81 Fremont Place


Old Californio Ygnacio del Valle embraced the modern Los Angeles; an automobile distributor and tractor dealer, he was also an earlier purchaser of a building site in the barely platted suburban West End of Los Angeles. When the gates of Fremont Place were built and opened in 1911, Wilshire Boulevard had been barely just paved beyond Western Avenue; lot sales were less than brisk. On March 14, 1915, the Times reported that Del Valle had purchased what appears to have been the southerly 100 feet of Fremont Place's Lot 81 from tract developer David N. Barry. Said to have been having plans prepared for a house on the lot, Del Valle decided instead to re-sell it; Colonel Louis Martin Koehler, a veteran of the Philippine campaign now retired from the Army and detailed as professor of military science and tactics at U.S.C., acquired it and made his own plans for a house. Having hired as architect and contractor the prolific Frank L. Meline, the Department of Buildings issued a permit to Koehler on August 7, 1919, to begin building #81.

Colonel Koehler died at home on Fremont Place on July 16, 1924; his widow, Maude Anthony Koehler, remained at #81 for the rest of her life, devoting much time to keeping alive the memory of her aunt, pioneer suffragist Susan B. Anthony. After she died there on January 23, 1950, the house was sold to another military officer. Vice Admiral and Mrs. Howard F. Kingman remained for many years themselves; he died at #81 on the Fourth of July 1968. Quite the believer in honoring her own ancestry back to at least the Revolution, Adelaide Kingman was the daughter of Samuel Bledsoe, a president of the Sante Fe during the '30s; on May 12, 1936, she christened the railroad's Super Chief in Chicago on its maiden run to Los Angeles. Mrs. Kingman left 81 Fremont Place after her husband died; she herself expired in Los Angeles on January 27, 1999.

The entrance of 81 Fremont Place today; on the other side of the door not
long after moving into the house, Vice Admiral and Mrs. Howard F. Kingman—a
wrist corsage and what are apparently the season's smartest shoes completing
the picture—greet their guests at a cocktail party on 
November 24, 1951.

Illustrations: Private Collection; RedfinUSCDL