74 Fremont Place

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One of the more obscure houses of Fremont Place is #74. While remarkably few of the subdivision's original houses have been completely destroyed, it is dim consolation that such such has not been the fate of #74. The house falls into the second category of ruined Fremont Place houses, those that have had all original character stripped from their façades for visages that are either overblown (see for example #101) or, in the case of #74, bland. Given the times and the purse of the targeted buyer, this spec house built in 1922 would likely have had great architectural merit compared to what it has come to be.

George Taylor was a prolific Los Angeles builder who had acquired a southerly portion of Fremont Place's Lot 76 after the initial dream (and attendant promotional hype) of the developers for the tract to become a community of large "in-town" estates was dropped in favor of a huge demand for upper-middle-class housing by migrants from West Adams and elsewhere during the population explosion of the '20s. He divided his parcel still further, planning two 10-room houses of varying designs to be built one after the other; once #74 was completed in 1922, he then built #76. Permits to begin construction of #74 and its garage were issued to Taylor by the Department of Buildings on January 10, 1922. No architect is specified on the document. Taylor sold the house soon after it was finished to oil man Joseph K. Tobin, who turned around and put it on the market in early 1924. It wouldn't be until May 1925 that number 74 was either sold or leased to another oil operator, James R. McKinnie. No stay in the house, at least in its early years, was for very long; in early 1927, widow Amelia Tremaine and her daughter Gretchen followed McKinnie, who had acquired the northerly portion of Lot 76 and would be building #72 the next year. Next up was another Ohio widow and her grown daughter, Ella and Winona Godfrey; Mrs. Godfrey died at #74 on October 2, 1931.

While the 2,242-square-foot addition made to the house was mostly to the rear, the remodeling included the destruction the house's original façade. Only the shadow of a Los Angeles Times photograph from a sales display advertisement on February 3, 1924, seen at top, remains to suggest its original appearance.

The full story of 74 Fremont Place will appear in due course.  




Illustrations: LAT