641 South Vermont Avenue

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On February 10, 1906, the Superintendent of Buildings issued insurance-company executive Joseph Burkhard a permit to begin construction of his new house at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Vermont; designed by architects Hudson & Munsell, it faced east toward the side street as per the Copenhagen Tract's requirements. A prolific buyer and seller of Los Angeles real estate, Burkhard and his wife Flora at first shared the house with his son Frank and his wife, with the father listed in directories at 3201 Wilshire and the son at 641 South Vermont. Soon, both were using the Vermont address. Joseph's wife died of complications from measles in 1911; after he married a considerably younger woman a year later, the new Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Burkhard moved to Pasadena, as did Frank and his wife, though not to the same house. Herman Burkhard, Frank's brother, then moved into 641 with his wife Jessica and their two children, remaining until the early '20s. Then, their house not even 20 years old, the Burkhards leased it to professionals; in December 1922, they were issued permits for alterations to accommodate a dental office. The property's value likely many times what they had in it, it may have been after repairs were made in early 1924 following a fire that the family decided to unload the old barn. It appears to have been acquired by Dwight F. McKinney, director of the Wayside Press (publishers of the Daily Doings Guide and Theatre Directory, among other things), by early 1926. Mrs. McKinney was issued a permit for several changes to the house that April; the building's use on the document was stated as "beauty parlor."

Above the title here, the house is seen in the beginning stages of demolition, for which the Department of Building and Safety had issued a permit on August 15, 1928. The full story of 641 South Vermont will be told in due course.




Circa 1930: New plans for the it perhaps delayed by the
Wall Street crash, the northwest corner of Wilshire and Vermont
would remain vacant but for taxpaying structures for five years; a
florist and a billboard—very common along Wilshire Boulevard for many
years—held the site until a more permanent structure came along in 1933. Below:
The Burkhard corner as seen on October 2, 1947, from a perspective similar to that of the
other images here. The building that went up on the site in 1933 was first occupied by
restaurateur Harry Bogen; two years later, it became a branch of the popular
Carpenter's chain. Streetcars still plied Vermont Avenue, accounting
for many of the wires seen. The tall dark building at center
left is the Gaylord apartments at Kenmore Avenue.





Illustrations: USCDLLAPL