Category Archives: Sun Valley

Stonehurst

Stonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay ZoneStonehurst Historic Preservation Overlay Zone

In 1981, the Daily News interviewed a 56-year resident of Stonehurst named Judy Carmango. When speaking of the stonemason, Daniel Lawrence Montelongo, she describes him as a simple man, “He just picked up the rocks off the ground and piled them up.”

In a 2002 recount of Stonehurst by resident and San Fernando Valley Historical Society member, Albert Knight, Montelongo is described with near Herculean qualities.  “[Montelongo] could pick up and later place – by hand – even the largest stones, without using a hoist with a sling.” Knight also claims Montelongo was on good terms with “resident” actor Adolphe Menjou.

Adolphe Menjou, a silent film actor who made the talkie crossover, tells of the twists and turns of Hollywood homeownership in his autobiography, It Took Nine Tailors.  He says he bought a house on Doheny and Sunset in which he subsequently sank $15,000.  In 1924, he purchased 3 lots above Los Feliz Boulevard where he was to build a bungalow for him and his mother.  $25,000 later, his mother said, “What would I do in a huge house like that… I’d rattle around like four beans in a gourd.”  Menjou follows this tale by mentioning, “I bought a bungalow for Mother in San Fernando Valley.”

Was Menjou a resident of Stonehurst or did his mother live alone? Was Montelongo a genius stonemason with unprecedented strength or did he just receive a lucky commission from the Pep Rempp Organization?  David Gebhard, in the architectural guide to Los Angeles, says the following of these homes: “There is disagreement about them as there is about the English colony that is supposed to have lived here and the movie stars that are supposed to have vacationed in [Stonehurst] with the idea of ‘roughing it.’”

Unknowns aside, this is the highest concentration of buildings constructed of native materials in Los Angeles.  All these rocks were drawn from local washes.  For more information about the HPOZ, check here: http://preservation.lacity.org/node/422

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