LAistory: The Ennis House

In Los Angeles, we knock things down. We build them the way we like them. We believe in creating a world the way we think it should be. It's this ethic that has destroyed some of our more famous landmarks, Pickfair was dismantled by Pia Zadora, the original Brown Derby may, at the time of this writing, be a dry cleaner. In a place where people come to reinvent themselves no one has much time for old stuff.

The Ennis House, however, remains, shining out over Los Feliz. Built in 1924 by Frank Lloyd Wright, it is a stunning example of his work, certainly of of the most unique dwellings in California. It has the only four mosaic windows known to be designed by Wright himself. Though the house retains some of of Wright's prairie style, it is also high art deco, mingled with Mayan architecture and the result is both surprising and elegant.

The Ennis House, however, remains, shining out over Los Feliz. Built in 1924 by Frank Lloyd Wright, it is a stunning example of his work, certainly of of the most unique dwellings in California. It has the only four mosaic windows known to be designed by Wright himself. Though the house retains some of of Wright's prairie style, it is also high art deco, mingled with Mayan architecture and the result is both surprising and elegant.

Ennis-House2.jpg The house has not been lived in since 1980, when the Browns (the then residents) donated it to the Trust for Preservation and Cultural Heritage. It was used to film a number of pictures, including Blade Runner, Grand Canyon and The House on Haunted Hill and tv shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twin Peaks and South Park.

From the beginning, the Ennis House had structural problems. Some of the concrete textile blocks that make the building so unique cracked during the initial building and some of the materials used are very susceptible to pollution damage. In the Northridge quake of 1994, the problems became even more severe, though it remained open to tourists and film companies until the heavy rains of 2004-5 rendered it unsafe. Already in desperate need of renovations (to the tune of 12 million bucks), all projects were derailed while the trust scrambled to put together even more funds. The Trust for Preservation of Cultural Heritage became the Ennis House Foundation and in 2006 they acquired a FEMA loan and First Federal Bank Loan, which they used to stabilize the house and complete restoration in 2007. However, the house remains closed to the public.

This house is a unicorn, the type of structure that people only dare build in Southern California, it should be found only on distant worlds seen or read about in science fiction. Hopefully it will reopen soon, and remain to challenge and amaze generations of Los Angelenos for years to come.

Ennis Brown House, 2655 Glendower Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Photos from Wikipedia.

LAistory is our series that takes us on a journey to what came before to help us understand where we are today.

Check out our other entries in the series:

Val Verde; Thelma Todd's Roadside Cafe; An eclectic house in Beverly Hills; Echo Park's Bonnie Brae House; Marineland of the Pacific; Grand Central Air Terminal; LA's Own Wrigley Field; How LA got its name; The wreck of the Dominator; The 1925 "Hollywood Subway."; The Pink Lady of Malibu; Lions Drag Strip; Disneyland...when it was cheap to get in; The ugliest building in the city; Union Station; Union Station's Fred Harvey Room; A Smelly Mystery at another train station; The Egyptian Theatre; Pilgrimage Bridge; The "It" Girl, Clara Bow; Elias J. "Lucky" Baldwin; Get Involved!; Houdini's House; Spanish Kitchen; The Platinum Blonde; Chutes Park; Fatty Arbuckle; The Brown Derby; Griffith Park; The Outpost Sign; Cross Roads of the World; Sowden House; Monkey Island ; Carthay Circle Theater; The Post-War House & the Home of Tomorrow; Dan the Miner; Tropical Ice Gardens; William Desmond Taylor; Alligator Farm; Schwab's Pharmacy; Tail O' the Pup; Good Reads; Fatty Arbuckle's Plantation Cafe; The Garden of Allah, Mapping LAistory, The Pan Pacific Auditorium; Pickfair; Tower of Wooden Pallets; Hollyhock House; Randy's Donuts.