Carpenters' House: Time For Demolition?
When the Parra family bought their home at 9828 Newville Street in Downey, they had no idea they were buying a tourist attraction.
Since the mid-70s, fans of the AM gold hit-stylings of The Carpenters have flocked to the suburban streets to have a glimpse of the five-bedroom house and adjoining studio and office where their beloved musical siblings Richard and Karen lived and worked.
But the family has grown weary of the requests to be let inside, and seeing looky-loos point to the upstairs bedroom where the anorexic Karen collapsed in 1983 prior to her death. According to abc7.com, "at first, the Parras invited fans inside and gave away autographed posters and other items that Richard Carpenter had left behind when the property was sold." Sites online show photos of the home's inside and testimonials from fans' visits, and rumblings that the Japanese garden had become too dilapidated for their liking.
The Parras have already torn down the adjacent building that served as offices and a recording studio, and have submitted plans to the city for demolition of the house and the larger home they hope to erect in its place. Fans, however, are outraged. The house, which is included in the cover art of the band's 1974 album Now & Then is symbolic to them. The man leading the crusade to save the home, Jon Konjoyan, calls it "our version of Graceland" and hopes he and others can band together to get the home "privately purchased and rehabilitated at its current location" or "moved elsewhere" reports the LA Times. Some suggest "Downey officials declare the house a historic landmark as a way of encouraging its preservation," and supporters believe doing so would call attention to the issue of anorexia in addition to keeping their icons' home a memorial.
Richard Carpenter, who sold the home in 1997 long after his parents and sister had died, has "stayed out of the debate."