Resource Description

Resource Summary

Names
Ben Avenue Residential Historic District (Primary)
Resource Types
District
Important Dates
No dates recorded
Keywords (Subjects)
1930s
1920s
1940s
Equitable Realty Company
suburbanization
car

Location Information

Addresses
Location Description
No descriptions recorded
Administrative Areas
North Hollywood - Valley Village Community Plan Area (Community Plan Area)
Los Angeles City Council District 2 (Council District)
MID-TOWN NORTH HOLLYWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL (Neighborhood Council)
N. HOLLYWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD (Neighborhood)

Classification

Classification
Type: Residential District
Related Features
No features recorded

Resource Descriptions

General Description
The Ben Avenue Residential Historic District is located in the North Hollywood area of the San Fernando Valley. Bounded by Victory Boulevard to the north and Erwin Street to the south, this small historic district is two blocks long and includes both sides of Ben Avenue. It contains 41 buildings, of which 33 are contributors. Lot sizes within the Ben Avenue Residential Historic District are modest and all of the buildings are set back from the street with shallow front lawns. All of the historic district's buildings are single-family residences. Contributors are all one story, small in scale, and consistent in their setbacks, massing, and lot coverage. They represent at least two periods of development: one in the late 1920s and a second in the immediate post-World War II period. The 1920s homes include Spanish Colonial Revival and French Norman Revival styles. The later buildings are Minimal Traditional in style. The streets within the Ben Avenue Residential Historic District are consistent with the regular street grid of the area. Tract features include concrete sidewalks, cast stone street lamps, and street trees. Mature camphor trees line both sides of Ben Avenue, creating an overarching canopy. All contributors have front lawns, some of which have been enclosed by low walls and fences, and detached rear garages accessed by long concrete driveways running along the side of parcels within the historic district.

Summary of Significance
The Ben Avenue Residential Historic District is significant as an excellent example of an early automobile suburb in North Hollywood. The historic district retains overall integrity with intact residences and tract features. Its contributors retain their original plans, massing, scale, style, and character-defining features. The period of significance for the historic district is 1928 to 1948, which captures its major periods of development and the period of time during which the majority of its buildings were constructed. Of the Ben Avenue Historic District's 41 houses, 80% contribute to the district's significance. The tract in which the Ben Avenue Residential Historic District is located was subdivided by its owners Henry, Caroline, and Gottfried Wittekind in 1928, and had no formal tract or subdivision name. The Equitable Realty Company purchased several lots and built houses on them for sale in 1928-1929, but in most cases, individuals purchased lots and made their own design and building arrangements. This is reflected in the architectural character of the historic district; despite the consistency of massing, setbacks, and features such as rear detached garages, no two houses are stylistically identical. Residents of this portion of Ben Avenue in the 1920s included members of the film industry, professionals, and business owners, suggesting an upper middle class demographic during its initial period of development. The historic district is located near the intersection of two major thoroughfares, Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Victory Boulevard (originally named Pacoima Avenue and 7th Street, respectively). It is less than half a mile west of Lankershim Boulevard, the primary historic transportation route through this part of the San Fernando Valley. The historic district was about a mile north of the Southern Pacific Railroad line and the Pacific Electric Railway line; however, the presence of garages indicates that even in the 1920s the area's residents relied on automobiles as their primary mode of transportation.


External System References

SurveyLA ID: 13e28d1b-fa21-413f-af57-d1f7320d53ba

Resource Significance

Evaluation Details

Date Evaluated
2013-02-13
Context/Theme
Residential Development and Suburbanization, 1850-1980
Automobile Suburbanization, 1908-1937
Suburban Planning and Development, 1908-1937
Automobile Suburb
Subdivision
Eligibility Standards
  • As a whole, retains the essential physical and character-defining features from the period of significance
  • Conveys a strong visual sense of overall historic environment from the period of significance
  • Should retain integrity of Feeling, Setting, Design, Location, and Association
  • Demonstrated historic affiliation with automobile transit, either through widespread advertisement, original planning documents, or newspaper articles
  • Developed primarily with single-family residences from the period of significance
  • Early examples that are located a mile or more from historical streetcar routes are particularly significant
  • Early examples may be located near a streetcar route so that both methods of transit could be used by residents
  • Original streetscape features, such as street trees and lights, may be missing in limited amounts
  • Some contributors may have been moved into the area
  • Rectilinear design
  • Street improvements such as curb and gutter, historic streetlights, sidewalks, parkways and street trees common
  • Streetscape and contributors possess original design elements intended to support personal automobile use such as garages and driveways
  • A single residential tract or subdivision, or part thereof, recorded by a subdivider
  • Within districts, the threshold of integrity for contributing properties is defined as the ability of a particular residence to reflect the architectural style and form that it would have possessed at the time of construction
  • Demonstrates early response of personal automobile use on suburban development
  • Infill development allowed if it does not disrupt the residential character
  • Integrity Aspects
    Retains sufficient integrity to convey significance
    Location
    Design
    Materials
    Workmanship
    Feeling
    Setting
    California Historic Resources Status Codes (explanation of codes)
    5S3
    3S
    3CS
    Significance Statement
    Excellent example of an early automobile suburb of single family homes in the South San Fernando Valley. Represents automobile-centric residential suburban planning in North Hollywood during the 1920s, 30s and early 40s.
    Periods of Significance
    From: 1928-01-01
    To: 1948-12-31

    Related Resources

    Related Historic Resources

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    6260 N BEN AVE (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
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    6235 N BEN AVE (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
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    6215 N BEN AVE (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    6234 N BEN AVE (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    6325 N BEN AVE (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    6218 N BEN AVE (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)

    Related Historic Districts

    None

    Related Activities

    None

    Related Historic Events

    None

    Related People/Organizations

    Architectural Resources Group (Surveying Firm, was surveyed by / surveyed)

    Related Information Resources

    Images
    Documents
    SurveyLA: North Hollywood-Valley Village Historic Resources Survey Report (Document/Text, is referred to in / refers to)