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Jefferson Park, Preservation Tales, Proposed HPOZs, Restoration Projects

Old Los Angeles Had a Farm

The farmhouse as it appeared at the beginning of its restoration. (Photo taken from starrfarmhouse.com)

We have been working with folks in the Jefferson Park area to understand that neighborhood’s cultural and architectural importance in this vast city. You might have noticed that the public hearing for the neighborhood’s HPOZ hearing was announced here. Amidst the process we came to learn about a pretty remarkable property within the potential HPOZ: the Starr Dairy Farmhouse.

The farmhouse was built in 1887, which in the spectrum of Los Angeles history is  a whole lot older than the donut shop on your corner. The Starr/Estrella Dairy was founded over 120 years ago to sell dairy to the growing City of Los Angeles, which at the time was a short ways away from the farm. The farmhouse, though a modestly sized house, was designed by noted architect Joseph Newton Preston, whose other commissions include the original Los Angeles High School and Los Angeles County Courthouse. The farm would eventually be subdivided into residential parcels as Los Angeles grew through the 1900s and 1910s, thus bringing us Jefferson Park. You can learn more about the farmhouse by visiting its blog.

Owner David Rapossa purchased purchased the property a few years ago in shambles. Though many of the alterations that have happened at the house are in and of themselves significant (for instance, an out-building was cozied-up to the side of the house once attached kitchens became popular), a good many of the alterations were damaging, and the house was in dramatic disrepair. Rapossa, along with fellow preservation expert Laura Myers have been taking pain-staking efforts to restore the house. Walls have been stripped to lathe-and-plaster; a porch addition has been removed; original paint colors have been sluethed out; and structural and mechanical systems have been updated and hidden away.

We love that the house still stands as a reminder of our collective past, and we are excited to watch the progress of this important restoration project.

Once the porch was removed, remnants of the original smoky gray color could be seen.

Preservationists Rapossa and Myers enthusiastically tell the story of the farmhouse's restoration.

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