Monroe Addition to Monrovia Tract

William N. Monroe bought a large amount of property in the area that was  to become Monrovia both on his own and with others in partnership.  He  chose the property close to the foothills to purchase for himself for  several reasons.  Obviously, the main reason was that at the time, it  was a great investment.  Elias J. Baldwin needed money and was willing  to sell the property for $125 an acre.  Because the land was close to  the foothills, it offered protection for citrus trees against frost.

Monroe's property was located in the large square marked B ,  and his brother, C.O. Monroe's property was located in Block F.  Though  the property was landscaped, it was not set up for citrus production.   Monroe was far too busy with his various real estate businesses, civic  obligations, and city government participation to involve himself with  citrus ranching, though he did have citrus on his property.  His  brother, C.O. Monroe did plant his property in citrus as did other large  land holders in the Monroe Addition like the Spence Family.


Additional  streets running north and south were later cut through the blocks.   Stedman Avenue was cut through between Myrtle and Primrose on the  vertical line in Block C and goes all the way  up to Hillcrest (Banana on this map).  Acacia went in between North  Primrose and North Magnolia, along the vertical lining running through  the letters D and E  on the map.  It dead ends at Oaks Avenue which was cut through from  Myrtle Avenue to Magnolia approximately along the southern boundary of  the Monroe brothers' properties.


Melrose was laid down between  Magnolia Avenue and J.I.C. Avenue running past Banana (now Hillcrest).   There are several stories about the origin of the street name "J.I.C.".   One story is that it was named after after J.I. Case, the farm  implement manufacturer who bought property in the northern part of the  subdivision and built a large house on it (Wiley 118).  Another story is  that the street was named after a racehorse that belonged to Mr. Case.   Later the street was renamed Alta Vista Avenue.


Source:  Wiley, John L.  History of Monrovia.  Press of Pasadena Star-News, 1927.  Print.


145 Stedman Place

KNOWN DETAILS

Block No:

Lot No:

Landmarked?

Construction Year:

Architectural Style:

Contractor:

Architect:

Style Altered?

Location Changed?

Owner(s):

Demolished?

Subdivision:

C

15

No

1939

Period Revival

Unknown

Unknown

No

No

No

Monroe Addition to Monrovia Tract

1/1

Description

Dr. Lewis D. Remington, a heart and lung specialist who came to  Monrovia in 1909, built this home for him, his wife, Cassia (Prentiss),  and daughter, Beatrice Dorothea to live in. Formerly he had lived at 146  Primrose Avenue with his first wife, Lida May, who died of lung disease  in 1909.


Early pictures show the home painted white with red shutters. Originally there were cupboards built into the corners of the  dining room, but they have since been removed. There was also a  revolving cupboard as well as a small center island in the kitchen,  neither of which remain.   An unusual feature of the time was glass  brick, which he used in the walls of both bathrooms.

113 N. Primrose Avenue

KNOWN DETAILS

Block No:

Lot No:

Landmarked?

Construction Year:

Architectural Style:

Contractor:

Architect:

Style Altered?

Location Changed?

Owner(s):

Demolished?

Subdivision:

D

4 & 5

No

1887

Victorian

Unknown

Unknown

No

Yes

No

Monroe Addition to Monrovia Tract

1/5

Description

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.

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