Posts Tagged ‘Edmund Lincoln’

On November 3, 2011 Alhambra Preservation Group honored a stately 1909 Arts & Crafts home located in northwestern Alhambra as one of its four 2011 Heritage Home awardees.  Many of the local history and architecture lovers who attended APG’s June 2011 Historic Home Tour will recognize this home as one of the homes showcased by that event.  “We are honored to present this award to the owners of this home in recognition of the loving care and attention they have invested in the preservation of this Alhambra landmark,” stated Christine Olson, President of the Alhambra Preservation Group in making the award.

Edmund Lincoln (upper right) in Honduras during the 1883 archeological expedition.

This home is located in Alhambra’s La Marguerita Tract. Its story begins with an adventurer and world traveler. Edmund Lincoln, a Harvard graduate, was a member of a pioneering 1883 archeological expedition to Central America. Sponsored by the Boston’s Peabody Museum, the mission of this ethnographic study was to explore and document findings about the Mayan people and their culture, about whom little was then known or understood by academia. As the expedition’s photographer, Mr. Lincoln produced more than 10,000 glass-plate negatives documenting Mayan artifacts and people. Lincoln’s photographs are still in use by researchers and histories and formed the centerpiece of a 2009 exhibit at the Peabody Museum.

Following his Central American adventure, Lincoln settled in Pasadena where he met and married his wife Jessie in 1900 and they began a family. Over the next several years, the Lincolns invested in large tracts of land in the fashionable Westlake District of Los Angeles, Alhambra and the then-rural area of Sierra Madre. They purchased the land in Alhambra from Adolph Graffen, whose early 20th Century farmhouse still stands on Pine Street. The Lincolns never lived in Alhambra. They were land speculators who made a smart investment in a new “streetcar suburb,” developing their tract into 33 parcels that were sold to homebuilders. Rumor has it that both the La Marguerita Tract and Marguerita Avenue were named after Adolph Graffen’s eldest daughter, Marguerite.

David Sturges, 1900

In 1909, the lot was purchased by a young couple, David and Mary Sturges, who immediately secured the services of Smith-Weaver Construction to build this large, impressive home for their family and servants. Upon completion of the home, the total assessed value of the property was $1,700. Originally from the Midwest, David had come to Riverside County in with his parents in 1889. David’s father, a physician who established the first medical practice in Murrieta, employed David in the family’s drugstore and clinic. There, he must have learned skills that would later prove valuable to him when, living in Alhambra, he worked as an accountant for a local manufacturing company. During that time, he was also enrolled in an engineering program at Throop Institute of Technology in Pasadena—now known as Caltech.

In the 103 years since this home was built, five families have lived here, but none longer than the present owners, who bought the home in 1978. Over the years, they engaged in extensive and painstaking restoration involving nearly every part of the house. One of the most remarkable discoveries during that process was the home’s original river rock fireplace. At some point in the home’s history, the fireplace had been covered with smooth plaster, probably in an attempt to give it a “Spanish look.” After chipping away some of the plaster, the hidden treasure was revealed. So inspired were the homeowners by their discovery that they rebuilt the fireplace completely, using its original stones.

Members of APG’s Board of Directors expressed their particular pleasure in honoring this property, the former home of Alhambra Preservation Group’s late co-founder, Katherine Hildreth.

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