Subdivisions | Town of Monrovia

The Town of Monrovia Subdivision was made up of lots 35-45 of the Santa Anita Track (shown in the picture to the right), owned by Elias J. Baldwin,  and a sliver, owned by L.L. Bradbury, of the western section of Rancho Azusa de Duarte.  William N. Monroe had previously purchased from Baldwin Lot 43 in order to build a home for his family.  Other Santa Anita lots were purchased individually from Baldwin by Edward F. Spence, John D. Bicknell, James F. Crank, and J.F.  Falvey.  These men and Monroe all had known each other from business and society connections in Los Angeles.  Spence was a former mayor of Los Angeles, Bicknell a former judge, and Monroe had served on the Los Angeles City Council.  Crank, like Baldwin, had been a railroad builder, but he lived in Pasadena, not Monrovia.  Jeremiah F. Falvey had been the foreman of Baldwin’s Rancho Santa Anita.

Together these men decided to combine their lots under the business name of the Monrovia Land and Water Company.  They understood that the completion of the Santa Fe and Southern Pacific railroads to California would bring in many new people looking for homes and investment opportunities, so buying up land for a new community seemed a good move.  The combined lots Falvey, Spence, Bicknell, Monroe and Crank formed the Town of Monrovia Subdivision.  (Please map to the right.)  Engineers John Quinton and John Flanagan plotted out sixty acres, with the center at Orange (now Colorado) and Myrtle Avenues.  

They divided the property into Blocks A-Y, and each block was subdivided into twenty-four 50 by 160 foot lots.  The boundaries for the Town of Monrovia Subdivision were Magnolia Avenue on the west, Lime Avenue on the north, Charlotte Avenue (now Canyon Boulevard) on the east, and Walnut Avenue on the south.  East and west running streets were given the names of trees: Lime, Lemon, Orange, Olive, and Walnut.  North and south running streets were given the names of flowers and women: Magnolia, Primrose, Myrtle (Monroe's daughter), and Charlotte (now Canyon).  

Town of Monrovia Subdivision map

The Town of Monrovia Subdivision was recorded in Los Angeles by Judge Bicknell on May 21st, 1886.  The Town of Monrovia Subdivision was itself subdivided almost immediately as the Monrovia Land and Water Company sold most of its holdings very quickly.  The lucky buyers were the ones who turned around and sold their purchases for a substantial profit.  Most of the  buyers who held onto their purchases for speculation saw  land values dwindle to a fraction of their 1886-1887 value.  Consequently, there is almost no biographical information in this data base for many lot owners.  

They purchased land here (but often erected no buildings), lost it quickly, and were never heard from again.  Sometimes their names do not even appear in the tax records, and many lots owners are listed as  “Unknown.”  Other lots were sold for taxes (SFT), and the original owners walked away.  Other owners had kindly friends make the tax payments for them.  This type of tax information will be recorded on the specific lot history page.

By 1886, Monroe was already living in Monrovia, though not in the Town of Monrovia Subdivision, and Spence's home was in the planning stages.  Falvey had a citrus orchard in Monrovia, though he may have stayed in his residence on Baldwin property.  Additionally, Spence and Monroe had brothers who also lived in the town and their nieces and nephews attended local schools.  The Monrovia Land and Water Company set up its office on Myrtle in the Town of Monrovia Subdivision. The fact that three of the  five investors in the new town actually had business interests, homes, and extended families in residence may be considered a large reason why Monrovia survived the economic depression of 1888, when many other boom towns in the area dried up.

101 E. Lime Avenue

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This ad for the Renaker Funeral Parlor appeared in a booklet entitled Your Monrovia Home published by the Monrovia Merchants Association in 1930. Even though the ad indicates the funeral parlor had been in business for forty years, it had only been located at this site since 1911, which is most likely the date for this picture.

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The Myrtle Avenue view of Lots 15 and 16 today. The address is now 342 S. Myrtle Ave.

This detail form a Sanborn map shows Lot 15 from the Lime Avenue side.

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 15

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1911

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): James J. McLachlan

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

In the 1888 tax records, the owner of this lot is unknown, but the value of the land reflects its prime position as a corner lot on the northeast corner of South Myrtle and East Lime Avenues.  It is assessed at $800, and the value after equalization is $300.  The tax assessor’s book has no tax listed, but indicates the property has sold, but not to whom.  The 1889 tax records show Lot 15 (as well as 13 and 14)  belonging to Jas. McLachlan.  The lot’s value has dropped to $600, reflecting the bursting of the land boom bubble.  The taxes due on the property are $3.90, but the property is sold to H. Hart.

The earliest subdivision map shows the following.  The lots on the north, east, and south sides of Block B (the 100 block of East Palm, the 200 block of South Ivy and the 100 block of East Lime) all have north-south orientation.  The dimensions are 50 by 140 feet deep.  The back of each lot ends at the alley that bisects the block horizontally, east/west.  

However, lots 10-15 were divided so that they fronted on South Myrtle.  Their dimensions are 53 ⅓ by 150 feet.  The Sanborn maps show no structure on Lot 15 until 1913, and that structure is the Renaker Funeral Parlor.  It is unclear from the maps and directories what direction the front of this building faced when it was first built in 1911.

The first structure was owned by Charles Taylor (known as C.T.) Renaker.  In 1887-88, his father, James John Renaker,  had a funeral home/furniture/stationery store first in the Badeau Block, at the southeast corner of Colorado and Myrtle and then at 627 S. Myrtle.  J.J. Renaker died in 1904, around the time the funeral parlor burned down, and C.T. constructed a new building for the mortuary business, including an apartment on the second floor for the family: his mother Sarah Elizabeth and his brother Leslie.  Previously, the family were living in a house at 125 N. Myrtle Ave.

The front of the structure that faced Myrtle was the business entrance, 334 S. Myrtle Ave.  Perhaps because they didn't want their personal address to be that of the undertaking business, they used the address at the side entrance which at different times had the address of 101 or 107 E. Lime Ave.

It would hardly have been appropriate to bring the bodies of the deceased in through the front door of the business, so they were taken in through an entrance on this south side of Lot 15 and Lot 16, just to the right of the entrance seen in the first picture.  There were addresses in the early days that are associated with the building, but they are on Lime, not Myrtle.  Specifically, the following addresses are all associated with the structure the Renakers owned on Lots 15 and 16.

  • 101 E. Lime
  • 103 1/2 E. Lime (likely Mrs. J.J. Renaker's address as she lived upstairs over the mortuary)
  • 107
  • 109 E. Lime
  • 342 S. Myrtle Ave.

By the late 1930's, the address for the mortuary is 334 S. Myrtle and Lot 15 still has that address today.

Considering how long the Renaker Funeral Parlor was on Lot 15, it is surprising that there are no permits on file for the property before 1957.  In June of 1957, a permit was filed for a store built by the Worrell Construction Co.  At that time, the owner’s name is given as O.(?) P. McKelvey.  In December of 1957, the store is identified as an Anita Shop, a chain of dress stores which existed through the 1950's and early 1960's.

Since 1957, the structure has had numerous owners and morphed through numerous business, including, for a short time, a J.C. Penney

115 E. Lime Avenue

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This photograph of the property dates from around 1912. That is George Barry standing in the front of the building.

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This Sanborn map image for 1913 shows the configuration of the structure and its position in relation to the other structures on the block at this time.

This is the current view of the property.

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 16

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1910

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: unknown

Architect: unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): George & Harriet Barry

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia


The 1911 Resident and Business Directory of Monrovia lists this address as the business and residence address of  George Barry,  publisher of the Monrovia Daily and Weekly News, and his wife, Harriet H. Barry, editor of Pacific Poultrycraft.  Their 1908-1909 address was La Vista Grande, a large hotel located across the street from 115 E. Lime.

The 1913 Sanborn map shows the outline of a typical commercial building, a narrow rectangle that stretched back over two-thirds of the lot.  It was two-story with the stairs to the second story on the east side of the building.  The photo, dated 1912, of the structure shows it to be made primarily of brick.  Other commercial structures built during this period that still stand are made of the same materials, indicating that this was common during the first part of the last century.

This structure continued housing printing-related activities for many decades.  There is another plumbing permit pulled in the name of Monrovia News for October 3, 1941.

In the early 1950's, the property was acquired by the California Water and Telephone Company.  The utility applied for permit, dated April 2, 1952,  for the demolition of a residence and a garage.  Then in 1954, there is a permit dated 1954 for a “remodel” valued at $7,000.  Since that time, the structure erected by the utility has been expanded from lot 16 to lots 17, 18, and 19, the houses on those lots being demolished.  Additionally, the building, which started out as a single story, has added two more levels.

123 E. Lime Avenue

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Here is a map view

Additional block detail

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 18

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1888

Architectural Style: Victorian

Contractor: Venderink

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? Yes

Original Location: Block G, Lot 13 South Myrtle Ave.

Owner(s): Berend Venderink, Joseph Francis Sartori, Samuel Emerson Salsbury, Charles Eugene Slosson

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

This property had a rough beginning, bouncing around from owner to owner as the value of property in Southern California plummeted after the land boom of 1888.  It is unknown who owned Lot 18 from 1888 until 1891.  Lots were changing hands quickly as speculators came to communities like Monrovia buying property to flip quickly for a profit.  Many times buyers flipped properties by bills of sale because they hadn’t had time to record the ownership with the County.  The land boom was over quickly, and buyers went broke when they couldn’t unload their property, so rather than pay taxes on property that had dropped over 37 percent, many buyers just walked away.  By 1890, Lot 18's assessed valued had dropped from $600 to $200.

The tax record for 1891 gives Joseph Sartori, a successful banker, as the owner.  In 1891, the property’s value had dropped to $125.  Sartori sold the property to Charles E. Slosson, who was in real estate, and held on to it until 1903.  By then, the property value had been valued at $75 for the last six of the eleven years he owned it, so he must have gotten tired of waiting for property values in Monrovia to go up.  Subsequent owners were in and out quickly: G.H. Smith owned it for one year, selling to it to C.F. Monroe who appears to have only owned it for year.  However, it is this year, 1905, that the tax records record show an improvement on the property.  The value of the improvement is $600, indicating more than just a barn.  It may have been at this time that the structure, which had been moved from another location, first appeared.According to Steve Baker, Monrovia City Historian, the house that appeared on Lot 18 in 1905 had actually been moved from Block G, Lot 13, on South Myrtle.  At that location, is was a combination business and residence of the Venderink family.  The name of the business was the Venderink Improvement Company, and it was involved in construction work.  The Sanborn map and the illustration from the periodical The Wasp indicate that the structure was in existence at least by 1887. In 1906, Monroe sells the property to Mary Bear, and the value of the structure goes up to $700.  She may have gotten into a little financial trouble because the following year, there is a different owner, G.W. Morgan.  Mary Bear owns it again the next year.    The 1908-1909 Resident and Business Directory of Monrovia lists three women, Mary, Julia, and Alice Bear, as living at the address.  I’ve been able to find no information about them.  In 1910, Mary Bear sells the property to F.W. Rogers.  Mr. Rogers seems to have used the property as a rental.  In the 1911, the Monrovia Resident and Business Directory shows that Thomas T. Davis, employment not stated, lived in the house with his two children: Charles Franklin and Helen J., both clerks at the post office.  They only lived here for a short time.  In the 1913-1914 directory, the Davis family, minus Thomas, is living at 134 N. Myrtle Ave.F.W. Rogers sells the property the next year to S. Emerson Salisbury, a dentist..  The Salisburys had been living at 337 N. Mayflower, and his dental practice was at 527½ S. Myrtle Avenue (1908 Monrovia Directory).  He and his family moved to 123 E. Lime Avenue by 1913, but he moved his business to the American National Bank Building at the corner of South Myrtle and Lime Avenues. By 1924, Dr. Salisbury had moved his practice into his home.  This was not unusual, and several doctors in Monrovia had their medical offices in their homes as it was a great way to cut overhead.  The Salisburys lived on in the house until at least 1945 when Fanny Salisbury died.  It is unknown at this time exactly when Dr. Salisbury died, but it was probably in the early 1930s.The actual address of the dwelling first appears on this property as 123 E. Lime Avenue on the Sanborn map of 1907.  The details from the Sanborn maps show that the footprint of the main house is exactly the same from 1888 to 1907.  In 1897, a porch was added to the back of the house.  Sometime between 1897 and 1906, the structure was moved to East Lime and the porch was enclosed.  Also in 1907, a front porch which wraps around the east side of the house can be seen.  The 1913 Sanborn map shows a shed at the back of the property, which has been replaced by a small auto garage by 1923. The illustration shows the structure at its South Myrtle address around 1888.  It has the typical Victorian front-facing gable design of the period.  What can’t be seen in the illustration but is shown on the 1907 Sanborn map is that the bay window on the south side of the house is replicated on the north.  An  application to alter, repair, or demolish was filed by the California Water & Telephone Co., located at 115 E. Lime,  on April 2, 1952.  The application requests permission to demolish a residence and a detached garage at 123 E. Lime Avenue.  This house, along with others on Block B, was then demolished to build the present utility company and adjacent parking lot

201 E. Lime Avenue

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2003

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 14

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: Unknown

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Gospel Church

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

The above picture shows the church which is on Lot 13, and the addition to the right, which is on Lot 14. The 1888 tax record shows that George F. Mohn, Sr. and William MacLean were the first owners of this propert of Lot 14. However, they didn't pay the $1.20 tax on the land, which was valued at $300.  H.J. Woolacot paid the tax for a Dr. Roberts.  Consequently, the original ownership is somewhat murky.

The 1927 Sanborn map shows an addition to the Gospel Church which extends onto Lot 14.  The addition may have been added in 1923, as there is a permit for stuccoing and painting exterior walls for that year.  The valuation of the work covered is listed as $2700.

A 1949 permit shows that the church had become the IOOF Lodge Hall.  The permit gives the work to be done as repairing wiring and making structural alterations to make the hall safe to occupy.

At the present time, the property is again being used as a church.

211 E. Lime Avenue

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2003

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This is a detail from the 1927 Sanborn map that shows the outline of the house that was located at 211 E. Lime Avenue. This illustration shows that there was a front porch that run the width of the house. The left hand part of the addition to the back of the house was the bathroom and the right hand side is a porch that was partially enclosed. The configuration of the addition is the same, though smaller, than the one on the house next door (215 E. Lime Ave.) which still stands.

The rectangle at the back of the lot with an A in it was where the garage was located.

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 15

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1904

Architectural Style: Craftsman

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Louis Beer

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

The first owners of this lot were Lewis Beer and H. Gray.  The value in 1888 was $300 and drops by half the next year.  From 1890 to 1895, the property was owned by Josiah Holcomb Gray, and, after his death in 1892, by his wife, Anna.  No owner is listed for 1896 and 1897, and Anna Grey had moved to Arizona where other Gray family members had settled.  None of the owners made any improvements on the lot.

By 1903, the property was in the ownership of Lizzie H. Anderson, widow of Charles S. Anderson, who also owned Lots 16, 17, & 18.  A dwelling is listed in the tax record of 1904 as being valued at $600.  Lizzie Anderson most likely built the dwelling as rental property as tax records show her as the owner until 1916, but city directories list other people as living there.

The structure first appears on the 1907 Sanborn map as a simple rectangle with a porch overhang running the width of the front of the house.  In the back are two lean-to type add ons, one with a door opening into it from the house.  This was most likely the bathroom.  The other was most likely a utility porch typical of houses at that time.  The 1927 Sanborn configuration is exactly the same except for a garage added at the back of the property next to the alley.  Other than the 1911 permit for the sewer hookup, there is only one other permit issued and that was in 1919 for an addition valued at $800.  This may refer to the garage as the Sanborn maps show no additions from 1907 to 1927.

Though no pictures exist of the house, it was most likely of wood frame construction.  It had medium width ship-lap siding. According to Steve Baker, Monrovia City Historian, the house was very simple with some Craftsman-type detail.  Elizabeth Anderson, a widow, who lived next door with her son, though comfortable, would not have built anything more elaborate for a rental that she didn’t plan on living in.

The city directory for 1908-1909 lists Otis G. Smith, a salesman, his wife and daughter as living at 211 E. Lime Avenue.  In 1911, Wallace E. Hicks, a clerk for J.A. Fraulob & Co., rented the property.  The directory for 1913-1914 records George Conley, an employee for city waste, as living in the dwelling.

Sometime before 1919, Elizabeth Anderson sold the house to Thomas Quigley, a linotype operator for the Monrovia Daily News, and his wife Ada.   Quigley worked as a linotype operator for over 20 years, and as the Monrovia Daily News was only one block away at 115 E. Lime Avenue, it was obviously very convenient for him.  However, he still had a car;  the 1927 Sanborn map shows a garage at back of his property.

The 1930 census records the value of the house at $5,000.

His wife gave piano lessons in the house. It is unclear when Ada Quigley died, but the last voter registration that she appears in is 1936.  Voter registration records show that Thomas Quigley continued living in the house until 1946.  After that, he returned to Michigan and died in 1949.

The city directory of 1953-1954 shows the Camp family living in the house.  Steve Baker’s family was acquainted with the Camps, so Steve was able to tell me that the they were renting the house until they moved into a house they had purchased on May Avenue.

No one is listed in the city directory for the address for 1955, so the house may have been demolished shortly thereafter.

There is a permit dated November 8, 1967, giving the owner of the property as the General Telephone Company.  The permit is for the demolition of a single family dwelling.  Another permit, dated 1968, is for a lawn sprinkler system and the owner still listed as General Telephone Company for a lawn sprinkler system.

The property eventually came under the ownership of the church that owned Lots 13 & 14, and is now used as a parking lot for the church.

215 E. Lime Avenue

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2003

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 16

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1886

Architectural Style: Victorian

Contractor: John C. Anderson

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): John C. Anderson

Demolished? No

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

John C. Anderson purchased three lots, 16-19 in Block A of the Town of Monrovia Subdivision from the Monrovia Land and Water Company in 1888.  At this time, these lots on Lime Avenue were the northern boundary of the Town of Monrovia.  

Anderson, a contractor, built this six-room house for his wife and sons.  One of the sons, George, spent almost his entire life of 87 years in the house, and his mother stayed on in the house,  after her husband died, until she died.  George's brother and sister-in-law lived in the house several years until around 1924 they moved to 343 N. Ivy Avenue.

The California Water and Telephone Company attempted to acquire the property for use as a parking lot during the 1960's, but George Anderson would not sell.  

On George Anderson's death in 1974, the property was left to a charitable trust.  When the old family home could not be sold due to many years of deferred maintenance, funds were given by the trust to the Friends of the Monrovia Library to purchase the home and restore it as a project in connection with the celebration of our country's bicentennial.  After the restoration was completed under the leadership of the late Brice Tulloss, title to the house was given to the newly organized Monrovia Historical Society.  The house today is furnished as it would have appeared when the Andersons lived in it.

215 E. Lime is a Queen Anne style house with some Stick-Eastlake detailing.  The asymmetrical plan, decorative scroll work, and hip roof with front facing gable are Queen Anne elements, while the frieze of vertical siding and square chamfered porch posts are Stick-Eastlake characteristics.  The stairs to the porch are flanked by solid wooden balustrades, and the original scroll work porch railing has been replaced by one of simple square posts.  The house was enlarged around the turn of the last century by the addition of a bathroom, screen porch, and bedroom to the rear of the house.

The interior of the house has twelve foot ceilings in each of the original rooms and a broad central hallway.  The parlor, furnished with an Eastlake parlor suite, is connected to the dining room by massive pocket doors. An interesting feature of the dining room is the service window into the pantry.  The only items of original furniture in the house are in the dining room:  a settee with stick-and-ball design and two side chairs which were returned by the Moore sisters and have been refurbished.  The kitchen is dominated by a wood burning range.  The front bedroom has been turned into an office, while the middle bedroom features a bedroom site of birds-eye maple.  The rear bedroom, furnished as a children's room, has a four poster bed with canopy.

A portion of the original barn remains at the rear of the property, while two oak trees, planted long ago by John Anderson to support a hammock, now provide ample shade for the rear yard.

217 E. Lime Avenue

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2003

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 17

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: Unknown

Architectural Style: Craftsman

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Mable C. Menefee

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

The above picture shows Lot 17 which had been 217 E. Lime before the house was torn down to be replaced by a parking lot.  The rest of the lot is made up of Lots 18, 19, and 20.  The houses on these lots were also town down.  The picture at the bottom of this screen a wide angle view of the area where the houses once stood.

The 1888 tax record shows J.C. Anderson as the first owner of Lot 17, which was worth $300 at that time.

A small dwelling, with an address of 217 E. Lime, on Lot 17 appears on the 1907 Sanborn Map .  The 1913 map shows an additional small dwelling with an address of 217 1/2.  This structure may have been torn down as there is a building permit, dated 1949, issued to Miss Menefee for a residence at the 217 1/2 address.

The 1908-1909 Monrovia Directory lists C. Frank Jackson, a lineman for the Monrovia Telephone and Telegraph Company, as listing at 217 E. Lime.  The 1911 Monrovia Directory lists Mabel C. Menefee as living at 217 E. Lime.  Later directories list her as an office nurse, working for Dr. J.K. Sewell.  Ms. Menefee may have rented out a room of her house, a not uncommon practice, as the 1916-1917 directory lists Anna J. Sewright living at the address. She appears in no subsequent directories.      

In the 1926-27 directory, a Miss Estelle M. Nelson, a clerk McBratney's is listed as living at this address.

The residence zone for Lot 17, along with Lots 18, 19, and 20, was changed in 1960, as the first step in tearing down the houses on those lots.  In 1962, a Planning Commission Architectural review states that Lot 17 was 50 x 160 feet, it did not conform to building code or zoning ordinances,  and was at least 50 years old, as if age were some kind of crime. 

Because there are no pictures of this dwelling, the exact architectural style is not known.  But because a dwelling appears on the 1907 Sanborn map, it might be surmised that the house's architecture was similar to those on the rest of block which appear at the same time and are still standing.  That would it an early Craftsman with Victorian elements

225-225 1/2 Lime Ave.

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This is a detail from the 1913 Sanborn map showing the small house at 225 E. Lime Avenue

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This map shows the original structure at 225 and the second rental structure with an address of 225 1/2 toward the back of the property.

Lot 19, formerly 225 and 225 1/2 as it looks today.

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 19

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1888

Architectural Style: Victorian

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Levi Jackson Newlan

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

Levi Jackson Newlan owned this property from 1888 until 1907.  He built a house, valued at $300 on the property in 1888 and lived in it with his two sons.

The Sanborn maps show the house as being a small structure with a front porch and a bay window facing east.  Given the period of time in which it was built and the other houses built at the same time which still stand, it is likely that the house was a wood frame structure with modest Victorian architectural features.  There are no permits for the house and the Sanborn maps show little change in the house.

Levi and his son Charles A. were blacksmiths, and his other son, Eugene Frank,  was a harness maker.  According to records, Eugene Frank did not stay in Monrovia very long, so the house was occupied by just the two others until Levi Jackson Newlan's death in 1906.  After 1907, his Charles sold the property to B.A.P. Eaton, a retiree, who only owned his for two years, selling it to David S. West in 1910.

David West lived less than a block away at 127 E. Lime Avenue, and he rented out his new property over the years to many people.  Sometime after 1927, an additional dwelling was built on the lot with the address of 225 1/2.  Since there are no permits, it is difficult to determine exactly when it went up.  However, there is a 1939 Monrovia directory entry for someone living at 225 1/2 E. Lime Avenue, so the second dwelling went up sometime between 1928 and 1939.

There is no demolition permit for this property, but it was probably razed in the late 1950s or early 1960s when the houses on Lots 17-20 were torn down for a parking lot to serve the utility company in the next block.

229 E. Lime Avenue

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This illustration shows the very simple dwelling built on Lot 20 that the Crandall family used as a rental. Their own house with additional rental structures on Lot 21 is shown to the left.

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This photograph shows the site of the house originally on Lot 20. It would have been on the near side of the white fence. On the other side of the fence is W.A. Crandall house on Lot 21.

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 20

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: Unknown

Architectural Style: Craftsman

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Martha Ward

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

The 1888 tax record lists Mrs Martha Ward as the first owner of this property, valued at $300.  The next year the property had dropped in valued by half, and the tax records list the owners as the real estate firm of Spence, Bicknell & Crunch.  In 1890 and 1891, tax records show the owner as E. Bunnell, and then Martha Ward returns as owner from 1892 to 1895 when the property was sold to W.A. Crandall.  By then, the value of the property was $75.

The Crandalls also owned Lot 21, but they didn't do anything with Lot 20 until 1909 or 1910 when they built a small dwelling valued at only $50.  By then the value of the property itself had climbed to $450.  They used the property as a rental and lived in their own home next door.

The 1907 Sanborn map shows the first dwelling, a  very small one, toward the back left of the property.  Over the years, many renters lived in the house.  The 1913-1914 Monrovia Directory lists  Clyde F. Stevenson living here, then in 1916-1917,  Lloyd and Lillian M. Parkhurst were the renters.  Mr. Parkhurst's profession is given as a nursery worker at Pioneer Nursery.  The directory for 1919-1920 lists Miss Wava Mowrey and P. Clara Mowrey as residents here. 

Mrs. Crandall kept the property for sometime after her husband died.  Eventually, the property was sold to William H. Beebe and his wife.

In the early 1960's, the California Water & Telephone Company acquired the property at 229 E. Lime with plans to turn into a parking lot.  For its employees.  The utility company had already purchased the three lots to the west of this address.  In 1963, the Lot 20 was re-zoned for parking, and the house was torn down because it was old, and because it was a house in an area zoned for parking, it was not in compliance with the Zoning Ordinance.

There are no pictures of the house, but its outline on the Sanborn maps show it to have been a very small, narrow structure.  It was most likely a simple, wood-frame house with a shotgun format.  A shotgun house is one with a front-facing gable, one room in width, and two more rooms deep.

The pictures on this page show the large amount of space Lots 17-20 cover.

235 E. Lime Avenue

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Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 21

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1886

Architectural Style: Victorian

Contractor: Uknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): J. C. Rowly, William Aaron Crandall

Demolished? No

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

An article in the Monrovia Messenger dated February 21, 1889, states that J.C. Rowley sold his house “...at the corner of Ivy and Lemon to W.A. Crandall the proprietor of the new mercantile establishment on Myrtle.  The place is a pretty one.”  This seems to be a mistake as Rowley didn't own any property at the corner of Ivy and Lemon, but he was the first owner of Lot 21 with (according to the 1888 tax records) an improvement valued at $300. 

 As can be seen the picture, the house still retains much of the exterior Victorian architectural elements.  The second front door that faces east does not appear on any of the Sanborn maps, so it must have been added later when the house was carved up as a duplex.  However, Steve Baker, historian for the City of Monrovia, states that there have been other houses from that era with two front doors.  Fortunately, the second door matches the original Victorian front door.  The front-facing gable with the small porch is similar to many other small Victorian houses from this period, including the Victorian cottage down the street at 215 E. Lime.

A plumbing permit dated 1912 gives the address as 235, and the owner as Annie Crandall.  The 1913  Sanborn map shows a long narrow dwelling with a porch.  This is the same footprint that the house still has today.

An additional structure, marked as a stable, is at the back of the property by the alley, and it straddles Lot 21 and Lot 22.  A small, additional dwelling, with an address of 239,  appears in the northeast  corner of what is Lot 22.  The stable is larger than most, probably because of Crandall had a buggy, horse and cow, according to the 1889 tax record.  The second dwelling was used a rental for Annie Crandall's nephew, Warren H. Denslow.

By 1927, the stable has been converted into a plumbing shop with an address of 235 1/2.  This was the shop of Warren Denslow, a nephew of Annie Crandall.  After her husband died, Annie Crandall continued living in the house at 235, and her nephew had bought the house next on Lot 22, property which the Crandall's had previously owned.

For information on the rental and Denslow's house, please see Town of Monrovia Subdivision, Block A, Lot 22.

There is an undated permit for a residence valued at $300.  The lot is described as being 50' x 160', but the building is only 20'x22'.  Its location is given as near the rear of the lot.  Since a small structure, first as a stable and then as accessory building, is shown at the back of the lot in 1907, it may be that it was torn down to be replaced by a dwelling on the same spot.

The undated permit has the name of Warren Denslow, nephew of Annie E. Crandall,  as the owner, living at 239 E. Lime Ave.  In 1953, Denslow took out a plumbing permit for 233 1/2, and he was still living at 239 E. Lime at that time.  Previously from 1904 to 1914, Denslow had been living at the address of 235 E. Lime with his aunt and his wife.

By 1927, the original dwelling has been divided into two dwellings, a duplex.  The stable at the back of the lot is shown as an accessory building, perhaps a garage.  Another dwelling, also a duplex which parallels the original dwelling, has been built with an address of 237 and 239.  Directly behind this duplex and at the back of the lot, up against the alley, is another building identified as a dwelling but also having the addresses as the  Lime-facing duplex.

The picture shows the parking lot, looking east toward Lot 16 whose house managed to escape the fate of the house on Lots 17-21. 

The Monrovia Potential Historic Landmark Survey, performed by the Monrovia Old House Preservation Group in 1996, made the following observations from the curb about the house at 235 E. Lime Avenue.

  • Visually from the curb, an excellent example of Victorian architecture.
  • Visually from the curb, a very good example of a particular material or method of construction.
  • Visually from the curb, good integrity and alterations (the units added to the rear).
  • Visually from the curb, an architectural contributor to the continuity and character of the street.

239 E. Lime Avenue

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2003

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 22

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: Unknown

Architectural Style: Craftsman

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Warren H. Denslow, William Aaron Crandall

Demolished? No

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

This house is located on the eastern edge of property which was owned by L.C. Lowry.  Mr. Lowry didn't own it for long, however, as the 1888 tax record reflects that the property was sold to someone else.  This person would be J.H. Rowly who owned Lot 21 and had a house on it.  HCrandall who bought Lot 21 and the Rowly House in 1889.

The Crandalls then built a small dwelling at the northeast corner of the property.  This small dwelling would be directly behind the house which appears today as 239 E. Lime.

The Craftsman at 239 E. Lime first appears on a Sanborn map in 1927.  There is a sewer permit for 1913, but because of the address changing caused by additional buildings on Lots 21 and 22, it is unclear if the permit address is for  the small back house or the Craftsman front house.  The name on this permit is Mrs. Annie Crandall, owner of Lot 21.

In 1923, a building permit was issued to W.H. Denslow, owner, to build a structure valued at $5000.  Denslow was a plumbing contractor and nephew of Mrs. Crandall.  Monrovia directories show him living at 235 E. Lime Avenue beginning in 1908.  Since this was his aunt's house, he may have actually lived in the small unit, which had the addressof 235 1/2, in the northeast corner of her property.  By 1923, he owned all of Lot 22, which included the small back house from the early Crandall days, as well as the house he was having built by contractor C. Cranlet.

The 1927 Sanborn map shows a generously sized structure with a porch running along the entire front of the house.  This is a typical feature of  Craftsman houses and can still be seen on the structure today.  On the completion of the Craftsman, the address for Lot 22 become 239 for the front structure.  The structure in the rear, which had been 237, was changed to 239 1/2.

The Monrovia Potential Historic Landmark Survey of 1996, created by the Monrovia Old House Preservation Group, notes the following observations made visually from the curb of the duplex at 239 E. Lime Avenue.  Visually from the curb, it is an excellent visual example of the Craftsman style of architecture; visually, the material or method of construction seems appropriate for a Craftsman; the architectural detailing, craftsmanship, quality and uniqueness are good; there seem to be few, if any, alterations that could be viewed from the curb; and the structure could be a contributor to the continuity and character of the street.

For more information on Craftsman architecture, click on Architectural Styles at the top of the screen

243 E. Lime Avenue

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This detail from

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This detail of the 1913 Sanborn map shows the first structure, the First Congregational Church, built straddling Lots 23 and 24.

This colored detail of the 1927 Sanborn map shows the same structure, now named the Foursquare Gospel Church, with the addition of a large dwelling, perhaps originally built as the parsonage of the church, sitting primarily on Lot 23.

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Lot 23 today.

Known Details

Block No: A

Lot No: 23

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: Unknown

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s):

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

A "Card of Thanks" published in the June 11, 1887, edition of the Monrovia Planet indicates that W.N. Monroe and "others" donated Lot 23 (and Lot 24) for the construction of the First Congregational Church.The Town of Monrovia Subdivision, of which Block B was a part,  was originally owned by a consortium known as the Monrovia Land and Water Company.  William N. Monroe was one of the members of the consortium.  The word "others" referred to in the "Card of Thanks" article may refer to the other men of the consortium:  J.D. Bicknell, Edward F. Spence, James F. Crank, and J.F. Falvey.  Additionally in the article,  thanks is also extended to General W.A. Pile "...for surrendering his prior claim to them [the two lots].  Though not a member of the original consortium, General Pile at different times had entered into business partnerships with some of the men.  This may be why General Pile felt he had a claim to the property.  The article was written by C.S. Winters, the clerk for the First Congregational Church.

The first tax records (1888) shows the First Congregational Church as owning Lots 23 & 24.  The taxes for this year were paid by E.B. White.

The Sanborn Map for 1907 shows a rectangular building, referred to as the Gospel Hall, placed toward the northeast section of the lot and lying primarily in Lot 24. In 1913, there is a building permit for an addition, valued at $250.  The owner is listed as the Congregational Church.  The 1913 map reflects this addition.

The 1927 Sanborn Map shows the church as the Foursquare Gospel Church in the same position and the same configuration as the original building.  However, a large dwelling appears in Lot 23.  The address for the dwelling is 243 E. Lime Ave.

The church retained ownership of the property, however, using the structure for meetings.  Apparently even though Congregationalists were attending the Presbyterian church, they still had a "corps of officials" who held regular yearly meetings (Wiley 279).  It is assumed that the church building was also used for other purposes.  But then in 1908, , the church got into tax trouble as there was an outstanding balance of $4.00 from 1897.  Penalties for non-payment brought the total to $45, and the property was sold.

The new owner, J.H. Smith, who lived in Los Angeles, began an "action of dispossession" (Wiley 279).  Wiley continues:   "...after much negotiation, the purchaser accepted three hundred dollars for his rights secured at a tax sale.  This was paid by the church in September, 1909.

There are no tax records Lots 23 from 1901 to 1911 in the old tax books at City Hall, so it is difficult to see exactly what happened.  There is an entry for 1897 giving the value of the lot as $75 and the taxes being paid by Mrs. A.T. Taylor, though the property is owned by the First Congregational Church.  The records go up to 1916 and show the property continues to be owned by the First Congregational Church.

There is no definite date of demolition for the house on Lot 23.  There is a 1962 city permit that refers to the structure as a duplex.  This could be the original house divided up into two dwellings or a new structure completely.  The same permit is for the demolition of "old house" owned by Mr. & Mrs. Everett Owen.  Mr. Owen is also listed as the contractor for the demolition work.

328 S. Myrtle Ave.

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This is a detail from the 1927 Sanborn Fire Insurance map that shows the addresses associated with these lots. The address to the far right is 322. To the left are 324 & 326, and 330.

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John Zerell and his partner purchased the property in 1937, so this picture probably dates from the early 1940s. The giant oak tree can be seen at the back of the property.

This picture was provided by Dorothy Zerell Jefferson, daughter of John Zerell. Of this picture, she says: "The people in the photo are Frances Zerell Foster [Dorothy's aunt] and her two children Jacqueline and Benning Foster, my father John Zerell and his mother Jacobina Heim Zerell.

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This photo shows the view from the corner of E. Lime Avenue, Lot 15, looking north toward lots 13 & 13.

Lots 13 & 14 today

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 13 & 14

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1927

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Dale Kidd

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): Daniel Edison Moran, Jr.

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

James McLachlan owned this property, along with Lot 14,  from 1888-1916, and he made no improvements on either property in all the years he owned them.

There is a permit dated March 7, 1927, for work totaling $900 and described as "Group J."  The owner is recorded as Dan Moran and the contractor as Dale Kidd.  The 1927 Sanborn map shows a structure labeled "GAS/OIL". Monrovia city directories show this lot, along with Lot 14, was the site of an automobile service station with various owners over the years.

Daniel E. Moran owned the property and worked as a car mechanic there along with several other people.  The 1928 city directory lists Bob Russell working there as a tire specialist;  Billie H. Youngs painting cars; R.J. Simpson performing  “auto laundry”; Henry Payne handling car batteries; Ray R. Kramer is listed as a machinist; and Russel J. Simpson a mechanic.

In 1937, John Zerell and his partner Louis Wicks took over the business and entered into an agreement with Shell Oil Company.  They maintained their business until 1955 when Shell Oil sold the property, and the both lots were razed in 1955 for a J.C. Penny store which has morphed through the years as many differences business.  At this writing (2012), the site is a pool hall.

The real loss in regard to this property was the giant oak tree that dated back from the time Monrovia was founded.  It can bee seen in the first and third photographs.  It was torn out in 1955 when the gas station was razed.

334 S. Myrtle Ave.

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This picture, circa 1920s, shows front entrance to the Renaker Funeral Parlor. The entrance faced west, but bodies were delivered through a side entrance around the corner on East Lime Avenue. no address for the Myrtle Avenue entrance of the Renaker Funeral Parlour.

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The Myrtle Avenue view of Lot 15 today. The address is now 342 S. Myrtle Ave.

This detail form a Sanborn map shows Lot 15 from the Lime Avenue side.

Known Details

Block No: B

Lot No: 15

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1911

Architectural Style: Public/Commercial

Contractor: Unknown

Architect: Unknown

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? No

Owner(s): James John Renaker, Charles Taylor Renaker, James J. McLachlan

Demolished? Yes

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

In the 1888 tax records, the owner of this lot is unknown, but the value of the land reflects its prime position as a corner lot on the northeast corner of South Myrtle and East Lime Avenues.  It is assessed at $800, and the value after equalization is $300.  The tax assessor’s book has no tax listed, but indicates the property has sold, but not to whom.  The 1889 tax records show Lot 15 (as well as 13 and 14)  belonging to Jas. McLachlan.  The lot’s value has dropped to $600, reflecting the bursting of the land boom bubble.  The taxes due on the property are $3.90, but the property is sold to H. Hart.

The earliest subdivision map shows the following.  The lots on the north, east, and south sides of Block B (the 100 block of East Palm, the 200 block of South Ivy and the 100 block of East Lime) all have north-south orientation.  The dimensions are 50 by 140 feet deep.  The back of each lot ends at the alley that bisects the block horizontally, east/west.  

However, lots 10-15 were divided so that they fronted on South Myrtle.  Their dimensions are 53 ⅓ by 150 feet.  The Sanborn maps show no structure on Lot 15 until 1913, and that structure is the Renaker Funeral Parlor.  It is unclear from the maps and directories what direction the front of this building faced when it was first built in 1911.

The first structure was owned by Charles Taylor (known as C.T.) Renaker.  In 1887-88, his father, James John Renaker,  had a funeral home/furniture/stationery store first in the Badeau Block, at the southeast corner of Colorado and Myrtle and then at 627 S. Myrtle.  J.J. Renaker died in 1904, around the time the funeral parlor burned down, and C.T. constructed a new building for the mortuary business, including an apartment on the second floor for himself, his mother, and his brother Leslie.

For decades, the address for the funeral home was given only as the corner of Lime and Myrtle.   It wasn't until 1926 that the city directories began to list an address, 334 S. Myrtle Ave., for the Renaker Funeral Parlor.  Specifically, the following addresses are all associated with the structure the Renakers owned on Lot 15.

  • 101 E. Lime
  • 103 1/2 E. Lime (likely Mrs. J.J. Renaker's address as she lived upstairs over the mortuary)
  • 107 E. Lime Ave.
  • 109 E. Lime Ave.

By the late 1930's, the address for the mortuary is 334 S. Myrtle and Lot 15 still has that address today.

Considering how long the Renaker Funeral Parlor was on Lot 15, it is surprising that there are no permits on file for the property before 1957.  In June of 1957, a permit was filed for a store built by the Worrell Construction Co.  At that time, the owner’s name is given as O.(?) P. McKelvey.  In December of 1957, the store is identified as an Anita Shop, a chain of dress stores which existed through the 1950's and early 1960's.

Since 1957, the structure has had numerous owners and morphed through numerous business, including, for a short time, a J.C. Penney

508 S. Ivy Avenue

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2003

Known Details

Block No: J

Lot No: 11 & 12

Landmarked? No

Construction Year: 1887

Architectural Style: Victorian

Contractor: Uriah Zimmerman

Architect: Luther Reed Blair

Style Altered? No

Location Changed? Yes

Original Location: 147 E. Olive Avenue

Owner(s): Luther Reed Blair

Demolished? No

Subdivision: Town of Monrovia

Among those who flocked to the new Town of Monrovia during the great land boom of the Eighteen Eighties in Southern California was a young architect, Luther Reed Blair.  Blair went into partnership with Uriah Zimmerman, a building contractor, and the two men were responsible for some of Monrovia's finest early buildings. The "Monrovia Planet": for May 28, 1887 mentions that they had plans almost ready for the Orange Avenue School, as well as the residences of M.S. Monroe, Jefferson Patten, E.P. Large, and Dr. Stewart.  Several months later the "Planet" mentioned that Blair's personal residence was nearing completion at the corner of Ivy and Olive Avenues.  Blair was active in Monrovia fraternal circles as well as the business community, being a charter member of both the Odd Fellows Lodge and the Masonic Lodge.

The general stagnation after the collapse of the boom meant little work for those in the building trades, and in 1895,  Blair sold the house to Andrew Ryder and sought work elsewhere.  The house was purchased in 1906 by Thomas Wardall, who came to Duarte in 1878 and was prominent in that community before retiring to Monrovia.  Wardall was active in Monrovia real estate during the boom, and again after the turn of the last century.  

In 1910, the Wardalls moved into a new house in Wardall's Orange Grove Tract, but retained ownership of the Blair House.  In 1927, the house was moved sixteen blocks from its original location to 319 W. Duarte Road, where it remained for nearly seventy years.  For over fifty of those years, the house was owned by the Lisle family. When the last family member to live in the house moved into a retirement facility in 1992, the property was placed on the market and the fate of the house was uncertain.

That uncertainty was put to rest on April 12, 1993 when the Blair House returned to Ivy Avenue after a sixty-six year hiatus.  The City of Monrovia, through its encouragement and cooperation, was instrumental in making the project possible, and the home of Monrovia's pioneer architect will be restored to appear as it did on his drawing board so long ago.

The pictures here show the house at its present location.  The house is privately owned and is in the process of being restored.

Also view: Monrovia Tract | M-P.B & C | Banana Addition | Dorland's Tract | Monroe Addition to Monrovia Tract | Ocean View Subdivision | B&G Subdivision | The Oaks Tract