Milt Davis House
The house that architect Ed Niles designed for former professional football player Milt Davis in Los Feliz is a solid example of Late Modern residential design.
With its redwood siding, open decks, and view-conscious siting, it is reminiscent of the designs at Sea Ranch in northern California and is certainly atypical of the massive Westside glass-and-metal residential temples for which Niles later became known. But it is the house's story that has no equal among those of Niles' other designs.
Its owner, Milt Davis, was a standout college and professional football player of African American and Native American descent who overcame poverty, family troubles, and racism to become a mentor and inspiration to generations of young Angelenos. After several successful years in the NFL, Davis lost patience with the pervasive racism he encountered in his travels and quit the league to pursue a doctoral degree at UCLA.
In addition to his job as a professor of Natural History at Los Angeles City College, Davis coached high school football, was a professional scout, and volunteered at organizations including a Jewish orphanage that had once housed him.
It was while serving at that orphanage as a counselor that he encountered a young Ed Niles, who would later grow up to design three houses for him.
Niles completed Davis' Los Feliz house in 1975, making it one of the celebrated architect's earliest designs. Davis and his wife Yvonne eventually retired to another Niles-designed house in rural Oregon, leaving their Late Modern Los Feliz home to tell the extraordinary story of a great man and those he helped along his way.