Edward Weston

Edward Weston opened a photography studio on Brand Boulevard just north of Tropico Avenue (now Los Feliz Boulevard) in 1911 and worked from the "Little Studio," as he called it, for some 20 years. (Courtesy of the Special Collections Room, Glendale Public Library / January 26, 2013)

Edward Weston has been the topic several times in the 10-plus years I've been writing Verdugo Views. And, each time, the Weston name gets noticed.

The Jan. 12 column on Ivan Forbes' memories of living across the street from the Weston family was no exception.

One of Forbes' memories was of watching the Weston boys build a sailboat in the backyard of their home on Perlita Avenue and then later seeing a crane arrive and lift the boat out of the yard.

Marilyn Chrisman, who grew up on Irving Avenue in Northwest Glendale and attended Balboa Elementary, said Flora Weston taught school at Balboa for a while, and she and her boys lived on Allen Avenue, south of the school.

“They had a boat in that backyard, too. We used to drive up Allen to get to our house on Irving, and I saw the boat looming up over the gate of their backyard.”

Forbes grew up in a small house on the portion of Perlita that runs between Los Feliz Boulevard and Chevy Chase, between Glendale's western border and the Los Angeles River. Originally, that area was Tropico, then it became part of Atwater Village, but Forbes said that when he was growing up, he called it Toonerville.

Nick Friesen wrote wondering how large an area Toonerville had been. “I had long believed that Toonerville referred to the area from Dogtown (the area from the L.A. River to the Arroyo Seco, north of Chinatown) to the Glassell Park area. In other words, the area now bounded by the 110 on the east, the 2 on the west, the 5 on the south, and Highland Park on the north.” Friesen wants to know how the area came to be called Toonerville.

Another reader, June Hasencamp, who has lived in Glendale for 40-some years, said her mother's brother, Harold Griffin, had his photo taken at Weston's studio on South Brand Boulevard. Griffin was attending Stanford University and had been voted the most handsome man on campus. When he came home for the summer, Griffin had his photo taken and then headed off for a screen test. This was in the 1920s, said Hasencamp. After she inherited the photo, she took it to be framed. The framer was “so excited and told everyone it was a Weston photo.”

Through my conversations with Forbes, I met two women, Netty Carr and Sandra Caravella, who recently co-wrote “Atwater Village,” an Arcadia Publishing book. While researching Atwater Village's history, they encountered Forbes, who later accompanied them on a driving trip around his old neighborhood and showed them exactly where the Westons had lived.

Carr and Caravella generously offered to give me the same tour, so a week or so later, we were driving up and down Perlita and the surrounding streets. They showed me Forbes' old house and the empty lot marking the spot where the Westons lived so long ago. The house was built on land that belonged to Flora's parents. They owned a huge swath of land near the old Gladding McBean site (later Franciscan pottery).

So, readers, if you have any memories of the Westons, send them my way at the address below.

And for more information on Tropico, visit the Glendale Historical Society's website and look for the very informative section, “A Trip Back in Time To Tropico.”

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