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The Castle on Bunker Hill

The Castle on Bunker Hill

May 17, 1964: Artist Leo Politi sketches by The Castle at 325 Bunker Hill Ave., designated a historic-cultural monument by the city Heritage Board.

A story in the May 18, 1964 Los Angeles Times reported:

“The Castle,” a faded former mansion atop Bunker Hill, has been given a new lease on life.

Built in 1882, the two-story, 20-room home was a showplace in a fashionable neighborhood peopled by the famous figures of the city. But time and weather have taken their toll.

In order to preserve it as an example of early architecture, the city’s Cultural Heritage Board has designation The Castle at 325 Bunker Hill Ave. as a historic-cultural monument, thereby blocking its destruction.

The mansion was given its nickname by the Daniel Francis Donegan family, which bought it in 1893, probably attracted by its 19th century craftsmanship and wood detailing.

Some of it has survived over the years, including entrance doors of leaded art glass and an interior hardwood stairway with 4-ft-high carved newel posts. Once they were topped by ornamental gas lamps.

Carl S. Dantzel, president of the board, has suggested relocating the building at the top of Angels Flight.

The Castle was saved from destruction, but only until 1969. The house, along with the Salt Box — another Bunker Hill home — were moved in March 1969 to the future site of Heritage Square Museum in the Montecito Heights neighborhood alongside the Arroyo Seco Parkway. On Oct. 9, 1969, a fire of suspicious origin destroyed the Castle and the Salt Box.

The book “Bunker Hill, Los Angeles: Reminiscences of Bygone Days” by Politi was published in 1964.

This photo was published in the May 18, 1964, Los Angeles Times.

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