115 Fremont Place


In May 1905, real estate developer David Noble Barry began construction on a house for his family at 2219 Hermosa Street—by 1909 aligned with and renamed South Gramercy Place—capitalizing on the private street with imposing gates that had opened for public viewing directly eastward across the street just the month before. It seems certain that the gates of Berkeley Square were thus a model for those of Fremont Place, the subdivision that Barry and his collaborators would open six years later in a district that would soon eclipse even the newer westerly neighborhoods of the West Adams corridor. Barry seems not to have wanted to be the first to build on the barren rolling 50 acres within his own imposing new gates; it wasn't until a few years after the tract opened that he made the move, as so many would, from a leafy, established suburb (if one actually only a decade old) to the barren, barely developed West End (as the nascent neighborhoods in the vicinity of Fremont Place were then collectively called). While no original building permit for 115 Fremont Place has yet been seen, Barry and his family were listed at that address beginning with the 1916 edition of the Los Angeles city directory. More houses began to rise with his tireless promotion of the subdivision; by 1925, Fremont Place was an unqualified success.

Above, a 1904 rendering of the gates of Berkeley Square that
David Barry would have seen from his house at 2219 South Gramercy Place
 depicts a central vehicle entrance, classical colonnades, and flanking pedestrian gates.
It seems clear that the developer directed architect J. Martyn Haenke to follow a
similar configuration when designing the four concrete gates of Fremont Place
in 1911, landmarks since shorn of their colonnades and side gates.

David Barry had many other irons of development in the fire; while Fremont Place may have been the feather in his cap, it could be that he had thoughts of moving on to one of his newest projects as the Place became popular and a large profit could be realized on #115. In March 1924, at the time that Barry and his wife Belle were planning summerlong European travels, a sizable classified advertisement ran in the Times offering #115 for sale as a

"house of twelve rooms besides sun room and sleeping porch, with five baths. Five family bedrooms and two servants' rooms.... The interior is finished in mahogany, oak, brick and enamel. The large entrance hall has walls paneled in mahogany.... The wide staircase of oak and mahogany...has a landing 12x12 feet with four windows.... Price only $47,500. Easy payments if desired."

It seems that Barry did not receive an offer he couldn't refuse. He and Belle returned to Fremont Place and would stay for many years. They did, perhaps pertaining to another trip, offer the house for rent, at $125 a month, in the spring of 1937; but David Barry would still be living at #115 when he died on May 17, 1944. Belle Stone Barry died on June 5 of the following year and joined her husband at Forest Lawn.

Illustrations: Google Maps; LAT