Why Is This Cottage Empty?

C.C. de Vere

C.C. de Vere

· 2 min read
Screenshot of 109-111 S Union Ave, a two-story cottage in poor condition.

I would be remiss if I didn't signal-boost 109-111 South Union Avenue.

This adorable historic cottage (image courtesy of Esotouric), left empty and derelict for years, had a demolition permit that expired in 2022.

ZIMAS says the cottage was built in 1925, but the style is far more consistent with the very late Victorian era. This poor mistreated little house was Gwynn Wilson's 1932 Olympic cottage. (Gwynn Wilson, a former USC track star and student body president, was the general manager of the 1932 Olympics and the cofounder, with Knute Rockne, of the annual USC-Notre Dame football match.)

Why is this cottage empty? I couldn't tell you. It's not an Ellis Act property, and ZIMAS says it was used for housing within the past 5 years. But it shouldn't be empty and trashed.

Concerned neighbor Jamal Toppi contacted my friends at Esotouric, who shared this video with me. (I contacted Toppi myself, but have not received a response. If I do, I'll update this.)

Toppi reported "Squatters have hacked into the sidewalk electrical at 100-146 S Union with multiple spliced wires leading across the street into a boarded up historic house at 109 S Union Ave. I tripped over the wires which is how I noticed it but this is obviously an electrical and fire hazard, for both those squatting and the community."

Yes. Yes it is. And we wonder why so many neglected houses and other empty buildings burn down in Los Angeles.

Scroll the video to the 33-second mark to see the hacked electrical wires for yourself.

There is one bit of good news to report so far: since the first video was posted a few days ago, the cottage has been secured, a vacate order has been posted, and there are no longer wires running across the street.

Want to save this place? Contact CD1 Field Deputy Ben Cassorla (bencassorla@gmail.com or 213-473-7001). And ask Councilmember Eunisses Hernandez to have the Office of Historic Resources consider landmarking the cottage for its association with the 1932 Olympics. (I will be contacting OHR myself; I don't trust Eunisses.)

109-111 should be a beautifully restored home, not an empty, battered eyesore.

109-111 South Union Avenue, Historic Filipinotown.

C.C. de Vere

About C.C. de Vere

C.C. is a fourth-generation Angeleno and is horrified at what greed and hubris are doing to Los Angeles.

This website was built by her preservation pals at Esotouric.

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