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BTTF# 22a: Was Chatsworth's Desilu Ranch Designed by Noted Architect, Paul Williams?

Image courtesy heckyeahlucilleballilovelucy.tumbler.com
Christmas came early for me this year as a loyal reader by the name of Dayna, discovered and generously shared building and demolition permits for the former Desilu Ranch in Chatsworth. The huge significance of this finding is that the permits were the missing piece of evidence to confirm the true location of the Desilu Ranch in Chatsworth which I discussed in a lengthy and detailed post on on June 24, 2014, Although I provided convincing evidence while refuting the other locations, in particular, the Oso location that became the "known" location because of popular folk tale and also since it is still standing today, there were still some doubters that wanted definitive evidence. So view the permits for the build and demo below: 




If you quickly skimmed through the permits, you might have missed one piece of interesting information. I will highlight it below to give you a clue.


It appears that the Desilu Ranch was possibly designed by noted African-American architect, Paul R. Williams, who is best known for designing the LAX Theme building in addition to numerous buildings in SoCal with a handful in the SFV. 

Image courtesy Blackpast.org
The SFV properties include Craig/Harris in West Hills, Dr.A.E. Abdun-Nur in Tarzana, the former Livingston Motor Car Dealership in Woodland Hills, Stanwyck/Oakridge (supposedly, need more research) in Northridge, and possibly some others in the Toluca Lake area. 

If the signature on the permit is truly "Paul R Williams," then some serious historical information has just been unearthed. The other interesting connection is that Ball/Arnaz also had a Palm Springs home built by Paul Williams in 1954 so is that a coincidence or not? But I am not a history expert, just a weekend blogger, so hopefully others or the Paul Revere Williams project site can confirm. 

As I mentioned in my first post about the Desilu Ranch, it was demolished in 1976 but I believe the house next door located at 19730 Tuba St was a replica as it was built roughly at the same time. I dont have building permits of that home so cannot confirm if it was built by Paul Williams. That home was originally owned by LA Times columnist, Bill Henry, and is still standing today, although altered from original design. That home might be the closest thing we have to the Desilu Ranch especially if it was also designed by Paul Williams. 

You can view more SFV History and Back to the Future series here

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Marty Mcfly

Anything and everything about the San Fernando Valley. This blog will take you back in time when the valley was covered with dirt and orange groves to a leader in the space race to its current status as America's suburb. Come along and join me on this adventure, I guarantee you have been influenced/impacted by the San Fernando Valley in one form or another even if you have never visited or heard of the SFV.

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