Eventide…an Historical Home Lost Forever

Photo Courtesy of Wally Morgan

Eventide, rated in the City of Redondo Beach’s 1986 Historic Resources Survey as a B 4b, representing “a premier historic resource” including “many of the finest buildings in the City which could, with relatively minor alterations or research efforts, be eligible for the National Register…   These structures represent the very best that remains of the past and they are a vital link to that sense of continuity with the past that distinguish ‘just a place to live’ from a ‘home town’.”

Eventide stood as the lone survivor and last remnant of the Cliffton-By-The-Sea tract, when Redondo was a prominent beach front resort community. “Every home with an ocean and mountain view”, the 1914 sales brochure says.

The City of Redondo Beach issued a demo permit on November 9th, 1998 paving the way for the eventual destruction of Eventide.

This elaborate 1909 Craftsman home should have been protected from demolition or at least deserved meaningful analysis and mitigation measures as mandated by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).  Eventide’s demolition constituted a serious negative impact on a cultural resource and should have required an Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

With the support of the State Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO) and many local, state and national preservation organizations, the Society sought to overturn the development approvals. The Society believes that the information provided from the City to the Coastal Commission was obviously incomplete, inaccurate, erroneous and misleading and not in compliance with CEQA.

In addition to SHPO, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the LA Conservancy and the California Preservation Foundation also reviewed the documents and concurred with the Society’s position. The Coastal Commission based their initial approval on this misinformation and commented during the February public hearing that “there were problems” at the city level.

The Society provided the Coastal Commission with extensive historical research on Dr.’s Robert and Clara Burdette and discovered that Eventide had been designed by Arthur B. Benton, a nationally recognized architect, a fact not previously known. This substantial new historical information should have required supplemental and independent environmental analysis from the Coastal Commission.  Instead the request was denied on a technicality due to the narrow grounds of proving intent on the part of the applicant.

The Society was saddened and disappointed with the decision of the California Coastal Commission to deny our request for revocation of their permit.   Ironically the hearing was held February 3, 1999 in San Diego at the Hotel Del Coronado (sister hotel to the Hotel Redondo, demolished in 1926).

Demolition started immediately on February 4th, 1999 reducing Eventide to a pile of broken glass and battered debris in a matter of hours.   Redondo Beach lost a true gem on the Esplanade, which would have been preserved in many other cities that make historic preservation more of a priority in their communities.

Note – The City approved 125 demolition permits in 1998, 42 of which were properties appearing in either of its two historical surveys.  At this rate, we wonder what will be left in a few years?