95 Fremont Place


The second of two speculative projects started in 1927 on Lot 95 by Llewellyn Iron Works executive Benjamin Harwood was begun around the time his first, #93 on the northerly 75 feet of the parcel, would have been nearing completion in the spring; on May 3, the Department of Building and Safety issued a permit allowing construction to commence on #95. Harwood, who had built his own half-timbered English house around the corner at #128 five years before employing the now dissolved firm of Corwin & Merrill, chose Pasadena architect Albert J. Schroeder to design two signature Spanish-derived styles of 1920s Southern California. Described in a 1952 Times classified advertisement as Monterey Revival and with a more formal appearance than its companion, #95 appears to have been in the midst of construction when Harwood died unexpectedly at home on July 17. His widow managed to get the two projects on Lot 95 finished and on the market without too much delay. Curiously, #95 appears to have come by an occupant rather quickly—and just as quickly been vacated after the lessee (or new owner) decided, as an August 1928 series of Times classified advertisements for its "exquisite furnishings" had it, that he would be "Leaving for Europe Sept. 1." Number 93 was kept by Mrs. Harwood as a rental and would become her own home after she remarried in 1934; it is likely that #95 was similarly retained. Once Wall Street laid its egg and turned thousands of recently built upper-end suburban Los Angeles houses into white elephants, sales of the two extra Harwood residences would have been difficult. In 1931, #95 was leased to oil man Cresap P. Watson, a native of Santa Barbara. After the Watsons bought a house on Hudson Avenue, #93 appears to have continued as a rental; after Warner Bros. publicity director George H. Thomas left 121 Fremont Place, which he had been renting during the mid '30s, he took a lease on #95 and stayed into the war years.

Illustration: MLS