Alvarado Terrace is a designated historic district in Pico Union bounded approximately by Pico Boulevard, Alvarado Street, Bonnie Brae Street and Venice Boulevard.
Alvarado Terrace is contained within the original four square leagues decreed in 1781 under Spanish law as the Pueblo of Los Angeles. In 1902, the area was divided into lots that sold for $10 each, sold on the condition that a house costing at least $4,000 be built on the lot. By 1906, the development was full.
Alvarado Terrace includes well-preserved homes, most built between 1902 and 1906, and the First Church of Christ Scientist (now Central Spanish Seventh-Day Adventist Church) built in 1912. The homes include Craftsman, Victorian and Mission style architecture. A real estate brochure from 1903 described the neighborhood this way: "The only exclusive Residential Tract in the city. Beautiful Parks. Shade Trees Planted. High Class building restrictions. No flats, cottages or stores. Wide streets conforming to the contour of the land with cement sidewalks, curbs and gutters. Perfect sewer system, water, gas, electric lights..."
In an effort to enhance the neighborhood, one of its chief promoters (and president of the City Council), Pomeroy Powers, persuaded the city in 1904 to construct a park along Alvarado Terrace. Originally called Summerland Park, the park was soon renamed Terrace Park. The park included a fish pond, rosebeds, an underground tool shed, and a full-time gardener. The park was later remodeled with only grass and trees. There is a small strip of brick-paved street at the north end of the park known as "Powers Place" that holds the distinction as the "shortest street in Los Angeles." The park and brick-paved street were declared a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM #210) in February 1979.
Alvarado Terrace has the distinction of having six houses on a single block (all on the north side) designated as Historic-Cultural Monuments by the City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission. The six houses were designated as Historic-Cultural Monument nos. 83-88 in July 1971. The houses were built on a raised terrace overlooking Terrace Park. The designated homes were built between 1902 and 1905 and reflect a rich eclecticism in their architectural style. They include Craftsman, Victorian, Mission, Tudor, and Shingle style architecture. A real estate brochure from 1903 described the neighborhood this way: "The only exclusive Residential Tract in the city. Beautiful Parks. Shade Trees Planted. High Class building restrictions. No flats, cottages or stores. Wide streets conforming to the contour of the land with cement sidewalks, curbs and gutters. Perfect sewer system, water, gas, electric lights..." With the park and well-preserved homes, the district provides a complete historic neighborhood that has been featured in motion picture and television productions. While the surrounding area has been described as "low-income and multicultural," the Los Angeles Times in 1991 described Alvarado Terrace as "a slice of L.A.'s genteel and moneyed past preserved."
As one enters Alvarado Terrace from the north, the first of the designated homes is Boyle-Barmore House, located at 1317 Alvarado Terrace (pictured, above left). Built in 1905, the house was designed by architect Charles E. Shattuck in a Craftsman style with Tudor influences, including a three-gabled dormer. The house was built for Calvin A. Boyle, one of the founders of the Hollywood Board of Trade. The house was acquired in 1908 by Edmund H. Barmore, president of the Los Angeles Transfer Company. The house was used in the 1980s as a women's shelter by the Union Rescue Mission.
The second of the designated homes on the north side of the street is the Cohn House at 1325 Alvarado Terrace. Built in 1902, the house was designed by Frank D. Hudson and William Munsell. Hudson and Munsell also designed the Museum of Science and Industry, the first museum built in the city's Exposition Park. Cohn House combines Craftsman style in its first floor of rock-faced sandstone, and a second level reflecting the Shingle style. The house also has three gabled dormers that give the house the look of a Swiss chalet. The house was built for Morris Cohn, a textile manufacturer. Cohn has the distinction of having both his residence and his textile factory designated as Historic-Cultural Monuments (HCM #84 and HCM #110). Cohn House was used in the 1980s as a men's shelter by the Union Rescue Mission.
Gilbert House, located at 1333 Alvarado Terrace (pictured above right), was built on speculation in 1903 by Ida and Pomeroy Powers, who also built and lived in the Powers House next door. Gilbert House is one of the most eye-catching homes in the district built with a mix of Victorian, Shingle-Style and Craftsman styles. The house was first purchased and occupied by Wilbur F. Gilbert, a wealthy Texas oil man. Gilbert's daughter, Carolyn McCulloch (d. December 24, 1992), was still living in the house in the 1980s.
Powers House at 1345 Alvarado Terrace (HCM #86) was built in 1903 for Pomeroy Wells Powers and his wife Ida. Designed by Arthur L. Haley, the home is built in the Mission Revival style, and has been described as "exuberant" and the "flashiest on the block" for its fanciful stucco curlicue. The stucco house has an arcaded veranda that supports a second-floor balcony. Rising from the balcony are towers connected by a curved parapet wall. The large corner tower has a loft room accessible only from the home's exterior.
The Tudor-style Raphael House at 1353 Alvarado Terrace (HCM #87), built in 1903, was designed by architects Sumner P. Hunt and Wesley A. Eager. Hunt was also responsible for the Raymond Hotel in Pasadena, the Casa de Rosas in North University Park, the Automobile Club building at Figueroa and West Adams, and Ebell of Los Angeles. Originally owned by Robert H. Raphael, the owner of Raphael Glass Company, the house is noted for its extensive use of both stained and leaded glass. Over the Labor Day weekend in 1995, the owner stripped Raphael House of some of its finer accessories, including stained glass windows, wooden fireplaces, and even the plaques identifying its historical status. The city's Department of Building and Safety stepped in and ordered the owner to return the fixtures or face fines and possible jail time.
Built in 1902, the Kinney-Everhardy House at 1401 Alvarado Terrace (HCM #88) was built by the same architects (Hunt & Eager) who designed the Raphael House next door. The house has been described as "an eclectic combination of elements from both the Queen Anne and Shingle styles."