683 South Carondelet Street


  • Built in 1901 on Lot 6 in Block 3 of the Wilshire Boulevard Tract by Ida Helena Haraszthy Hancock, widow of Henry Hancock and consequently the owner of a vast tract of today's central Los Angeles that includes the La Brea Tar Pits
  • Architect: John C. Austin
  • On April 25, 1901, the Los Angeles Herald featured a rendering of 683 South Carondelet Street with a detailed description:

A Los Angeles Herald item of April 25, 1901, featuring the
new Hancock house misnamed its formidable commissioner. "Lydia"
was in fact "Ida"; given that she was used to being called "Madame" Hancock
rather than simply "Mrs.," one one wonders how pleased she may have been by
the error (or, conversely, if she would have even cared). The description
included details of an apparently badly installed electrical system.

  • In the early morning hours of May 1, 1902, apparently due to an electrical malfunction, the house caught fire. According to reports in the Times and the Herald the next day, Madame Hancock was slightly burned, but she and houseguests from Milwaukee escaped with their lives
  • A rebuilding of the second floor of 683 South Carondelet began when Madame Hancock was issued a permit for the work on June 26; the result would be a considerably simplified design, as seen at top, which can be compared to the architect's original
  • Once in the habit of wearing calico dresses and muddy boots when she lived way out in the country next to her tar pits, Madame Hancock had gotten used to city living. Carondelet Street was very nice, but her purchase of three-quarters of an acre at the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Vermont Street in January 1908 signaled that her oil millions had gone to her head. Once again hiring John C. Austin—the blame for the fire at 683 apparently having been placed on the contractor—a huge new Italian Renaiassance Revival palace would rise for the Madame at 3189 Wilshire Boulevard; a few months after taking a second husband in the form of onetime California Supreme Court judge and now U.S. Circuit Court Judge Erskine Mayo Ross, she moved in
  • While Madame Hancock's son Allan and his wife may have been intending to move into the Villa Madama, as the Wilshire Boulevard house was christened, his mother's remarriage appears to have put such an arrangement on hold. In late 1909 the Hancocks had John C. Austin build a house at 626 South Vermont Street, just north of the Villa Madama, one apparently intended for Mrs. Allan Hancock's mother, Mary T. Mullen, president of the esteemed Mullen & Bluett Clothing Company; she, however, died while living at the Hollywood Hotel awaiting completion. Allan and his wife remained in the Carondelet Street house until after Madame Hancock's death in 1913, after which they sold it and moved into the Villa Madama; 626 South Vermont would be rented out
  • The portrait artist Harrison Henrich, enriched by his 1909 marriage to Carolyn Turner, a well-endowed and considerably older widow, bought 683 South Carondelet in 1914. The next year, 683 was listed in the city directory as the Henrichs' address as well as that of the Henrich Apartments
  • The Harrison Heinrichs remained at 683 until deciding in 1925 to sell the lot but take the building with them to a new location. On April 21, 1925, Henrich was issued a permit by the Department of Buildings to move 683 to Lot 66 of Clark & Bryan's Westmoreland Tract at the northeast corner of Magnolia Avenue and West 10th Street (the latter before long to be renamed Olympic Boulevard)
  • Carolyn Henrich died on December 11, 1933; Harrison remained at 990 Magnolia until 1940. He died in Los Angeles on May 9, 1944
  • On August 13, 1942, the Department of Building and Safety issued a demolition permit for what had once been 683 South Carondelet Street

Illustrations: USCDL; LAH