Untold LA

Photographing the Astonishing Homes of LA's West Adams District

In 2012 photographer Jett Loe encountered the forgotten Los Angeles District of West Adams, the original wealthy area of town, the “Beverly Hills before Beverly Hills.”  Filled with an astonishing collection of Victorian and Craftsman homes in vibrant, diverse neighborhoods West Adams proved to be a revelation.  Following a successful Kickstarter campaign Jett spent two years producing this mammoth delight of a book that documents the variety of homes and people in the area.

Totaling a fully interactive 365 pages with 500 photos, 70 oral history audio clips from West Adams residents and two hours of behind-the-scenes video commentary, Untold LA is a massive treasure trove for lovers of Los Angeles, American history and architecture.

The Colonel Stearns Residence

[As part of the remit to make the Untold LA iPad Book available to as many people as possible I'll be posting photos from the book in sequential order on a regular basis until it is completely online.] 

Adjacent to the Doheny Campus of Mount St. Mary’s College is the St. James Park area of North University Park.  The grand home of St. James, is the 6,000 square foot Colonel Stearns Residence, a Colonial Revival built in 1900 sitting on three-quarters of an acre.

Even though the home’s exterior is Colonial Revival, the photo below from its early life shows the interior originally seems to have been, in part, Art Nouveau-influenced Victorian.

Below: the Drawing Room, which features a rarity for West Adams, style that tends towards the French.

Below: the Living Room, with Library beyond on the left.

In the 1930’s the Billiard Room, Den and Powder Room were combined to form this Library.

The Stearns has long been known by Hollywood. We see its exterior in the 1919 Mary Pickford hit Daddy-Long-Legs as the home of the wealthy Daddy himself, Jervis Pendleton.

The interior of the home has been used as well, right up to the present day. Below you can see the Library in January 2014 standing in for the New York townhouse of a severe Police Captain in the television comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

The still-working Kitchen Annunciator used to notify servants when they were needed.

On the grounds we find additional buildings, originally for servants, now rented to USC students.