Auguste Rudolph Marquis Residence, Part 1
Updated: Aug 13, 2021
2302 West 25TH Street, Los Angeles, California
Promised to be built in 4 months for Swiss gold miner, Auguste Rudolph Marquis
but the property took 9 months to build
6,324 square feet
1/2 an acre lot
Architect: C.F. Skilling- Chauncey Fitch Skilling
Searching for the architect of this property is what led me down a highly obsessive path of discovering more about this beautiful home. As a result of weeks of digging up over 100 years worth of newspapers and articles I finally found the architect! Let me mention how hard it has been to find any information online or through calling City Planning, Department of Building and Safety, or attempting to pull permit records. Im assuming Covid lockdown has made getting through or inquiring about architectural information before the 1970s much harder. I tried absolutely every avenue I could think of and ended up finding what I needed by searching for information from before the home was built. In doing so I started looking into the name of the tracts in the neighborhood and I found a clipping from when the West Adams area was selling tracts to build a high-end community.
I was looking up house numbers which is where I originally went wrong because there wouldn't have been any numbers since the area wasn't fully developed. I then found the major tracts that were being sold off at that time. There were five of them :
West Adams and Jefferson Street Tract (1903)
Hopper & Sons Western Avenue Tract (1905)
Arlington and Fourth Avenue Tract (1905)
Arlington Fourth Avenue Tract No. 2 (1906)
Jefferson Street Park Tract (1906)
My hope was to see if each tract had developers or acheticts designated. Many homes back in the day were built by the owners that occupied them. Then, I searched only the cross streets to see if anything came up and bam! there it was...
It appears the home was originally designed to be 2 stories high. They decided at some point to add the third-floor ballroom.
July 17, 1904
December 22, 1905
This Jefferson Park property located in West Adams has been my subject of obsession as of late. Information on this property's history is so limited (until now) and most sites state the same information (until now). I needed to dig deeper and change that and bring more information to light. In the process of doing so, I had more doors open for me, allowing me to reveal the home's past.
I was invited into the mansion by Dave, from Zone Locations; a wonderful gentleman that handles location filming for the property as well as Connie, the President of the Filipino Federation of America. The Federation owns the home and I was told that they have never before allowed anyone to walk through the house and observe its everlasting beauty without it being used for TV or Film. I am forever grateful that I have been allowed to be a guest at the mansion on such personal terms.
The interior and surrounding exterior photos I'm posting are ones I had taken on my visit. Some photos are a little blurry but Ill be going back soon for a closer look which will allow me to retake any photos and have a second go-around.
These days, the mansion is notable because of the HBO series Six Feet Under from years back. Like most, I too fell in love with the show's storyline and mystery surrounding the "Fisher & Sons" and later "Fisher - Diaz" funeral home. Unlike the HBO series, the house is not a funeral home. In fact, most interior filming was not filmed inside the property at all. So who owned it? What does it look like inside? Who was it for and how did the Filipino Federation of America come to own it?
When I finished watching the series years ago, I drove out with my husband to see what it looked like in person. The property sits on the corner of Arlington and 25th Street. It's a large lot considering the mixed-size lots around the area. You can very much imagine how the property looked back in its prime; a large 3-story frame and stone stunner, stately, ample yard space around the home, and looks like the place had a lot going on at one time. When I drove by, it gave me an enigmatic feeling of how strong and resilient it truly is and still stands so proudly. Years would pass before I was in the area again. I was showing a home just about two weeks ago, and I decided to drive by the mansion again. This time I parked and walked around the quarter block property trying to imagine what it looked like inside and who once called this massive architectural relic home-sweet-home. Many questions surround this property for me, so it was rather hard to just ignore my nagging feeling of finding out more about this place, especially who built it. In many ways (without sounding like a weirdo), I felt the home was calling for me to dig up its history and uncover the names and lifestyles that surrounded this property. This home has a story and one that should be remembered and told.
My late-night research took me back to the early 1900s. I started to peel away the informative layers of 2302 W 25th St. History remembers the property as the Auguste R. Marquis residence but newspaper articles paint a different picture. In digging through so many years of newspapers in the Los Angeles area I found that any mention of the home from 1905-1914 was linked to a Mrs. Auguste ( or August) R. Marquis, and there were a lot of social articles...a lot. It took me a long while to find her name as most women of that time had only the identity of their husbands.
Her name was Rosa Stendle and she was quite the host and she was well known around Los Angeles for organizing some of the city's most talked-about social gatherings. Though she was cited in newspapers as Mrs. Auguste Marquis I believe it is time to attach a name to her other than her husband's name. She deserves an identity too, after all, it was she who spent most of her time at the house while Auguste was between Nevada, Chicago, and the east coast, not to mention his many week-long (sometimes longer) hunting trips.
I have pieced together a timeline of events that occurred between Auguste and Rosa while they lived in their home at 2302 W. 25th Street.
Auguste and Rosa married in 1886 in Buffalo, New York. 1886 was the same year Auguste Rudolph Marquis, heir to Chateau du Chatelard in Switzerland as well as a successful gold miner, came to the United States of America. In 1897 Auguste became a citizen of the United States. He and Rosa moved to California and lived in the West Adams area as it was the place to be if you were of high society. Many refer to West Adams as the Beverly Hills before there was a Beverly Hills. While living a short distance away they purchased land to build their new home at what would be 2302 W. 25th Street.
The first mention in the newspapers I was able to find on both Auguste and Rosa is from March of 1899 in land purchases. I am still unclear if this is the plot that 2302 is located (stay tuned) but it references them and the very next mention is years later for the housewarming party.
One of the most interesting things about the purchase of land clipping is that it had Rosa's name. Of all the newspaper clippings I found 98% just referred to her as Mrs. Marquis.
blurry but you can still make out the words
"The beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. A. Marquis, corner Arlington, and Twenty-fifth streets, was the scene of joyous revelry last evening when the host and hostess entertained for the first time in their new home. The drawing-room and reception halls were adorned with potted plants and ferns, clusters of carnations here and there adding a touch of color. In the dining room, which is finished in deep tones of reds and browns, smilax and pink carnations were effective. Above stairs in the ballroom smilax formed a canopy over the pale green of the walls, and lights were shadowed with light-green tulle. Part of the evening hearts were played below stairs, and handsome prizes were awarded, including a hand-painted cake plate, a Venetian vase, and, a framed picture, a stein and water-color sketches. Scores were marked upon cards in the shape of foolscaps adorned with hearts. Tally was kept by Miss Wifenbach. Later in the evening there was dancing in the ballroom, where the Ladies' Venetian Orchestra played. The hostess was assisted in receiving by Mrs. W.C. Valliket and Miss Emma Klatcher. Mrs. Marquis wore white silk net over white taffeta, and Mrs. Valliket was becomingly gowned in pale blue, while miss Klatcher wore black spangled net with a touch of pale blue. Guests included: Mr. and..."
This was taken from April 1905 Los Angeles newspaper that I found while looking up other names I frequently read in articles of that time. To find this piece of information was like finding a needle in a haystack. While searching for Emma Klatcher who was linked to Mrs. Auguste Marquis, I came across the Entertainment section of the paper which stated Emma was a guest at a housewarming party.. well well, it was the first party thrown at 2302 W 25th Street. I actually found it! I didn't think I would stumble across such an early event in the property's history but I did, as if Rosa wanted me to know the location was once the setting for social gatherings and anyone who was a well-to-do would find themselves on the invite list. I love the detail in the description of the event.
The above clipping is from what I believe to be 1905, I found it online but with no other information. The house is built and stated in the paper that it is for Nevada Mining man. The house is indeed 2302 West 25th street. The window on the ground floor to the left of the entry is different though..
Let's walk through the front door...
As you walk in there is a built in bench at the base of the stairs directly upon walking in. Across the room is the dining room and directly to the left from walking through the doors is the formal livingroom.
"The dining room had deep tones of red and brown with ferns and pink carnations for accent. Upstairs in the ballroom, the walls were a pale green and live music was enjoyed by the Ladies' Venetian Orchestra. Mrs. Rosa Marquis wore white silk net over white taffeta." .. I can almost see it now...
To the right of the stairs just before entering the kitchen is another built-in bench
Lets go upstairs..
As you walk up the stairs and wrap back around there is an upstairs balcony in which I edited out some buildings and kept only the Fitzgerald Mansion as that home was also built in 1904-1905
That top window is the same window from the top of the stairs landing going into the ballroom.
Below is the actual view and the view I edited to see as much as possible of how it looked back in the day. There is also a bathroom just as you walk in the balcony door. I like to imagine that guests would walk down a few steps to use the bathroom and either have a cigar or just enjoy some fresh air on the balcony.
Its not my best editing job but enough to see what the view must have looked like in the early 20th century
Lets go back inside and up to the ballroom...
These are the steps leading up to the ballroom. The banister most definitely played a role in stability. I was wearing flats and still needed to hold on while going up and down.
Dance parties on the third-floor ballroom of the home were a common social event. I read how guests would gather in the foyer downstairs and make their way up to the ballroom. The staircase from the second floor to the ballroom is steep and my mind kept thinking about how the women managed with clothes and shoes of that time.
When one reaches the top landing there is a window on the left, the same one I referred to out on the balcony. You enter the ballroom to the right and I wonder if the door frame is where Rosa decorated with smilax into a canopy. The lights hanging from the ceiling are original and I can almost imagine the green tulle used in the lighting...
Lots of built-in benches everywhere.
When I was looking back at my photos, I took a look at one of the little nooks in the ballroom, it's to the right just as you walk into the ballroom, check out the color of the walls, made me think back to the housewarming party description...
While Mr. and Mrs. Marquis lived at the residence Rosa would host lavish engagement parties, bridal showers for friends, luncheons for the Wilshire Card Club and other local organizations, Politicians, and world travelers. She kept herself very busy in the home and made a welcoming name for herself in the community. Auguste was often in different areas, shooting. He was a hunter and respected shooting sportsman that was often in the paper for his large game take-down.
The above clipping is from 1908, below is from 1909
April 28th, 1912
Above is from May 28th, 1912
I noticed through many other articles that during different social events leading up to 1912 there was a lot of mention of Mr. and Mrs. Marquis gearing up for their European tour. It seems Mr. Marquis left for Europe first and Mrs. Marquis followed after attending an event in October with their nephew.
Above is the last mention of departure before they left and the only one mentioning the tour will be extended.
Below is the last article that was written in the paper about Rosa Marquis hosting an event...
zoomed in on the clip
During 1912 Mr and Mrs Marquis went to Europe for what everyone thought was a leisurely vacation. In reality, Rosa was seeking treatment for her chronic illness.
Auguste Marquis messaged his nephew J.J. Marquis in the States who was looking after the home, informing him of the passing of Rosa S. Marquis.
Daily Time- July 1914, close up of the announcement
Rosa Stendle Marquis
This was the end of the Marquis era. When Rosa Stendle passed away it seems as though Auguste did not return to the house. In fact, he stopped paying his $300 a month fee altogether. Three years after Rosa died, Auguste married Harriet Milner, 20 years his junior, and moved around the corner to 2264 W 23rd Street, literally less than an 8-minute walk...
I wonder about that level of emotion. I wonder how he felt to be married to a woman who was so involved in the community and the home that you both built was the center of so many high-society events. So many memories, so many happy times, and to just move around the corner with your new wife... That gets my imagination going, for sure. Especially since his new bride was completely the opposite of Rosa...
November 29th, 1917
The Marquis residence is at the lower left of the image. The Harriet Marquis residence is at the upper right of the photo...
Harriet was mentioned in the paper a few times before marrying Auguste. Her name mainly showed up as a guest at different functions and church events. She was not a hostess and most references of Auguste R. Marquis in the paper did not include her by his side as Rosa was often mentioned. He attended most functions on his own and continued to make a name for himself amongst his circle of other shooting sportsmen, gold mining, land ownership, and being a successful lawyer. Most articles kept his new wife out of the paper. They were married for the rest of his life. Auguste Rudolphe Marquis died in February of 1953 at the age of 85.
Los Angeles Time Sunday paper stating that Auguste R. Marquis had transcended.
As for 2302 W 25th Street... It sat empty and went dark. This is more reason for me to attach the home to Rosa Stendle Marquis than to just name the property after Auguste. She brought life into the home. Laughter was heard throughout the rooms, dancing was enjoyed in the ballroom with live music often in attendance, celebrations that offered music and the arts, fundraisers, and a common gathering haven for the community around her. Her home was always decorated with flowers and bursts of colors, adding to the life and energy the home exuded. Rosa was someone who wanted to be known in her community, she served her community and elevated her household name. Though she and Auguste never had children of their own the home was never empty. That home was loved and it showed, there was pride in living there.
In April 1922 the home was listed in an auction
May of 1922 the interior items of the home were sold in an auction after the sale of the home. Just reading a few of the items helps paint a picture of what the house looked like. Mahogany chairs and tables, Savigny paintings, mahogany piano, Persian rugs and runners, brass beds, Quick Meal gas range, Ice box, etc...
The home reflects a luxurious aesthetic with convenient comforts in the kitchen and lawn equipment. Music instruments and paintings of well-known artists make me feel like they were a young and progressive couple and knew what was happening in the world around them.
I needed to see for my own eyes what these furnishing looked like so I searched online for different pieces from 1905
Can you envision it? Can you see the house decorated in warm colors? Beautifully designed rugs and runners of red and blue to complement the Mahogany and leather furniture. Knowing she often used flowers to decorate her events makes me wonder what her home smelled like. Dried flowers with a hint of perfume come to mind.
Take a look at the master bath. I wonder when that sink was installed because it doesn't look to be original to me. The mirror with the table in front of it intrigues me as I wonder what the reflection used to be. I also find the tiles very feminine and exactly what I would think Rosa would pick out. The drapey flow of the design on the tiles also reminds me of the lights that hang from the ballroom ceiling.
The view out of the bathroom window is of 2320 W 25TH street but that house wasn't there during the Marquis era. That house was built in 1926, meaning the view out of this window would extend to the remainder of the lot they owned.
My imagination has been running wild with life at 2302 W 25th Street from 1905-1922. I think about how much changed in the area while so much remains the same.
West Adams has one of the largest collections of notable old homes west of the Mississippi River and I feel it's a responsibility to know more about each home that is still standing, especially some being over 140 years old.
Articles of the property address show up as a boarding house and short-term residence. Records don't indicate when the property was sold or to whom, but Thomas Gordon shows up in 1948. The reference is made of Vinston selling the Thomas Gordon mansion for $40,000.
1935 clipping mentioning a Woodruff Estate
1939 clipping about an accident that occurred at the time.
Between the early and mid-1940's the property was still being used as a boarding house and items in and around the property were still being auctioned off. There was some activity on the property due to it being used as a community home.
The development of the West Side, Beverly Hills, and Hollywood, beginning in the 1910s, siphoned away much of West Adams' upper-class white population; upper-class blacks began to move in around this time, although the district was off-limits to all but the very wealthiest African Americans. A group of older white residents were fighting to keep the neighborhood as exclusive as it once was. :: eyeroll:: imagine going down in history for being the wet sock.
The property was purchased in 1946 by Thomas P. Gordon, a successful black caterer.
I ended up rabbit holing into the case as well as different cases of how white residents fought tooth and nail to keep minorities out of the highly exclusive West Adams area. Mind you, Norman Houston (Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company) and Hattie McDaniel (first African American to win an Academy Award) lived in West Adams. The judge in the Thomas P. Gordon case had stated in one of the articles I read that it was time to move forward into the future and start to include a world where African Americans were included in that space. Reading those words made me see there were allies everywhere, even back then. Not just the mother down the street that believed all men are created equal but also the Judge, the county clerk, and members of the police force, we don't hear about those people too often so its nice to see it in the paper from back in the day. It was nice to read some of the articles and also crazy to read others. To this day, most people live worlds apart even while being neighbors...
July 15, 1948
The Barrow and the Klovis households lost but that didnt mean their fight was over..
Unfortunately, I believe life became a bit uncomfortable for Thomas P. Gordon and he decided to move after all. It's a hard thing to think about because you would think when one funds and fights to stay in their home that that is exactly what the outcome will be, good prevails and the decision is made that he can stay. How neighbors took that judgment is another situation altogether and I can't seem to quiet my mind over what Mr. Gordon may have had to deal with where he got to the point and said to himself that its time to go, even though he was granted to stay...
This is the part that I love... The two faces connected to the house are of the architect and Mr. Warren C. Vinston. He was the real estate agent that sold Thomas P. Gordon's home to the current owner, General Hilario Moncado.
That will conclude my first part of 2302 W 25th Street. I was going to make one long article post but I will be going into the mansion for another trip so Ill save part 2 for after that visit.
Looking and finding what I was after has brought me so much joy and fed my imagination so much. If those walls could talk I wonder what secrets they woud tell. ...
Stay tuned for my part 2! Ill be digging in again for what the home is known as today, the General Hilario Moncado Mansion, founder of the Filipino Federation of America.
~~~Coincidence or tips from the other side?~~~
In a completely different research project of the Conejo Valley, I came to find that Conejo was spelt Canejo Ranch in some articles from 1904 or 1905. I did a search for Canejo Ranch in the 1900s and the first article I see is....
I then searched Marquis's Hunt and couldn't find anything. However, in continuing with my Conejo Valley research Auguste's name started popping up!! What in the world? How? HOW??? This is going to lead me into reading about who this "Pop" Stebbins was...
This is from September 1905, two months before he moved into the residence...