568 North Gower: Bungalow Oasis Nestled in a Hidden Gem of a Neighborhood

568 North Gower view from lawnIn the hopes of seeing a celebrity or five, tourists coming to Los Angeles often flock to thoroughfares like Rodeo Drive, Robertson Boulevard, Melrose Avenue, and Hollywood Boulevard—all perfectly legit mainstays of a fab itinerary. But insiders know that the chances of spotting a celeb in the often-overlooked Larchmont Village area–where this wonderful Colonial Revival bungalow at 568 North Gower is situated–are probably much higher.

Picture  of John Gower.

Photo courtesy of USC Digital Libraries

In the beginning, there was a farmer from Hawaii, John Gower, who had purchased a considerable amount of land and the city’s first harvesting equipment. Later, many movie studios were built near Gower’s property, giving the farmer more visibility. The street was named after him in 1910.

Eucalyptus trees on Gower.

Row of eucalyptus trees planted on Gower, circa 1910. Photo courtesy of USC Digital Libraries

568 North Gower was built in 1919. It’s in the heart of Hancock Park, just due east of the trendy shops on Larchmont Boulevard, north of Beverly, and south of Melrose in an area specifically known as Larchmont Heights.

568 North Gower front porch.The 1,544 square foot, 3-bedroom, 2-bath home sits on just over 5,600 square feet of space, and is flanked by rather large (especially for the neighborhood) front and back yards. Though the home is situated in what many might consider the heart of Los Angeles—near movie studios, Hollywood, and some of the city’s best shopping—its expansive porch recalls the architecture of Southern US—not Southern California—style homes. Sip a cool mint julep and forget that you’re in LA, just for a moment… Or perhaps your day dreaming will take you back to the early days of city’s famed industry.

Fairbanks in front of Players-Lasky Corps Studio

Douglas Fairbanks outside of the Famous Players-Lasky Corps Studios (Now Paramount Pictures), photo courtesy of Dailymail.co.uk

One of the studios near Gower is the oldest and longest-running movie studio in the United States—Paramount Pictures. Founded in 1912 as the Famous Players Company by Hungarian-born Adolph Zukor, the studio evolved to launch the careers of some of Hollywood’s best-known legends, including Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and Rudolph Valentino.

568 North Gower front porch and bushes.Bungalow homes were popular during this time. Many developments, such as the Highland Camrose Bungalow Village were specifically designed to house movie studio employees. 568 North Gower is set is on a gentle hill, above the street. The veritable wall of hedge surrounding the home truly creates an oasis for the lucky person needing a daily respite from all the glam just a stone’s throw away.

568 North Gower living room.Hardwood floors and open floor plan give the home a breezy, spacious flow. French doors allow plenty of natural sunlight to stream, while a fireplace inspires many a cozy night for those brisk fall and winter temperatures. (And by brisk, we mean 65°.)

568 North Gower dining room.The family room opens into a spacious dining room that could fit an adults’ and a kids’ table if you’re daring. Built-ins retain the beloved look of Craftsman design and expansive French windows bathe the space in light.

568 North Gower living room and living room windows.Part of the Arts and Craft’s movement was to simplify the lives of families. For those lazy days when entertaining means popping a bowl of popcorn and watching Jaws for the twentieth time, the family room offers a perfect, comfy escape.

568 North Gower study. 568 North Gower bedroom. 568 North Gower master bedroom.The three bedrooms feature ample space and unique details that make each special. The master bedroom, for example, has gorgeous French doors that open onto a back patio.

568 North Gower bathroom.Teal adds a pop of fun color to this sunny bathroom. Built-ins provide plenty of storage.

568 North Gower kitchen.A gourmet kitchen provides even the most discerning chef with a spacious playground for creating. Stainless steel appliances and beautiful tile add a modern touch, while built-ins keep the space loyal to the original design.

568 North Gower sitting room.Lounge for hours in the sitting room that’s kitchen-adjacent with your favorite book and a cup of tea.

568-north-gower-backyardA bonus area in the backyard is perfect for visiting guests. 568 North Gower studio room.It’s likely many of 568 North Gower’s former residents used this as a studio or a creative space.

Larchmont Boulevard viewed along the street.

Larchmont Boulevard circa 1920, photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Of course the areas around the studios needed to accommodate the new wealth and glamour flooding into the area as well. According to a 1921 Los Angeles Times article, developers Julian La Bonte and Charles Ranson purchased seven lots on Larchmont Boulevard, becoming the first to develop it as a business district.

Marlborough School, viewed from the front.

Marlborough School, date unknown, photo courtesy of USC Digital Libraries

The Larchmont Village area saw rapid expansion in the early 1920s, and according to the Larchmont Buzz, The Marlborough School was one of the first buildings in the area. It was founded in 1889 by Mary Caswell and is the oldest independent girls’ school in Los Angeles. Today, the exclusive private school for girls is regarded as one of the best schools in the Los Angeles area.

568 North Gower is just a mile north of the Marlborough School. The home’s first owner was a man named George H. Marcher, an employee of the Pacific Gem Company, who purchased the home when it was built in 1919.

Advertisements for Pacific Gem Company. Headline: "Precious Stones"

Advertisement for Pacific Gem Company listing Geo Marcher’s name as Secretary, Los Angeles Herald, June 1906

According to records, Marcher lived in the home for at least fifteen years. Jazz musician Charles Bagley moved into the home after Marcher. The Online Archive of California states that Bagley was also a lawyer, and was active in the American Federation of Musicians union (he served as Vice President).

"Miss Keller Weds Musician Bagley" headline.

Wedding announcement between Charles Bagley and Gertrude Keller, Los Angeles Herald April 1904

Bagley lived during a tumultuous time in LA’s social history, especially with respects to music. The music unions were in the process of desegregating amidst a burgeoning LA music scene, and as a union member of Local 47, he was involved in many of the behind-the-scenes actions of the industry.

Following suit in the realm of LA entertainment, prolific cinematographer Joe Gallagher and his wife Lindsey moved into the home years later. Joe has worked on a variety of TV shows including Law & Order:LA, Deadwood, and more recently, The Goldbergs.

Guinevere van Seenus modelling Erdem's pre-spring/summer 2012 collection.

Photo courtesy of Vogue.co.uk

In 2004, the Gallaghers sold 568 North Gower to model Gwynne Van Seenus, a prolific model who has graced dozens of magazine covers.

568 North Gower lawn and bushes. 568 North Gower side patio.An entertainer’s dream, the home offers both a gorgeously landscaped backyard and side patio for those summer parties. Breezy yet secluded enough (and set far from Gower Street) for private gatherings.

568 North Gower backyard.With the slowly growing glut of cute boutiques, ice cream shops, restaurants, and more that line Larchmont Boulevard and dot its environs, let’s hope that the laid-back, classy vibe of the area remains relatively unknown to the 40 million + that visit LA each year…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

clear formSubmit