21 Chester Place

Quick Facts

21 Chester Place

The mystery behind “The Real Addams Family House”


Who built the house:

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


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

Henry Gregory Newhall
Born: March 4, 1853
Died: May 20, 1903

Walter Scott Newhall
Born: August 24, 1860
Died: December 25, 1906

Credit goes to 2 out of 5 son’s of wealthy American businessman, Henry Mayo Newhall. A man whose extensive land holdings became the Southern California communities of Newhall, Saugus and Valencia, and the city of Santa Clarita.

After their father died 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.

Although some have claimed that Walter was the original owner, Henry truly should be credited as the original owner/builder of the house. He built the house and lived there for at least 8 years until Walter took over ownership.


When was the house built:


Los Angeles Herald (November 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 either officially completed in late 1887, or [very] early 1888.


1888 Los Angeles City Directory


Addresses of the house:
(According to the Los Angeles City Directory)


N s Adams bet South Figueroa and Scarff
Los Angeles, California



747 West Adams Street
Los Angeles, California



735 West 25th Street
Los Angeles, California



21 Chester Place
Los Angeles, California


Architectural Period:

Queen Anne with a Colonial influence.


House Specifications:

9 Bed rooms, 4 Bath rooms (with plumbing for two more), Hardwood floors, 45′ x 40′ burnt redwood Drawing Room, 40′ x 20′ Dinning Room in mahogany finish. White enamel finish throughout 2nd floor. A Conservatory, Garage, Tool house, 225 feet frontage with a total of 80,000 sq. ft. of land, with 25 varieties of trees.


Where was the house located in Los Angeles:

Located southwest of downtown in what today is called the West Adams District; situated in between St. James Park and Chester Place.

1907 Sanborn Map Company


When was the house demolished:

On June 9, 1967, the Department of Building and Safety issued a demolition permit for the house; notifying the Grafe’s to vacate by a certain time frame (usually thirty days from the notification date; sometimes more), and just eleven days later the permit to build a parking lot was filed. On October 16, 1967, just four months later, the ‘certificate of occupancy’ for the use of the new parking lot was issued (signifying that it was ready and could be used), so the house was demolished sometime between June 9th and October 16, 1967.


Owners/Occupants of the house during its existence:

Henry Gregory Newhall and Mary Livingston Wyatt Newhall – (Built the house and owned until at least 1896)*

Walter Scott Newhall and Nellie Hammill Trowbridge Newhall – (After their marriage in September 1896, Walter and his wife Nellie “officially” took over ownership of the house until April 1911)*

Jane Henry “Jenny” Scranton Roe and Gorham Tufts Jr. – (Bought the Newhall property in April 1911, and owned the house until 1914)*

Edward Laurence Doheny and Carrie Estelle Betzold Doheny – (Bought the land and house in 1914, and turned the Newhall house into a rental property)*

– Rental Occupants –

James Harvey Adams & Lillian Turner Adams – (Rented the house from 1915-1932)*

Paul Grafe and Helen Grafe – (Rented the house from 1936-1967)*


Mount St. Mary’s College (now a University) – (Acquired all of Chester Place after Estelle Doheny died. The ‘Doheny Campus’ officially opened in 1962; whereupon, 21 Chester Place continued to be a rental until its demise)

* since there is not a Los Angeles City Directory for every year, dates of occupancy are an estimation (as close as I possibly can).



1853Los Angeles Land Survey was conducted and Henry Gregory Newhall was born

1855 Henry Hancock purchased ‘Lot’ of land on the northwest corner of Adams and Figueroa St.

1860Walter Scott Newhall was born

1876 – Henry Hancock sold ‘Lot’ of land to investors

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

1887 – Henry G. Newhall starts construction on a house off Adams Street, in between St. James Park and Charles Silent’s land, and also becomes the president of the new California Bank

1888Henry G. Newhall’s house is completed just east of St. James Park and west of Charles Silent’s land (that was later to become Chester Place), and is now listed in the Los Angeles City Directory

1896 – Walter S. Newhall and Nellie Towbridge are married

1898First year in Los Angeles Directory that shows Walter S. Newhall is officially the occupant and owner of the house

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 was also made (on the west side named West 25th St.), for access to St. James Park. House address changed from 747 W. Adams St., to 735 West 25th St.

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

1901The Doheny’s moved in to 8 Chester Place

1902Between the 1901 and 1902 Los Angeles City Directories, the portion of West 25th St. that ran right in front of the house was renamed Chester Place. House address changed to 21 Chester Place during this time

1903  Henry G. Newhall died

1906Walter S. Newhall died

1911Walter’s wife, Nellie, remarried and sold the Newhall property to Mr. Gorham Tufts Jr., and Jenny Roe-Tufts

1914 – Mrs. Jenny H. S. Roe, sold 21 Chester Place to Edward and Estelle Doheny. The house then became included and enclosed (with gates installed on the street), within Chester Place. It then became a rental, as Estelle had done with her other homes that she had acquired in the immediate area

1915 – First set of rental occupants are living in the house

1936 Second set of rental occupants are now living in the house

1958Estelle Doheny died leaving Chester Place to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles; whom then gave the land to Mount St. Mary’s College (now considered a University) 

1962Mount St. Mary’s College took over Chester Place, and opened up their satellite campus there. The Newhall house continued to be a rental for the current occupants, who had been renting the house since the 1930’s

196421 Chester Place was used in the 1964 Motion Picture “Seven Days in May”, and “The Addams Family” 1964-66 TV sitcom

196521 Chester Place was used in the 60’s TV sitcom “Hazel” (Season 5/Episode 5)

1967 – The Newhall House – 21 Chester Place – was demolished sometime between June 9, 1967 and October 16, 1967


Video Footage of the house:

Was used in the very 1st episode of the 60’s TV sitcom “The Addams Family” (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).

Not footage of the original house, but an Addams Family video I made with “The Sims 2”.

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