Saturday, August 22, 2015

Barry Byrne's Only Known Project in Los Angeles, The Brownson House Settlement Association Compound, Boyle Heights, 1913

(Click on images to enlarge)
Francis Barry Byrne, ca. 1913, possibly in Los Angeles. From Alfonso Iannelli: Modern by Design by David Jameson, Top Five Books, 2013, p. 98.

Afer stints partnering with former fellow former Frank Lloyd Wright apprentices Walter Burley Griffin for a year in Chicago and Andrew Willatzen for three years in Seattle, Francis Barry Byrne traveled to Southern California to visit Lloyd and John Wright. The brothers were then living rent-free in a San Diego cottage designed and owned by Lloyd's employer Irving Gill. Lloyd and John were draftsmen working for Irving Gill and Harrison Albright who at the time had very busy offices in San Diego and Los Angeles. Gill, Albright, Lloyd and John were all then commuting almost weekly between the two cities. While in Los Angeles Gill was living at the Van Nuys Hotel while his office was located in the Citizen's National Bank Building coincidentally designed by John Wright's employer Harrison Albright. (Author's note: In June of 1913 Gill more or less permanently moved his home and office to a Victorian mansion converted into a rooming house at 913 S. Figueroa St. across the street from the Friday Morning Club. For much more on this see my "Irving Gill, Homer Laughlin and the Beginnings of ModernArchitecture in Los Angeles, Part II, 1911-1916" and my "Irving Gill's First Aiken System Project: The Sarah B. Clark Residence, 7231 Hillside Ave., Hollywood, Spring 1913 (Gill-Aiken).

Byrne decided to try his luck in Los Angeles and set up shop in suite 807 of the Los Angeles Trust and Savings Building at 215 W. 6th St. next door to the architectural offices of Ross and Mott Montgomery (see below). Byrne and the Wrights became fast friends with the Montgomery brothers evidenced by Lloyd either working for or sharing office space with them in early 1914 after leaving Gill's employ. The Montgomerys were designing numerous high end residences that needed high end landscapes to match. ("Personal,"Architect and Engineer of California, March 1914, p. 113. (Author's note: Ross Montgomery would also serve as best man for Lloyd when he married Aline Barnsdall's Los Angeles Little Theater leading lady Kirah Markham in November of 1916. (For much more on this see my "R. M. Schindler, Edward Weston, Margrethe Mather, Anna Zacsek, Lloyd Wright, Lawrence Tibbett, Reginald Pole, Beatrice Wood and Their Dramatic Circles").

Los Angeles Trust and Savings Bank Building, 215 W. 6th St., Parkinson and Bergstrom, architects, 1910. From Los Angeles Pulic Library Photo Collection.

Jean Hotel, 840 S. Flower St., architect unknown, built in 1911. From Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Byrne moved into an apartment in the Jean Hotel, a block away from Gill's soon-to-be office/residence at 913 S. Figueroa St. sometime around March or April of 1913. By then Lloyd and John were also seemingly spending the lion's share of their time in Los Angeles as Gill was extremely busy as chief architect of the new Industrial City of Torrance, numerous residential projects in Los Angeles, a school and railroad station in Fontana while concurrently establishing his Concrete Building and Investment Company. While in Los Angeles the Wright brothers were rooming with Byrne who had stayed with them briefly in San Diego. (For much more on this see my "Gill-Aiken" and "Gill-Laughlin II").

Barry Byrne, left, Lloyd Wright, second from right. (Others possibly Mott and Ross Montgomery, see "Gill-Laughlin II"). Photographer unknown (John Lloyd Wright or Alfonso Iannelli?), ca. 1913. From The Architecture of Barry Byrne, Taking the Prairie School to Europe, by Vincent L. Michael, University of Illinois Press, 2013, p. 20. Courtesy Barry Byrne Family.

"Noble Philanthropy Now Taking Shape, Los Angeles Times, May 18, 1913, p. VI-4.

Until I discovered the above article it had been thought that Byrne had not received any commissions during his one year stay in Los Angeles. He landed his only known Los Angeles commission around April of 1913. Presaging his numerous future projects for the Catholic Church, the project was for the design of a three building compound for the Church-affiliated Brownson House Settlement Association on Church property between Pleasant and Pennsylvania Avenues near Brooklyn Ave. in Boyle Heights. (Ibid). The site had been recently acquired for the settlement house compound by Bishop Conaty whom fellow Irishman Byrne would likely have met (see below).

Bishop Conaty, 1913. From Press Reference Library, Notables of the Southwest, Los Angeles, 1913, p. 149.

A description of the Brownson Boyle Heights compound was published in the May 17, 1913 issue of Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer (see below) but a search of subsequent issues revealed no further mention of the project being issued a building permit or notice of completion.
Francis Barry Byrne, 807 Trust & Savings Bldg., is preparing plans for a group of three social settlement buildings to be erected on Pleasant Ave., near Brooklyn Ave., for the Brownson House Association. The main building will be 1-story with high basement and will contain a chapel, an auditorium seating about 300, club rooms, bowling alley and shower baths. Dimensions 35x150 ft. There will be a 2-story residence for settlement workers containing twelve rooms and bathroom; dimensions 38x60 ft. The priest's residence will be 1-story and will contain six rooms and bath. The building will be frame construction with exterior plastered on metal lath, shingle roofs, pine trim, hardwood and pine floors, furnace heat in each building, automatic water heaters, electric wiring. Contractors to bid on work selected." (Southwest Contractor and Manufacturer, May 17, 1913, p. 14).
W. H. Workman House, 357 S. Boyle Ave., Boyle Heights. Photo from Calisphere.

The president of Brownson House at the time was Mary Julia Workman who organized numerous fund-raisers on the grounds of the Workman House, a few blocks south of the proposed Brownson House compound (see above). She seemingly did not raise enough to finance the construction as I have been unable to find any evidence that the compound was ever built. (For example, "MAY-DAY FETE IS JOYOUS AFFAIR.: THRONGS VISIT, AFFAIR AT THE WORKMAN HOME; Festival Nets Neat Sum Toward Paying for New Buildings of Brownson House Settlement--Picturesque Costumes and Decorations Lend Color to Affair," LAT, May 25, 1913, p. IV-12).

Coincidentally, the publication of Byrne's Brownson compound renderings was right around the time his former employer Frank Lloyd Wright was in town visiting John and Lloyd, reconnecting with Irving Gill and meeting Harrison Albright. Byrne would likely have proudly shown his former employer his Prairie-Style handiwork as it was quite a substantial commission indeed. 

Monroe Building (center), 104 S. Michigan Ave., Holabird and Roche, architects, 1912.

After consulting with and then ignoring his former employer Wright's advice, in February 1914 Byrne returned to Chicago to take over his former Oak Park Studio colleague and employer Walter Burley Griffin's practice. Griffin and wife Marion Mahony Griffin, another fellow former FLW apprentice, had moved into 1600 Monroe Building (see above) from their Steinway Hall location shortly after its completion in 1912. The couple moved to Melbourne, Australia to oversee their competition-winning design for the new federal capital in Canberra and invited Byrne to partner and oversee the Chicago practice.

Another mutual friend of the Wrights, Alfonso Iannelli, leased space next door to Byrne in 1915. This was a block north of Wright's then office in Orchestra Hall where John and Lloyd Wright were briefly working together in 1913-14 on the Midway Gardens project and an exhibition of Wright's work since 1911 at the Art Institute of Chicago. (Gill-Laughlin II)

Monday, August 17, 2015

The Architectural Poet's Tomb, Louis Sullivan at Graceland

Louis Sullivan, ca. 1923. From "Louis H. Sullivan (1856-1924," Architectural Record, June, 1924, p. 587.

Poet Marge Piercy penned the very powerful poem "Visiting a Dead Man on a Summer Day."  It is about Louis Sullivan's tragic life, his tombstone and his Getty Tomb at Graceland Cemetery and was written in Chicago during the rioting across the U.S. during the dreadful summer of 1967.

"Visiting a dead man on a summer day"
by Marge Piercy

In flat America, in Chicago,
Graceland cemetery on the German North Side.
Forty feet of Corinthian candle
celebrate Pullman embedded
lonely raisin in a cake of concrete.
The Potter Palmers float
in an island parthenon.
Barons of hogfat, railroads and wheat
are postmarked with angels and lambs.

But the Getty tomb: white, snow patterned
in a triangle of trees swims dappled with leaf shadow,
sketched light arch within arch
delicate as fingernail moons.

The green doors should not be locked.
Doors of fern and flower should not be shut.
Louis Sullivan, I sit on your grave.
It is not now good weather for prophets.
Sun eddies on the steelsmoke air like sinking honey.

On the inner green door of the Getty tomb
(a thighbone's throw from your stone)
a marvel of growing, blooming, thrusting into seed:
how all living wreathe and insinuate
in the circlet of repetition that never repeats:
ever new birth never rebirth.
Each tide pool microcosm spiraling from your hand.

Sullivan, you had another five years
when your society would give you work.
Thirty years with want crackling in your hands.
Thirty after years with cities
flowering and turning grey in your beard.

All poets are unemployed nowadays.
My country marches in its sleep.
The past structures a heavy mausoleum
hiding its iron frame in masonry.
Men burn like grass
while armies grow.

Thirty years in the vast rumbling gut
of this society you stormed
to be used, screamed
no louder than any other breaking voice.
The waste of a good man
bleeds the future that's come
in Chicago, in flat America,
where the poor still bleed from the teeth,
housed in sewers and filing cabinets,
where prophets may spit into the wind
till anger sleets their eyes shut,
where this house that dances the seasons
and the braid of all living
and the joy of a man making his new good thing
is strange, irrelevant as a meteor,
in Chicago, in flat America
in this year of our burning. 

(Marge Piercy, “Visiting a dead man on a summer day” from Circles on the Water: Selected Poems of Marge Piercy (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982). First appeared in Carleton Miscellany (Winter 1967). Copyright © 1967, 1982 by Marge Piercy and Middlemarsh, Inc. Used by permission of the Wallace Literary Agency, Inc. 

I like to think that Piercy derived her inspiration for this piece after discovering Sullivan's "Wherefore the Poet?" published by Harriet Monroe in the March 1916 issue of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse.

John Wellborn Root, Architect by Harriet Monroe, Prairies School Press, 1966. (Originally published in 1896 by Houghton-Mifflin).

Sullivan was certainly well-acquainted with the editor of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse Harriet Monroe through her biography of her brother-in-law John Wellborn Root, her architectural articles for the Chicago Tribune and socially. He also certainly would have seen Monroe read her "Columbian Ode" at the opening ceremony of World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. The seeds of what Sullivan thought the impact of the "classic" architecture of the Exposition might have on the progression of modern architecture might have been planted while he was listening to Monroe's opus,
"Meanwhile the virus of the World's Fair, after a period of incubation ... began to show unmistakable signs of the nature of the contagion. There came a violent outbreak of the Classic and the Renaissance in the East, which slowly spread Westward, contaminating all that it touched, both at its source and outward.... By the time the market had been saturated, all sense of reality was gone. In its place, had come deep seated illusions, hallucinations, absence of pupillary reaction to light, absence of knee-reaction-symptoms all of progressive cerebral meningitis; the blanketing of the brain. Thus Architecture died in the land of the free and the home of the brave.... The damage wrought by the World's Fair will last for half a century from its date, if not longer." (The Autobiography of an Idea Louis Sullivan). (Author's note: For much more on Sullivan and his impact on Adolf Loos, Frank Lloyd Wright, R. M. Schindler and Richard Neutra see my "R. M. Schindler, Richard Neutra and Louis Sullivan's"Kindergarten Chats").
Harriet Monroe at her desk in the office of Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, 1914.

The Columbian Ode by Harriet Monroe, W. Irving Way and Co., Chicago, 1893.

The 1967 publication of Piercy's poignant poem on the tragic life of Sullivan brought full-circle Monroe's publication of his "Wherefore the Poet?" when Frank Lloyd Wright's beloved Liebermeister's career was languishing in 1916.

Poetry: A Magazine of Verse, March 1916.

Monroe was quite stricken with Sullivan's regard for poetry and the poets who write it. His closing line is one to remember, 
"Awake! O Multitudes; for poetry is the highest of practical powers. It is not what you have supposed. Awake!"

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Ella Giles Ruddy House, 241 N. Western Ave., Irving Gill, Architect, 1913

(Click on images to enlarge)
Ella Giles Ruddy, ca. 1910. Photo by Hemenway. From "Mrs. George Drake Ruddy, Who Has Given Up Home Near Honolulu," Los Angeles Herald, August 22, 1910, p. 3.

Little is known of the house Irving Gill designed for prominent Los Angeles club woman, author and socialite Ella Giles Ruddy. In his monograph Irving Gill and the Architecture of Reform Thomas Hines had a house for Mrs. George D. Ruddy included in his list of Gill's unbuilt projects. Bruce Kamerling correctly had the Ruddy House listed as being built but did not cite a location nor did he make any other mention of the house or Ruddy in his Irving Gill, Architect. (Hines, p. 294 and Kamerling, p. 132).

The larger than life and much under-recognized Ella A. Giles was born in 1856 near Madison, Wisconsin to H. H. Giles and Rebecca Watson Giles. Her father was a member of the State Board of Charities and Reform from whom she inherited an abiding interest in social welfare. She attended the University of Wisconsin and for many years was one of Wisconsin's delegates to the annual national Conference on Charities and Corrections where she presented numerous papers. Her father was president of the organization in 1887.

Giles' primary interests however were in writing and music. She was very active in contemporary literary circles and was an intimate friend of Wisconsin authors Ella Wheeler Wilcox and Hattie Tyng Griswold. She corresponded with many Wisconsin and other American authors of the day and went on to author numerous books including Bachelor Ben; Out from the Shadows; Maiden Rachel; Flowers of the Spirit; Club Etiquette; and The Mother of Clubs, Caroline M. Seymour Severance. She had stories published in Harpers and also wrote literary sketches for the Chicago Times, The Century, the New York Evening Post and other period publications. (Finding Aid for the Ella Giles Ruddy Papers, 1861-1916, Wisconsin Historical Society. Author's note: Giles' interest in architecture was presaged by an article "The Architecture of Minneapolis" she had published in the April 1883 issue of Inland Architect and Builder).

The dynamic Giles moved to Los Angeles in 1895 for health reasons and immediately burst upon the progressive women's club scene. She became a founding member and officer of numerous organizations promoting women's equality and social progressivism. She also quickly began contributing literary pieces to the Los Angeles Times and music columns "Key and Bow" to the Los Angeles Herald and "Musical Matters" to the musical weekly The Capital. (See for example Giles, Ella A., "A Prose Pastel: After a Concert," LAT, December 29, 1895, p. 13, "A Prose Pastel: Like Music," LAT, January 17, 1896, p. 13, "Key and Bow," LAH, October 27, 1895, p. 15 and "Musical Matters," The Capital, January 11, 1896, p. 7).

Shortly after her arrival the Los Angeles Herald published a feature on her.
The Authoress 
The people of Los Angeles are to be congratulated upon the acquisition to social and literary circles of a prominent and talented woman, who comes to our city from Madison, Wis. This is Miss Ella Giles, the clever writer of a number of clever books and short stories and a poet of no small ability. 
In an informal chat with a Herald representative a few days since, Miss Giles expressed herself more than delighted with Southern California, and said that she had come to the state ostensibly for health, but the many charms of Los Angeles had so captivated her that she would make it her future home. Miss Giles is a tall, graceful brunette, and is as delightful and versatile in her conversation as in her writings. With a quick wit and a fund of information of places and people gathered in her extensive travels, she cannot fail to hold her listeners with unflagging interest and, as someone has said of her, "It is hard to tell whether she is most strongly intellectual or most daintily effeminate" in her make-up.
"Ella A. Giles; The Authoress," Los Angeles Herald, September 29, 1895, p. 18. 
Miss Giles' home in Wisconsin was the center for the meeting of Browning clubs, Emerson clubs and clubs for the study of political economy, etc. To her belongs the credit of penning the first article of prominence on the Norse dramatist Ibsen, and for some time her Scandinavian articles in the Chicago Times drew public attention. Her first story, Bachelor Ben, was begun and finished as a pastime during invalidism. It was published immediately, and less than sixty days the first edition of 1000 volumes was exhausted. Other books followed in close succession. Of short stories she has enough to make a good-sized book, and her essays and papers on social science subjects are numerous. For a number of years she was one of the directors of the Association for the Advancement of Women and has long been on its committee of journalism. Miss Giles is an accomplished musician, and her first contribution was in this line, but sickness and broken health shut off further musical advancement, and groping in the dark she reached out her hand and with her prolific pen touched the vain which has given to the world the benefit of her best thoughts. The author says of herself "I am merely an incidentalist, making use of opportunities only to meet with buffeting, baffling imitations, and from necessity changing my enthusiasms." Miss Giles possesses that rare quality of magnetism and unconsciously draws people about her. As a friend said of her, she has no sullen brow, no sarcastic smile and no bitter word for a sister's success; but her cheerful "she deserves it all" is as ready as her warm hand." (Ibid).
By March of 1896 the dynamic Giles was elected vice-president of the Southern California Woman's Press Club and would become president the following year. "Woman's Press Club," LAT, March 12, 1896, p. 12). She also served as president of the woman's suffrage organizations the Political Equality League and the Equal Suffrage Association as well as the California Badger Club of Los Angeles and numerous others. In what was possibly a marriage of convenience Giles married George Drake Ruddy "an attache of the Tax Collector's office" in August of 1896. ("Personals," LAT, August 29, 1896, p. 7). Ruddy was also vice- resident of the Los Angeles LaFollette for President Club. ("LaFollette Friends Organize Club Here," LAH, March 2, 1912, p. 1. Author's note: Coincidentally Robert LaFollette's three children attended fellow Badger FLW's aunts' Hillside School in Spring Green, WI with his sons Lloyd and John Wright.). 

The July 28, 1899 issue of the Los Angeles Times announced a "one-story frame and plaster residence containing seven rooms exclusive of bathrooms, pantries, closets, etc., for Mrs. Ella Giles Ruddy, of this city to be built on the north side of Wilshire Boulevard between Rampart and Benton streets." The same day the Herald reported "Mr. and Mrs. George Drake Ruddy are building a new residence on Wilshire Boulevard. It will be a one-story cottage in the modified mission style of architecture." ("In Society," Los Angeles Herald, July 28, 1899, p. 6).

Wilshire Blvd. Tract ad, The Capital, January 11, 1896, p. 16.

Perhaps the Ruddys had seen the ads for Gaylord Wilshire's new Wilshire Blvd. Tract in The Capital which ran Ella's column "Musical Matters" or some other period publication. In any event they purchased some prime lots destined to soon skyrocket in value (see above and below).

Ruddy Residence, "Mission Cottage," 2711 Wilshire Blvd., 1899. See "Women's Clubs," The Capital July 5, 1902, p. 13 and Historic Los Angeles.

On November 12, the Los Angeles Herald reported in its society pages that Mr. and Mrs. George Drake Ruddy had just moved into their new home at 2711 Wilshire Blvd. (see above) and would be giving "...a series of Sunday evenings with authors and musicians." ("In Society," LAH, November 12, 1899, p. 10). The Ruddys entertained frequently and their club and social activities were ongoing fodder for the social pages of the Herald and Times. (Author's note: From 1908 until the 1920s Gill colleague architect Harrison Albright lived in a house at 618 S. Benton Blvd. across the street from the northeast corner of the park right around the corner from the Ruddys (see map below). Albright thus could have introduced Gill to his well-connected neighbors. (1909-1921 Los Angeles City Directories).

Wilshire Blvd. Tract. Huntington Digital Library.

Ebell Club of Los Angeles, Broadway south of 7th St., ca. 1905. From USC Digital Collections.

Ruddy was also a prominent member of the Ebell Club of Los Angeles (see above) and served as the group's literary "curator." Her considerable club activity prompted her to author "Club Etiquette Over the Teacups" (see below) which included an introductory essay "Creed for Club Life for Women" by fellow Los Angeles progressivist and Ebell Club leader Clara Burdette.

Club Etiquette Over the Tea Cups by Ella Giles Ruddy, Out West Co., 1902.

Caroline Seymour Severance and Ella Giles Ruddy in Ruddy's Emerson Corner in her home at 2711 Wilshire Blvd. ca. 1906 (from below book).

Giles quickly befriended pioneering Los Angeles club woman Caroline M. Seymour Severance, founder of the Ebell Club, Friday Morning Club and Severance Club. Eminently book-worthy in her own right, Giles honored the venerable Seymour by editing a book The Mother of Clubs, Caroline M. Seymour Severance: An Estimate and an Appreciation (see below).

The Mother of Clubs, Caroline M. Seymour Severance: An Estimate and an Appreciation edited by Ella Giles Ruddy, Baumgardt Publishing Co. 1906.

Sunset (later Lafayette) Park, from the Bryson Apartments, ca. 1913. Dedicated in 1899 and landscaped in 1909. Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Shortly after the Ruddy's moved into their beloved "Mission Cottage," land for Sunset (later Lafayette) Park was dedicated across Benton Blvd. to the west the following year. The park was finally landscaped 10 years later (see above). Next door neighbor Ella Giles Ruddy and her California Badger Club sponsored the planting of one of the inaugural trees as did the Friday Morning Club, Charles Lummis and dozens of other individuals and organizations. ("Sunset Park Beautified," Los Angeles Times, March 14, 1909, p, I-8. Author's note: While earlier heading the California Badger Club, a women's philanthropic and social club of Wisconsin transplants, Ruddy directed the founding of the Badger Club Girls' Home in 1903. The purpose was to provide housing for self-supporting women and was located at 1046 S. Grand Ave.

Looking east across Sunset Park. Rampart Arms Apts. at 6th and Rampart on the left, Harrison Albright Residence at 618 S. Benton Blvd. in the center.

(Author's note: The above view looking easterly across Sunset Park illustrates some residences along the east side of S. Benton Blvd. across the street from the park. Gill-Laughlin colleague Harrison Albright moved into an existing house at 618 S. Benton Blvd. in 1908 (center above and Lot 13, Block 8 below). He took out a remodeling permit in 1908 and a permit for a new garage to house his Detroit Chalmers automobile in 1911 just before he hired fledgling architect John Lloyd Wright. John and Lloyd Wright would certainly have visited at some point, almost certainly in May of 1913 when their father was in town.). (Gill-Laughlin).

Excerpt from Plate 15 of Baist's Real Estate Atlas, 1910.

Bryson Apartments, 2701 Wilshire Blvd., 1913. Frederick Noonan and Charles Kysor, architects.

As property values along Wilshire Blvd. dramatically appreciated, around late 1911 or early 1912 the Ruddys sold their home to developer Hugh Bryson. After selling "Mission Cottage" for $1,000 to real estate investors Perry and Jacob Isenstein who moved it to 222 Gramercy Place where it still stands, Bryson immediately built the nine-story Bryson Apartments (see above). (Historic Los Angeles). Architects Noonan & Kysor were issued a building permit to begin construction of the Bryson Apartments on April 13, 1912 around the time Irving Gill was hired by the Dominguez Land Company to begin work on their new Industrial City of Torrance. Gill and Lloyd Wright were at the time also working on landscape plans for Homer Laughlin, Jr.'s Laughlin Park development. For much more on the Laughlin-Albright connections see my "Irving Gill, Homer Laughlin and the Beginnings of ModernArchitecture in Los Angeles" (Gill-Laughlin)).

Then needing a permanent place to live the Ruddy's temporarily moved into the Hershey Arms Hotel across the street from their old home (see below). They commissioned Gill to begin design on a new home for a lot they had purchased at 241 N. Western Ave. Despite by then being extremely busy with his Torrance projects Gill found the time to design a remarkable cottage for the Ruddys as will be seen in the below photos. 

Hershey Arms Hotel, 2600 Wilshire Blvd., John C. Austin, architect, 1907. From USC Digital Archive.   

The Ruddys most likely met Gill through Homer and Ada Laughlin and/or through Laughlin Bldg. Annex designer and tenant Harrison Albright who was their nearby neighbor in the above-mentioned Gaylord Wilshire Tract. Ada was a fellow prominent club woman and both of the Ruddys at times had offices in the Laughlin Building. George had a real estate brokerage office in the building as did Ella while she was secretary of the Humane Animal League of Los Angeles. (Gill-Laughlin).

The Ruddys were certainly given tours of and/or socially visited Gill's Laughlin House completed in 1908 and his Miltimore House in South Pasadena completed right around the time the Ruddys sold their house to Bryson. This can be surmised by the similarities between the Miltimore entrance pergola and the Laughlin central patio and their Gill-designed Western Ave. gem (see later below). After her husband's passing, Paul Miltimore became vice-president and her step-daughter Catharine secretary of the Los Angeles Olive Grower's Association whose office was for a time in the Bradbury Building (see below) directly across the street from the Laughlin Building. Catharine Miltimore and Homer Laughlin, Jr.'s wife Ada Edwards Laughlin were also fellow alumnae of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and served together on the organization's National Scholarship Committee. (1911 Los Angeles City Directory and Kappa Alpha Theta, L. Pearle Green, editor, Volume 24, 1909-1910). 

Thanks to an article written by erstwhile Gill draftswoman Persis Bingham which was published in the August 1916 issue of Bungalow Magazine we have the only known photos of Gill's wonderful design. (Bingham, Eugenia Persis, Ruddy Bungalow, Los Angeles, Sanitary Home, Rooms Reversed Bring Garden Nearer House, Bungalow Magazine, August 1916, pp. 492-499). Without her prescient piece the Ruddy House would not be known today. (I am very grateful to Gill historian Erik Hansen fro sharing these photos from his collection). Bingham had worked for Gill in 1914 on his Chapin House and her future husband John Cassiday worked for Gill two years later on his Sarah B. Clark House remodel for civil engineer William H. Code who purchased the house from Clark in 1916. The Cassidays were so taken with Gill's work that they closely modeled their own house built in 1921 after Gill's Chapin House. (For much more on this see my "Sarah B. Clark Residence, Irving Gill's First Aiken System Project" and "The"Dirt-Proof" House for Adelaide M. Chapin" Author's note: The Cassiday Bungalow had until now been thought to be a Gill design. For example David Gebhard first incorrectly attributed the Bingham Cottage to Gill in his "Irving J. Gill" chapter in Toward a Simpler Way of Life: The Arts and Crafts Architects of California edited by Robert Winter, University of California Press, 1997, pp. 207-08.  Thomas Hines then followed suit in his Irving Gill and the Architecture of Reform, 2000, Monacelli Press, p. 230).

Following are excerpts from Bingham's excellent article:
"As the house was built by day labor, no contract price is given but approximately $2,810 covers the cost. The sum is distributed as follows: Carpenter work, $1,000; heating and plumbing, $325; wiring, $50; electric fixtures, $60; excavating, $50; finish hardware, $100; concrete work and floors, $200; plastering, $600; painting, $300; roofing, $80; magnesite work, $45." (Bingham, Eugenia Persis, "Ruddy Bungalow, Los Angeles, Sanitary Home, Rooms Reversed Bring Garden Nearer House," Bungalow Magazine, August 1916, pp. 492-499).
Bungalow Home of Mrs. George D. Ruddy of Los Angeles, Cal., Designed by Irving J. Gill, Architect (Ibid). (Author's note: I have not as yet been able to determine whether the landscaping for this project was designed by Lloyd Wright who was still in Gill's employ at the time.).
"The green of the foliage, red of the gladiolas and purple of the bouganvillia find their ideal background in the soft gray finish which stucco acquires so easily. The plain, solid surfaces are the positive element with which the trailing, wandering vines unite to form beauty--the beauty which Nature shows us so positively when she draws her gentle tracery of vines and moss over the giant mass of a great, grey boulder on the ragged mountainside. It is the combination which we admire, not the separate elements which have been united, but this combination must follow certain unalterable laws of Nature if beauty is to be the result." (Ibid).
To Bring the House and Garden Into a More Sympathetic Relationship, the Usual Placing of Rooms Has Been Completely Reversed (Ibid).

Note the Effect Produced by those Wandering Vines and Delicate Plants on the Simple White Walls. (Ibid).
"In order to bring the house and garden into a more sympathetic relationship, the usual placing of rooms has been completely reversed. The living room and one bedroom are at the rear of the house, while the kitchen and screen porch face the front lawn. The living room is entered through a spacious fern-hung patio. This is often used as an outdoor sitting room and affords many gleaming vistas, besides entrances to various parts of the house." (Ibid).
It is the Combination We Admire--Plain Walls, With Delicate Clinging Leaves or Trailing Vines (Ibid).  (This photo courtesy of the San Francisco Public Library).

An Effort Has Been Made to Avoid Useless Ornament in Construction of Bookcases and Fireplace (Ibid).
"For sanitary reasons there are no door or window casings used in this house either inside or out; no cornice and no stucco ornament. Climbing plants and shrubbery have been depended on to furnish all exterior decoration and pictures and furnishings the interior. The living room is twenty-two feet long by sixteen feet wide. It opens to a garden on the west, with a patio on the east. Glass doors have been used for all patio entrances so that light is received from both sides in the living room. Bookcases with a fireplace between them occupy the north end of the room and every effort has been made to avoid useless ornament in their construction. There is a border of plain, flat tile around the opening and the balance of the mantel front is of hardwood enameled white. The shelf is three inches deep and extends over the bookcases on either side of the fireplace. There are no brackets under the shelf and no filigree work or panels on the woodwork. No ceiling beams, picture molds or baseboards are used, as the owner considered them useless and the house is much more easily cleaned and dusted without them. The walls are tinted a warm neutral tan, which forms an excellent background for any color or material. Figured draperies which hang to the floor from a rod above the window constitute an attractive window treatment which serves as a substitute for shades. The hangings are lined and have proven a most satisfactory window decoration." (Ibid).
For Sanitary Reasons, There Are No Door or Window Casings in This Home Either Inside or Out (Ibid).
"Double doors lead from the living room to the dining room. Doors are treated with hangings of the same material as the windows. Double glass doors lead to the dining room which opens on the south to the patio, where ferns and palms have been placed as an added attraction. Good light and excellent ventilation are assured by the southern exposure and wide, glass doors, in spite of the fact that there is no window on the north side of the room. The house to the north was so close that no view was obtainable in that direction and not enough light was available to make a window worth while, so none have been provided on the entire side. A plate rail was thought more harmful as a dust catcher than useful as an ornament, and consequently was dispensed with. (Ibid).
Gill originally hoped that the Ruddy House would be the first to employ the Aiken System but per the November 20, 1912 building permit it ended up being built by C. D. Goldthwaite using more traditional construction techniques. Gill's Concrete Building and Investment Company was listed as the contractor on the permit issued on April 29, 1913 to build the 14x16 ft. board and batten frame garage. ("Sarah B. Clark Residence, Irving Gill's First Aiken System Project").

Friday Morning Club, 940 S. Figueroa St., ca. 1900. Arthur B. Benton, architect, 1900. Photographer unknown. Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.

Gill's move into C. E. Fout's Victorian mansion converted into a rooming house across the street from the Friday Morning Club (see above) seems somehow to be connected to prominent club member Ruddy. After permanently relocating from San Diego shortly after completion of Ruddy's house Gill moved into the rambling mansion at 913 S. Figueroa St.. He was obviously attracted by the huge back yard in which he had ample room to conduct his reinforced concrete experiments. Gill remained at that location until 1921 when the building was demolished. (For much more on this see my "Irving Gill, Homer Laughlin and the Beginnings of Modern Architecture in Los Angeles, Part II, 1911-1922").