Piece by Piece

In June of 2009 an “estate” sale held by two
fellows facing foreclosure was a strong call to action
by preservationists, neighbors, a journalist, and a
neighborhood association and two lions who
notified the mortgage holder.

This incredible house was being sold off piece by
piece to pay a 500+K debt…the doors, the windows,
the panelling, the light fixtures, the built-ins, the plants in the garden and the frantic parrot in the basement were
all for sale.

The sale was stopped…exhilaration!…victory!…
but the house did not sell…
Word is it will be “relisted” with a different
company and agent.

But then what? Unfortunately unless there
is a strong, enforceable conservation easement,
the house can be aquired and anything could
happen including plunder and demolition.

Sadly when an offer is made to an owner
determined to sell…the house will be sold
to someone who may have no intention
to preserve and restore.

The painting you see in this photo has
been STOLEN.


4 Responses

  1. There is always hope, this reminds of the Blacker house in Pasadena where I am from. The Blacker house was a gorgeous Greene and Greene design much like the Gamble house. The people who bought it stripped the house of all its fixtures and badly subdivided it into units. However, in 1994 a family bought and took over 5 years to restore it to its former glory. The fixtures that couldn’t be purchased back like the stained glass windows which had been sold years before were replaced with replicas using the original Greene and Greene designs. The picture posted here is of a really beautiful room from what looks like the arts and crafts area. I am just glad that the house was saved and hopefully, the next owners will be able to afford to not only buy the house but to maintain its beauty. This kind of thing is not cheap and we have a responsibility to our past, to our culture not let these monuments to slip away as it so tragically happened in Brush Park near Detroit.

  2. Thank you for your comment, Sonia!

    It is a wonderful success when new owners restore and recreate what once was so beautiful about these historic buildings!

  3. You’re right, I get so frustrated when I see really beautiful buildings allowed to fall apart or to be torn down to be replaced by mediocrity or worse turned into vacant lots. Los Angeles is famous for allowing that kind of thing to happen. But the worst by far is the city of Detroit. Google Sweet Juniper feral houses and you’ll be shocked. The abandoned school with all the books in the library strewn about or the abandoned zoo are just sad. The decline of the American empire as it were and we just allow it to happen.

    Why not reuse these buildings or subdivide these buildings into units “selling” them to people for sweat equity. A win, win situation in that families/individuals have homes in which to live and the neighborhood is refurbished and revitalized.

  4. It is sad, but I feel as long as there are people like you who document these things, it will never disappear. I’m sure people who were where we are now lost something for us to have something. I don’t know if that makes sense, but time changes and we move forward and I have to say kudos to you for bringing about awareness. Although I do hope the next owner will preserve and restore it.

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