126 Fremont Place


The pretty American Colonial house at the northeast corner of Fremont Place West and Tenth Street appears from the curb to stand much as it was built in 1921. While it was a contractor's house, 126 was the kind of contractor's house one wants, theoretically. In this case it was intended as an experienced builder's own residence, into which particular attention to materials and craftsmanship would presumably have been paid. Edward Carey English had been in business with his brother, Richard, in Champaign, Illinois, since 1901. While Edward appears to have maintained an interest in the lucrative partnership back east, he set up a new company on his own on moving with his wife and two sons to Los Angeles in 1919. Exactly why the family left the Midwest is unclear, but things seem to have gotten off to a rough start, or at least a sad one. It seems that Susan, the 11-year-old third child of the Englishes, had been left behind, presumably with relatives and to be sent for later, but not before she died on January 10, 1920. The rest of the family was living on Berendo Street in Los Angeles at the time. Edward English may have had good connections in the city that enabled him to get started in his new business; he certainly had the capital. Perhaps as solace to his grieving wife, who may have also blamed him for the uprooting, he bought the southerly third of Lot 120 in smart Fremont Place, its gates signifying protection from the world. English received a permit to begin construction of his new house from the Department of Buildings on April 23, 1921.

Apparently, Harriet English was not so easily soothed. Citing that an even million dollars in community property was involved, the Los Angeles Times reported on December 7, 1922, that she was suing her husband for separate maintenance—$500 a month—charging him with cruel and inhuman treatment. While of course these were legal terms for details that were presumably a bit more complicated, Mrs. English's idea of cruel treatment included that on one occasion Edward had locked her out of his bedroom and that on another he "got up in the middle of the night, dressed himself and went away without offering any explanation." Mr. English was going to pay and pay and pay for such vicious behavior. Until, that is, there was a reconciliation and an expiating if not celebratory trip to Hawaii in July 1923, after which the family settled back into #126. There the Englishes managed to keep their differences in check until they couldn't any longer and split for good by the end of the decade. Harriet moved with Junior to a rented house on Sixth Street in which Edward appears to have had an interest; he moved to an apartment on Western Avenue. The house at 126 was rented for a number of years until it was bought in the mid '30s by physician E. Eric Larson, who would remain for 20 years.

Illustration: MLS