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. Beyond the church in the image at top is the Longyear house once at 3555 Wilshire.

As seen in February 1927: The Mariposa Slough has reasserted itself south across Wilshire Boulevard following major downpours that month. At right is the Chapman Park Hotel at Sixth and Alexandria.