the building trades, and in 1895, Blair sold the house to Andrew Ryder and sought work elsewhere. The house was purchased in 1906 by Thomas Wardall, who came to Duarte in 1878 and was prominent in that community before retiring to Monrovia. Wardall was active in Monrovia real estate during the boom, and again after the turn of the last century.
In 1910, the Wardalls moved into a new house in Wardall's Orange Grove Tract, but retained ownership of the Blair House. In 1927, the house was moved sixteen blocks from its original location to 319 W. Duarte Road, where it remained for nearly seventy years. For over fifty of those years, the house was owned by the Lisle family. When the last family member to live in the house moved into a retirement facility in 1992, the property was placed on the market and the fate of the house was uncertain.
That uncertainty was put to rest on April 12, 1993 when the Blair House returned to Ivy Avenue after a sixty-six year hiatus. The City of Monrovia, through its encouragement and cooperation, was instrumental in making the project possible, and the home of Monrovia's pioneer architect will be restored to appear as it did on his drawing board so long ago.
The pictures here show the house at its present location. The house is privately owned and is in the process of being restored.