647 South Mariposa Avenue


Frank and Charles Chapman began developing their 80-acre subdivision, Chapman Park, in 1908. Extending from Wilshire Boulevard north to Fourth Street and from Normandie to a half-block east of Kenmore, it is marked today by Morgan, Walls & Clements's Chapman Park Market on Sixth Street. Apparently intending it to be a model home, the Chapman Brothers Company built the house at the northwest corner of Wilshire and Mariposa facing the side street and gave it the address of 647 South Mariposa; side-street orientation was a stipulation of many Wilshire-adjacent subdivisions, even on boulevard-corner lots. Woodbury Clement Pennell, cited as the architect on the construction permit issued by the Department of Buildings on July 1, 1910, was at the time associated with John C. Austin. English-style houses were a specialty of the partnership, which lasted until 1914, just as the fashion for the pretty but gloomy mode began to be eclipsed by more modern and California-appropriate designs. Businessman Ernest G. Ekstrom bought 647 in May 1911. His family remained until 1919. Afterward, John D. Hawes was in residence; by 1924 it was an inn operated by Ethel Virgil.

As seen in the Los Angeles Times on May 21, 1911

The house stood until soon after a demolition permit was issued by the city on March 3, 1931. The Wilshire Christian Church next door to its west had been dedicated four years before; the Brown Derby had opened at its original location eastward just across Mariposa in 1926, as seen here in the image at top. Beyond the church in the image at top is the Longyear house once at 3555 Wilshire. Construction on the Auburn-Fuller Building on the site of 647 South Mariposa began soon after the removal of the house from the lot; the showroom for Auburns, Cords, and Duesenbergs opened on April 12, 1932. On the fifth floor of the building were broadcast studios of radio stations FFAC and KFVD.

As seen in February 1927: The Mariposa Slough has reasserted
itself south across Wilshire Boulevard following major downpours that
month. right is the Chapman Park Hotel at Alexandria and Sixth. Five years
later, the  the Auburn-Fuller Building had replaced 647 South Mariposa and the
original Brown Derby had been demolished and replaced with a new bowler at the
northeast corner of Alexandria Avenue, just out of site at right in the 1938 view
below, taken from the top of a Wilshire Boulevard bus. The low-rise addition
to the Chapman Park Hotel in the foreground, designed by Carleton
Winslow in the Pueblo Revival style, had opened in late 1936.

A view today, similar to the previous, from the northeast corner of Wilshire and Alexandria