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

Craftsman on Ridgewood Place Gets Historic Status

It isn’t imposing like you’d expect a ‘monument’ to be – but the lovely pre-World War I Arts and Crafts home perched on the corner of N. Ridgewood Place and 1st St. has received Historic Cultural Monument (HCM) status from the Cultural Heritage Commission and LA City Council.

Owners Joe and Lindsay Gallagher applied for HCM status in the fall of 2011 via architectural historian Charles Fisher who provided the research and documentation to be put before the Cultural Heritage Commission. After the requisite tour, hearing and inspection, the home was unanimously voted in as HCM #1018 in Los Angeles, the “Thorsen Residence” in March  of 2012, in a bit less than six months from start to finish. The Gallaghers were intent on historic status not only for the potential tax breaks possible through the Mills Act (they are in that process now), but because the unique Craftsman sits on a corner just a stone’s-throw away from, but outside of,  the historically significant neighborhoods of the Windsor Square HPOZ and the Wilton Historic District.

The fireplace brick flows into an arch over adjacent doorway.

Albert H. Puttcamp designed 103 N Ridgewood Place for baseball pitcher Elmer Thorsen who played for the Los Angeles Angels (then a Minor League team)  from 1906-1913 and his wife Hope. Hope Thorsen is believed to have helped in the design of the residence as well as served as the general contractor on the home, no doubt an unusual scenario for the time.

The front-gabled roof is pitched low and supported by open eaves, barge boards, and decorative brackets. Two off-centered brick chimneys extend from the fireplaces in the study and living room to form arches, under a heavily beamed ceiling with extensive wainscoting and built-ins tucked in throughout the house. Many of the original arts and crafts lighting fixtures and sconces remain – as does the historic flagpole out front.

The Thorson house will celebrate it’s 100th year on the corner next year – and thanks to the Gallaghers – should stand proudly  for another 100 years.


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Julie Grist
Julie Grist
Julie co-founded the Larchmont Buzz with fellow buzzer Mary Hawley in 2011 and served as Editor, Publisher and writer for the hive for many years until the sale of the Buzz in August 2015. She is still circling the hive as an occasional writer.

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  1. Some years back I got a peek at the place when they were having a yard sale believe it was after it had changed owners. Great looking home.

  2. How magnificent — and refreshing — to see a beautiful period house lovingly restored in an historically-sensitive way. Bravo for its being protected as an HCM and congratulations to the owners for their elegance and good taste.

  3. This house is special. I felt it the first time I walked into it and love the feeling of it every time I’m in it. You feel history. Lindsay was shocked one day when I said hers, along with our friend Joanne’s, was my favorite in the neighborhood!

  4. I lived in this house with my parents and siblings from 1964 until 1982. My mother painted the entire living room fireplace white, I can see that someone was smart enough to remove that. The whole of the downstairs then was also carpeted, but the interesting thing was that the triangular shaped area on either side of the living room between the redwood ceiling and the straight molding had a custom oil on canvas painting of a scene from what my parents thought was the English Moor region. The scenes were very dark and gloomy, so we had them ripped out… It would have been nice to know who and why these areas were painted. I would think that this type of work would be pretty expensive. Probably nobody really cares, but it sure does bring back nice memories to see this article. Thank you for publishing the pictures, I didn’t think I would ever get to see the inside of that house again!

    • Hi Alex Dean,

      We stripped the bricks of the white paint and removed the carpet from the inglenook, the stairs and the 2nd floor. It had been removed everywhere else. The stairs are 1/4 sawn oak and very beautiful. We also stripped the upstairs paint and uncovered gorgeous oak newel posts. The real miracle in this house was that no one painted all the wood downstairs! Or removed those crazy lights. Thank you for leaving it in such good condition! It makes sense that there would have been a mural up above the picture molding — i mean, it’s a good space for a painting and the room is so decorative to begin with it’s hard to find art that fits. I’m glad you enjoyed the article! I would love to get a glimpse into the house I grew up in in New York.

      • Wow, I didn’t know that there was oak newels… One of the One thing that sold my parents the house was the redwood paneling and vaulted ceiling. Sorry about the paint, that was my mom’s deal and she always got her way with remodeling. I have to admit that it did look good, for the times. Another interesting tidbit was the kitchen. The counter top was original to the house when we moved in. 3″ maple on top of custom built in cabinetry. I seem to recall there where cabinets that had glass doors and all the fittings were brass. We had a guy (Pat Bradley) come in and make all new cab doors for us, (stained birch), replace that beautiful butcher block counter top with formica! Too bad, but formica was the rage back then. (circa 1974) There was a built in pond (gunite lined) just to the left of the covered porch in the back and a built in bbq in the far corner, not sure if that would still be there, but the pond came out. The avocado tree just right of the shed over the garage was planted around 1975-6. I heard from a prior owner, (I think his name was Weiss?) that the tree bares some nice fruit every year. Final note that you and your husband may be more interested in is the bowed brick wall on the left as you go into the basement. My dad was very concerned about the structural integrity of that wall and so my brothers and I dug a 4 foot by 12 foot and eight foot deep trench on the back side of that wall to relieve the pressure, my dad then brought an expert in to look at how to fix the wall and was told to leave it alone… Don’t know if anything has been done to it since then, but apparently it was a nature result of 80 years of water pressure but not as structurally important than my dad thought. He was told if it ever collapses, then to have the wall rebuilt in cinderblock with an exterior moisture coat.


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