Sunday, March 10, 2013

This Old House

 Yesterday I ventured to the Lummis house, which is located near the Arroyo Seco in Northeast Los Angeles. The Lummis house is interesting for a couple reasons. First of all, it is an odd mishmash of disparate architectural styles. From the photos below you can see elements of mission revival and craftsman, and then there are other elements, which are straight from a medieval European castle.

The other interesting aspect of this house is its creator. The builder of this architectural oddity, Charles Fletcher Lummis, was quite the character and jack-of-all-trades. Lummis was a poet, historian, activist, photographer and librarian. Not only did he build this house with his own hands in the late 19th century, he also walked to Los Angeles by foot all the way from Cincinnati. When he arrived in Los Angeles he took the position of being the city editor for the Los Angeles Times.

Other crazy facts about Lummis, which I found to be quite intriguing were the parties he threw at the house, which dubbed "Noises." Our tour guide said that the floors in the house were concrete and each section of the house was built at a slightly higher elevation than the next to provide for easy cleaning; you could just hose off the whole house after each party.

We went to a lecture and behind the scenes tour of the Southwest Museum (which Lummis founded) and one person asked the curator, "Could you please describe the nature of these so called 'Noise' parties?" The curator answered by saying that they were literary salons. While the likes of Jack London and John Muir, among others literary and political figures, came to such parties, I have a feeling they may have been a little more like the parties they had at the Playboy Mansion in the 60s and 70s. Apparently Lummis was quite the ladies man as well!

In addition to the very practical and innovative concrete floors, the inside of the house had some unique features. My favorites include this window made up of photographs, many depicting Native Americans. There was also this fireplace with a very "cheeky" inscription. Again, another clue which adds to my theory that this was a pretty swinging house back in the day.

Also some creatures were presented on the premises of the Lummis house, including this very cute squirrel and...a Parisian chicken with a pink beret? As you can see I wore my J. Crew French Hen sweater. Even though it was a beautiful day there was still a hint of chill in the air. 

Last of all, as I mentioned we went to the Southwest Museum. We were able to go into the tower of the museum and the only way to get up is to trek up a long and winding staircase. Here is a picture of the top looking down. It creates sort of a surreal visual image! I'm also including an image of the view which can be scene from the top of the tower.


  1. that staircase photo is perfection!
    what a quirky little spot - thanks for sharing!

    1. Yes, quirky is a great way to describe it! The staircase photo is my favorite too.

  2. All of your day trips always look so fun! I enjoy learning more about CA's history and landmarks too. I can't believe that inscription on the fireplace, and that staircase looks amazing!

    1. Thank you M! I really do enjoy taking these sojourns. I'm always up for an adventure and it's amazing what obscure places you can find around here.


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