Quick Facts

21 Chester Place

The mystery behind “The Real Addams Family House”

21 Chester Place

Who built the house (or had it built):

The Newhall Brothers

The Newhall Brothers – William & Edwin (top), Henry (middle), Walter & George (in front)

Henry G. Newhall
Born: 1853
Died: 1903

Walter S. Newhall
Born: 1860
Died: 12/25/1906

Credit goes to 2 out of 5 son’s of wealthy business man Henry Mayo Newhall, the man from whom the city Newhall, CA. is named after, The Newhall Ranch in Santa Clarita, CA., Numerous street names and the Newhall Pass in the San Fernando Valley.

After their father passed the brothers developed the “Newhall Land and Farming Company” in 1883. Henry G. Newhall also later became the president of the California Bank and Walter S. Newhall served as one of the Directors for the “Los Angeles Improvement Company.”

Henry G. Newhall should be credited as the original owner/builder of the Newhall house. He had the house built and lived there for the first 8 years before moving in 1896; when Walter Scott Newhall and Nellie Trowbridge got married and moved in (and were then listed as owning the house). They had 1 child in 1898 (Stillborn: Walter Towbridge Newhall).

In 1903, Henry G. Newhall passed away and on Christmas Day in 1906, Walter S. Newhall passed away as wellThey were both burried in the Newhall Family Plot (which had just been moved to Colma, CA., at “Cypress Lawn Memorial” in 1901, due to the San Francisco ban on cemeteries and burials).

Walter’s wife Nellie continued to live in the house for some time (although I am not sure for how long). Although I have not been able to find much information on Nellie, I have seen her name listed as Nellie Hammill Towbridge (Towbridge is obviously her Maiden name). I have also found her name listed as Nellie Trowbridge Ainsworth (I can only assume that she remarried some time later after Walter S. Newhall passed away, but can not find any documentation to support that assumption).

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When was the house built:

Los Angeles Herald, Nov 3, 1887

Los Angeles Herald, Nov 3, 1887

This “Los Angeles Herald” ad dated Nov 3, 1887, says the house was being built and the “1888 Los Angeles City Directory” shows that Henry G. Newhall was residing there now, so the house was more than likely completed in 1888.

1888 Los Angeles City Directory

1888 Los Angeles City Directory

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Addresses of the house:
Please note that the time-table below does not imply that the house addresses started and stopped on these dates. It only signifies just what the address was on that particular year (shown in the “Los Angeles City Directory”).

1888-1890

N s West Adams bet S Figueroa and Scarff
Los Angeles, California

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1895-1898

747 West Adams Street
Los Angeles, California

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1900

735 West 25th Street
Los Angeles, California

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1902

21 Chester Place
Los Angeles, California

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Architectural Period:

Queen Anne style with a Colonial influence.

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House Specifications:

Not known at this time.

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Where was the house located in Los Angeles:

Pretty much right in the center of Los Angeles. Situated southwest of downtown in the West Adams District off of “West Adams St.” (just west of “Figueroa”), the house sat in between “St. James Park” and “Chester Place.”

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Owners of the house during its existence:

Henry G. Newhall – (Had house built in 1888 and lived there until 1896).

Walter S. Newhall – (In 1896 after marrying, Walter and his wife took over the house and lived there until at least 1906).

Edward and Estelle Doheny –(Bought the land and house in 1915, rented house out as a rent home. Was a rent house for rest of existence between 1915-1968).

Mount St. Mary’s College (Aquired land and House in 1962 after Estelle Doheny passed away. “21 Chester Place” continued to be a rent house until its demise).

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When was the house demolished:

It was demolished sometime between 1968-1972 (I have yet to find factual proof of demolition date, but I speculate that it was demolished in 1968). According to “The Los Angeles City Directory”, the house had been evacuated in 1968 and aerial photos do show that it was definitely gone by 1972.

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Time-Line:

1853Los Angeles Land Survey was conducted and Henry G. Newhall was born

1855 Henry Hancock bought “Lot” of Land off of “West Adams Blvd.” (The land that would later become “Chester Place” in 1899, which is adjacent to the land where the Newhall house would be built 11 years prior in 1888)

1860Walter Scott Newhall was born

1867Nathan Vail bought “Lot” from Henry Hancock, built a home and lived there for almost 20 years

1883 – The Newhall brothers develop the “Newhall Land and Farming Company” based in San Francisco

1885Nathan Vail sold his land and home to Charles Silent

1887 – Henry G. Newhall starts construction on his home in the W. Adams District adjacent to Charles Silent’s land, and is now also president of the “California Bank” building. Walter S. Newhall gets a seat as Director for the “Los Angeles Improvement Company”

1888Henry G. Newhall’s house was completed just east of “St. James Park” and west of Charles Silent’s land, that was later to become “Chester Place”

1896Henry G. Newhall moves out of the house and Walter S. Newhall and wife move in

1899Charles Silent subdivided and created “Chester Place” on his land, creating a new street stretching from “West 23rd St.” to “West Adams Street” with gateways at both entrances. A new street running parallel was also made (on the west side named “West 25th St.”),  for access to “St. James Park”

1900“Chester Place” starts to fill up with wealthy residences wanting a private gated community

1901The Doheny’s moved in to “8 Chester Place”

1902The Doheny’s started buying up the remaining lots in “Chester Place” from Charles Silent, to control their surroundings (eventually owning all the homes in “Chester Place” and renting them out to friends and acquaintances) 

1903  Henry G. Newhall passed away

1906Walter S. Newhall passed away on Christmas Day

1915The Doheny’s bought the Newhall house and the land that it sat on. The house then became included and enclosed (with gateways installed on the street), with in “Chester Place”. It then became a rent house as Estelle had done with her other homes

1935Edward L. Doheny passed away

1958Estelle Doheny passed away leaving “Chester Place” to the “Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles”. Whom then gave the land to “Mount St. Mary’s College”, where they ended up opening their satellite campus there in 1962

1962 – “Mount St. Mary’s College” took over land. The Newhall house continued to be a rent home for the current renters, who had lived there since the 1930’s

1964 – “21 Chester Place” was used in the 1964 Motion Picture “Seven Days In May” and “The Addams Family” 1964-66 TV sitcom

1965 – “21 Chester Place” was used in the 60’s TV sitcom “Hazel” (Season 5/Episode 5)

1968 – “21 Chester Place” was put on the chopping block when “Mount St. Mary’s College Doheny Campus” that owned the land, was propositioned by the L.A.U.S.D. to let that side of the street go to make way for a school. Renters were ordered to evacuate

1968-1972 – The Newhall House – 21 Chester Place – was demolished sometime between this 4 year span (actual date is not known at this time, but the house was definitely gone by 1972)

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Video Footage of the house:

Was used in the very 1st episode of the 60’s TV sitcom “The Addams Family” in the opening scene, Season 1/Episode 1 (1964) “The Addams Family Goes To School” – (Exterior footage of house). 

Was used in the 1964 Motion Picture “Seven Days In May” – (Exterior footage of house).

Was used in one episode of the 60’s TV sitcom “Hazel”, Season 5/Episode 5 (1965) “The Holdout” – (Exterior footage of house).