Wednesday, August 10, 2011

George W. Adams -- 1645 Huntington Drive

George Adams (1865-aft 1947) arrived in Los Angeles in 1902 with his family consisting of wife Iva Binford (1871-1948), and daughters Florence E. (1897-1964) and Maude (1900- ).  George and Iva knew about Los Angeles as they were married there in 1896 while they were residents of Estherville, Iowa, where George had his law practice. George had graduated from the University of Iowa Law School in 1891--the 1906 Iowa Alumnus thought George at the time was "a fruit farmer in L.A.".  Turned out there was another George Adams in Massachusetts who was very well known for his beekeeping, but that's another story.

The family settled in South Pasadena at 1645 Huntington Drive. In 1909-1910 the residence looked like the below:

The Adams Family on Huntington Drive

Florence and Maude?
The photo shows two children in the front yard--it's very possible you see a childhood photo of Maude and Florence, who would have been nine and 12 years old at the time.  Directly behind the photographer on Huntington was the Pacific Electric Railway line which went downtown to 6th and Hill, which when followed by a short walk to the Van Nuys building, one could visit George in his office as part of the Adams, Adams, and Binford law firm.  While the "Binford" was George's brother-in-law Lewis, there is no listing for any other law-partner-Adams in L.A.'s directories of the era other than George.

Life was good for the Adams family--the L.A. Herald reported that same August they were "returning home from a month in Venice, and are leaving soon for Tahoe".  No mention of which Venice... By 1915 they had moved to the newly fashionable west side at 663 South Westmoreland Ave. and then in 1920 were residing at the Garden Court Apartments and Hotel on fashionable Hollywood Boulevard.

George's work must have been mostly usual stuff, nothing that would land him in the newspapers of the day. His only easily accessible appellate appearance came in 1920. Evidently Mrs. Minnie Ong had George write up a deed of her house, which Mrs. Ong gave to her housemaid Jennie Cole, with the intention of her taking the house after her death. The house must have been worth something because the Ong descendants descended on the courts to get the deed declared void. George was called to testify. And while the account doesn't mention it, this was probably a family feud, as Mrs. Ong may have been a close relation, since Iva's mother's maiden name was Ong. Jennie got to keep the house.

Still listed as an attorney in 1946 after 44 years in L.A., George and Iva by then were living at 3614 Country Club Drive. Iva was to pass away just two years later.

And what of our house on Huntington Drive? When the Adams' moved out, the Stamps family moved in. Lucius was retiring from his Downey farming business, and Eleanor, along with daughters Addie, Pearl, and Mary, and Eleanor's mother Susan all lived on Huntington from 1916 through the early '20s.  Evidently South Pasadena did not suit them as they had moved back to Downey by 1924, where Lucius had kept a real estate office.

Below is a photo taken of the Huntington neighborhood in 1926. The house at the right behind the palm trees is 1645 Huntington--its outline has changed as after the Stamps family left, it was converted to multi-family, with a noticeable add-on at the right rear. This crossing had both a Pacific Electric line at 90 degrees to the photo, but also there is a Southern Pacific R.R. crossing from right foreground to left background at the same intersection, which continued south to run along the east side of Alhambra Park.
1926 Looking South on Marengo across Huntington (courtesy of USC digital Collections)

The house has remained throughout the years, watching as Huntington Drive became a main auto conduit to San Marino, watching as the P.E. line tracks were pulled, and watching as the S.P. tracks were yanked.  Today, it looks like this:
A recent shot of 1645 Huntington Drive
(courtesy of the author)

The old S.P. right-of-way is still visible out of frame to the left.

The house has seen a lot of change in its 100+ years of life.

Other images:
P.E. Crossing detail at Marengo & Huntington Dr. 1926
The book's photo of G.W. in 1910
A brief write-up in California of the South, 1933


  1. Thanks for the information on George and Iva! I am putting up their memorials on a cemetery website and its nice to be able to add some bio information. I will certainly share your blog address so that others may find you as well. I used to live in Covina in the 90's and would go to look at the houses in Pasadena and San Marino (I'm an architectural historian and the one who was probably causing accidents on those streets since I wasn't paying attn to the road!) My great grandparents had a home in San Marino when I was very young, but I remember it well. A beautiful area! Thanks for the wonderful look back!

  2. cath61,
    Thanks for the note. I updated the blog entry and placed a copy of G.W.'s photo at your G.W. memorial site.


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