North Oakhurst Drive Potential Historic District | Los Angeles Conservancy
View of Oakhurst Drive, south from 344 Oakhurst. Photo by Marcello Vavala/L.A. Conservancy

North Oakhurst Drive Potential Historic District

This highly intact collection of nine, two-story apartment buildings was constructed during the 1930s, with prominent architects including S. Charles Lee, Lester G. Scherer, Paul Neddham, and Edith Mortensen Northman contributing to the district. 

Located on the east side of North Oakhurst Drive, between Alden Drive and West Third Street at the eastern border of Beverly Hills, it was identified as a National Register-eligible historic district in 2014 through survey work conducted for the City of Beverly Hills. 

The district is significant as a notable concentration of Period Revival style multi-family residences from the 1930s.

The eastern boundary of Beverly Hills parallels Oakhurst Drive, but is situated mid-parcel along the properties on the east side of the street. The easterly two-thirds of the parcels in the district are located in the City of Los Angeles, while the westerly one-third, including street frontage and facades, are within the boundary of the City of Beverly Hills. 

Because their street frontage lay within Beverly Hills, the properties have traditionally been under the jurisdiction of Beverly Hills for purposes of planning and design review and building permit approvals.  The City of Los Angeles, however, is serving as the lead agency in reviewing the proposed condominium project at 332-336 N. Oakhurst that would demolish three of the contributors to this National Register-eligible district.

This potential historic district is part of a tract that was originally subdivided in 1922 by the Rodeo Land and Water Company. Individual property owners constructed these nine multi-family dwellings between 1930 and 1939 and selected various architects and builders for their designs.  Despite the variety of architects involved, the apartment buildings that comprise the district form a cohesive grouping that share similar height, scale and massing, along with a common setback from the street.

The mix of Period Revival architecture styles represented in the district were highly popular during the 1930s and include American Colonial Revival, Monterey Revival, and Spanish Colonial Revival.  Two sets of apartment buildings within the district are designed as matching pairs bearing the same architectural design, with each forming a narrow, central courtyard.

Various architects and builders contributed to the district, including prominent local architect Lester G. Scherer, master architect S. Charles Lee, and pioneering female architect Edith Mortensen Northman. 

Scherer designed the building at 348 N. Oakhurst, as well as the north structure of a matching pair at 346, to which Lee designed the companion structure at 344 N. Oakhurst.  All three are examples of Minimal Traditional style, which utilizes elements from the American Colonial Revival in a more simplified design.

The south end of the district contains a Spanish Colonial Revival building designed by architect Paul Neddham at 332 N. Oakhurst and a matching pair of Monterey Revival structures at 334 and 336 N. Oakhurst.

Danish-born Edith Northman, one of the few women architects practicing in Los Angeles before World War II, designed the matching Monterey Revival structures at 334 and 336 N. Oakhurst Drive.  Both were completed in 1930, making them among the first buildings to be constructed within the district.

Northman studied architecture at the University of Southern California from 1927 to 1930 and passed the state licensing examination in 1931. During the Great Depression, she carried on a remarkably successful private practice aided by a single drafter.  Throughout the course of her career, she designed a wide variety of building types, including Union Oil Company service stations, churches, commercial buildings, factories, residences, and apartments.

Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Sheats Apartments

Completed in 1949, the building was designed by master architect John Lautner as eight units of student housing. Asymmetrically arranged shapes, from circular volumes to long, flat planes, step up the hill and around each other to form a strangely harmonious, abstractly futuristic, and truly organic-feeling whole.
Photo by Jessica Hodgdon/L.A. Conservancy

Liberation House

The original Liberation House in Hollywood represented a response to the increasing numbers of LGBTQ individuals living on the streets in the 1970s.