3520 Wilshire Boulevard


The house once at the southwest corner of Wilshire and Irolo Street—an intersection that does not today exist in the same configuration it once did—was moved to the lot in 1921 from the southeast corner of Oxford Avenue and Sixth Street, where it had been built less than 10 years before. Little is known of this particular dual-gabled dwelling, one that would have been indistinguishable from hundreds like it built in Los Angeles from about 1905 until late in the 1910s, but it is known to have been one of many speculative projects of Sanborn W. Belden; Belden, who referred to himself in advertisements as the "owner and builder of fine homes," used the house as his office and perhaps a model home during the 1910s before it was moved to Lot 78 of the Wilshire-Harvard Heights tract. Despite a 1925 offering of the corner for redevelopment, the house remained in place for another 26 years.

Dr. Conrad Deichmiller, a dentist, was in residence by 1923, both living and working at 3520; the 1925 redevelopment offer not taken up, the house then became Estrada's Spanish Kitchen restaurant by early 1927. The Depression and war years served to extend its life, as they did many boulevard houses; above is a southwesterly view taken in 1948, with 3520 at center. Soon after, none other than Louis B. Mayer and Joe Schenck gained control of the property, contracting with three brothers named Gordon to build and operate a new a café on the corner but apparently before long worming out of the deal, having all along intended only to add investment property to their portfolios. Permits for the demolition of the house were issued on January 5, 1951; on March 22, permits were issued to a company called Stripps Inc. for the new restaurant building in its place. At some point after the new collaboration of the Gordons, Mayer, and Schenck opened, the brothers contended in their 1956 $1.5 million lawsuit charging the movie moguls with fraud, they were offered considerable financial inducement, never paid, to liquidate their operation to enable Mayer and Schenck to lease the corner for 99 years. On the site now is a high-rise built in 1985.

The never-much-lived-in 3520 Wilshire spent most of its life as commercial space; this undated
aerial appears be from very early 1951 as it was being prepared for demolition.

Illustrations: USCDL