Editor’s Note: Through a partnership with the Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society, we are happy to share the profile of a historic house in our neighborhood each week. Our thanks to the Society for sharing their research on these marvelous homes.
This house at 413 North McCadden Place was built in 1926 for Frank G. Sprake at an estimated cost of $10,500 by notable entrepreneur Sanson Milligan Cooper (1858-1935), and was designed by Phil Brinckerhoff, who worked under the supervision of SM Cooper at the time. While Brinckerhoff was known for designing homes in Los Angeles, Cooper had a more than remarkable building career.
SM Cooper was born in Pennsylvania, educated at Bethany College in West Virginia, ordained a minister in 1886, and served as pastor in Syracuse in 1886-1887. He resigned to become Bethany College’s financial secretary and traveled for three years for the college, quadrupling student numbers, paying off college debt, and laying the foundation for a permanent endowment.
He got into real estate and building in Cincinnati in 1890. He came to Los Angeles in 1912 as a capitalist, and is credited with building hundreds of homes in Windsor Square, Hancock Park, Wilshire District, Beverly Hills and San Marino. He chose to build his own house in Windsor Square at 435 S. Lorraine Blvd. in 1920 and was a member of the Wilshire Country Club and the Hollywood Country Club.
Little is known about the home’s first owner, Mr. Frank G. Sprake, other than that he lived in the 800 block of S. Orange Drive at the time he built this home. The second owner, Earle Patterson (1927-41), had a very successful law firm, Patterson Bailey and Montgomery, with offices at 756 S. Broadway, room 1400.
Educated in the East, Patterson received his classical and legal education at Temple University and the University of Southern California. He graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Laws in 1915. He served in the United States Army during World War I and returned to Los Angeles in 1919 to resume practicing law. He was a director of the United States National Bank of Los Angeles and several other large corporations. He married Madeline Maney of Tennessee in 1921, and they had three children. He was active in the BPO Elks in Glendale, where the family resided before moving to Hancock Park. He belonged to the California Club and the Wilshire Country Club.
The next owner was Dolph B. Hill (1941-45), followed by Dorothy and Alfred Scully (1945-48). Nothing is known of these owners, nor of subsequent owners Cathryne and Ernest Torrence (1948-64). However, their son Bruce Torrence is an author/historian who wrote the book “Hollywood, The First 100 Years”. He attended Black Foxe Military Academy and USC. When Torrence started his book, he had 30 historic Hollywood photographs; by 1980 his collection numbered more than 10,000. He lectures on Hollywood and is the author of numerous papers and articles on the history of Los Angeles, including Hancock Park.
From 1964 to 1971, the house was owned by Kathleen Ivada Royston and Robert M. Parker Jr. As fourth and fifth generation South Africans, Ivada and her parents immigrated to Southern California with the intention of returning to South Africa after his father completed his medical course. . That never happened because they rooted deeply in Los Angeles. His father was an active leader in founding the General Practice Section of the California Medical Society. Ivada and Bob Parker had their hands full with three young children, but Ivada found time to help run a Valley Region chapter of the Mental Health Association. As a married she joined The Ebell of Los Angeles and twice served as its president. Bob was an aboriginal son of an aboriginal son. He was the head of Parker and Son created in 1898 by his grandfather. The company did only legal printing until the 1940s, then moved into commercial printing. In 1971, the Parkers sold the house and moved to 116 So. McCadden Square.
Built in 1926
by Phil Brinckerhoff
Entrepreneur Sanson Milligan Cooper