Paul Revere Williams House
The Craftsman-style house at 1271 West 35th Street illustrates a part of Paul Revere Williams' life and story that is rarely told or fully understood.
The Paul Revere Williams House’s new owners plan to rehabilitate it and honor the story of Williams’ family.
Great news, as of January 31, 2023, the Paul Revere Williams House at 1271 West 35th Street has new owners! Curt Bouton and architect John Arnold have purchased the house and plan to fully rehabilitate it and honor the story of Williams’ family. The Conservancy is so thankful to Curt and John for coming to the rescue and taking this project on. We look forward to watching the progress and celebrating once it is all done and ready to be a home again.
Paul Revere Williams is one of the most prominent architects in California, if not the United States. And, yet, until 1951 he was prevented from designing and living in his own dream home due to racial covenants. This house helps tell the story of Williams and his family who resided here for thirty years, and an experience of housing discrimination against Black families throughout L.A. and the nation.
Through the Conservancy’s direct advocacy, the house is now a designated Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM), which acknowledges Williams’ time here and offers protection. Thank you Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson for supporting this nomination.
About This Place
About This Place
For all of Williams’ success, racial injustice framed his world. He designed mansions in places where he couldn’t live and elegant shops and restaurants where he was unwelcome. In Nevada, where he had many clients, he could not find commercial lodging, food, or office space.
By the time he was 25 years old, Paul Revere Williams had met and married his wife, Della Mae Givens. In 1921, after living with Williams’ foster mother, Paul Revere and Della Williams had saved enough money to purchase their own home on East 35th Street in the West Adams neighborhood. The neighborhood was home to a large Black community, in large part because it was free of the restrictive covenants that blanketed most of Los Angeles west of Main Street.
In Williams’ 1937 essay, “I Am a Negro,” he wrote:
Today I sketched the preliminary plans for a large country house which will be erected in one of the most beautiful residential districts in the world. Sometimes I have dreamed of living there. I could afford such a home. But this evening, I returned to my own small, inexpensive home… in a comparatively undesirable section of Los Angeles. I must always live in that locality, or in another like it, because…I am a Negro
Despite the fact that he was among the more prominent architects in California, if not the United States, until 1951 he was prevented from designing and living in his own dream home. The vast challenges he overcame and the extraordinary achievements he made during an era of racial injustice have inspired generations of architects.
In 2021, the house was listed for sale, at one point for redevelopment. The Conservancy and community advocates jumped into action to preserve this historic place.
Two years later, the house was purchased by preservation-minded owners who plan to fully rehabilitate the residence and honor the Williams family legacy.
The simple Craftsman style house at 1271 West 35th Street helps tell the important story of architect Paul Revere Williams and should be preserved so that we tell his full story and understand the challenges he overcame.
In August 2021, the Conservancy prepared and submitted a Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination for the house to the City’s Cultural Heritage Commission to ensure the house is protected. Thank you Teresa Grimes for preparing the nomination on behalf of the Conservancy!
Throughout 2021 the Conservancy explored the many places associated with L.A. architect Paul Revere Williams and his enduring legacy through tours and discussions, through Paul Revere Was Here educational programming.
- Paul Revere Williams’ original house provides insight into architect’s life, LA’s history of racial segregation, Spectrum News, April 5, 2023
- Los Angeles designates the home of Paul Revere Williams a Historic-Cultural Monument, The Architect’s Newspaper, February 21, 2022
- Paul R. Williams’ first LA home finally gains historic monument status, Archinet, February 17, 2022
- LA designates architect Paul Williams’ home as historic-cultural monument, Spectrum News, February 16, 2022
- An early Paul R. Williams house is on the market as conservationists push for monument status, Archinet News, September 6, 2021
- Home of Trailblazing Architect Paul Revere Williams Considered For LA Monument List, NBC News, September 2, 2021
Paul Revere Was Here
Los Angeles-born Paul Revere Williams was one of the country’s greatest architects. As a Black man in the field of architecture, he persevered in the face of racism to achieve remarkable success. Visit sites associated with Paul R. Williams and hear audio commentaries of SoCal NOMA members discussing their favorite Paul R. Williams sites.
People + Places: Preserving the Legacy of Paul Revere Williams
This panel discussion takes a look at the efforts to preserve the work—and legacy—of Paul R. Williams, including the incredible story behind the preservation of the iconic Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building.
Panelists includes Gail Kennard, Vice President of the City of Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Commission, and head of Robert Kennard Design Group, Hillary Henderson, Director of Operations and Administration of the South Central Los Angeles Regional Center.