Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

A Rossmore Treasure — The Mauretania Apartments at 520 – 522 N. Rossmore Avenue

The Mauretania Apartments on North Rossmore Blvd. were built in 1934 for the actor Jack Haley, best known for his role as the Tin Man in the Wizard of Oz. (photo from the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society)


Buzz founder Mary Hawley wrote this story about The Mauretania Apartments in 2013. We found it while we were researching for this story on The Mauretania at the suggestion of local historian and architectural tour guide Eric Evavold.

Evavold suggested we feature this building, often overlooked by drivers speeding down Rossmore Avenue, because its Streamline Moderne architectural style is such a departure from the period revival styles of other buildings on the street.


Elegant smooth lines are a hallmark of the Streamline Moderne style (photo from Eric Evavold)


“At the time The Mauretania was built, this was the most trend setting architectural style,” said Evavold. “The building is an excellent example of Streamline Moderne. It pulls away from Zig Zag Moderne style with angular and straight lines featured at the Bullocks Wilshire.”

“I like to call The Mauretania the “Ship of Rossmore,” said Evavold. “Its a modern marvel like the Pan Pacific Auditorium was and the Coco Cola building in downtown LA remains. The building is very balanced and proportional. It’s very different from anything else on Rossmore and definitely worth taking time to appreciate.”


“The building was designed to feel like a ship,” said Evavold. “Image you are deporting on a great journey across the sea as you enter the building on those graceful cloud-like front steps.”


There’s also a bit of folklore attached to the building as Hawley reported in her story.


In 1934, Architect Milton J. Black was commissioned by Actor Jack Haley, best known as the Tin Man in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939), to design the 10-unit apartment building. Black was well known in the area – he designed the nineteen-unit Chateau Rossmore (at 555 North Rossmore, just south of Clinton) around the same time. Haley and his wife, Flo, lived in penthouse of The Mauretania from 1934-1954.

In the summer of 1960, John F. Kennedy stayed in Jack Haley’s penthouse apartment during the Democratic National Convention which was held downtown at the Sports Arena. In fact, Kennedy was on Rossmore when the Democratic delegates named him their nominee.

There’s not a lot written about the building’s name – but it’s pretty clear that either Jack Haley or Milton J. Black were influenced by the under-construction ocean liner Mauretania. According to the Cunard website:

The Mauretania was the first ship to be built for the newly formed Cunard-White Star Line and was laid down on 24th May 1937 as SS No. 1029. She was the largest ship ever to be constructed in an English shipyard at the time. She was launched on 28th July 1938 by Lady Bates, wife of the Cunard chairman, Sir Percy. The ship was designed for the London to New York service and was the largest vessel ever to navigate the Thames and use the Royal Docks. 

By 1940, the ship was converted for war duty. It’s likely that the designer of this Streamline Moderne building, with it’s nautical influence, chose the name of a state-of-the-art ship to christen his new apartment building.


In 2009, the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society gave The Mauretania a Landmark Award.


The historic plaques are featured in the front of building. (photo from Eric Evavold)


At the time Mary was writing about a 1-bedroom penthouse-style apartment at The Maurentania that was for rent at $2,250/month. It features a video tour of the third floor apartment by Art Deco Apartments. Sadly, the 3rd floor apartment is no longer available at that price.



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Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard
Patricia Lombard is the publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.

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  1. Wrong Mauretania. The one you talked about was the 2nd liner of that name. The building was actually named for the first, and far more famous, Mauretania; which entered service in 1907, and was withdrawn from service in 1934. The ship depicted on the plaque is the first Mauretania. The second Mauretania didn’t enter service until 1939, and was never well known.

    • The ship depicted in the plaque isn’t even the Mauretania of 1907, it’s the Titanic. Most people won’t spot the difference, but I wish the plaque designer did their research. Mauretania was a truly beautiful ship!


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