Saying goodbye to literary history

Bradbury home during demolition.  Photo by John King Tarpinian of file770.com.

Bradbury home during demolition. Photo by John King Tarpinian of file770.com.

What costs $1.76 million to buy and then gets torn down? What unassuming, even “ordinary” place was the 50-year home to a literary light of the 20th century? Somebody who has probably been read by school children for many years?

Answer: the what-is-now-former home of Ray Bradbury. Bradbury, author of novels such as Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and Dandelion Wine to name just a few, died in 2012. His home in Cheviot Hills, Los Angeles, CA, was put on the market and was recently purchased by an architect, who then razed it to make way from the architect’s home.

Details at http://www.latimes.com/la-me-before-after-ray-bradbury-house-20150116-photogallery.html, http://www.latimes.com/books/jacketcopy/la-et-jc-ray-bradbury-house-being-torn-down-20150113-story.html, and http://file770.com/?p=20397?michpun.

The architect, Thom Mayne, explains why he did it. His answers are at: http://www.mhpbooks.com/why-was-ray-bradburys-home-demolished-an-interview-with-architect-thom-mayne/

He says he had been looking for the right property in the Cheviot Hills neighborhood for five years when the Bradbury house came up for sale. At first, he said he and his wife were unaware of Bradbury’s connection to the house. He also said he was surprised by the lack of historical interest in the house.

Still, as a person who lives in a house over 110 years old and as a person who considers himself a writer, I find it surprising and saddening that this would happen. And all for the asking price of $1.76 million. I guess in LA that’s just the price of doing business.

Or as Sam Weller, author of Bradbury’s authorized biography, The Bradbury Chronicles, put it:

“I suspected it might be a teardown. Other houses in Ray’s longtime neighborhood of Cheviot Hills had been demolished. A few years ago, the house next door to the Bradbury residence was knocked down to make-way for a super-sized monstrosity. Much of the neighborhood is under siege by mansionization. Ray and his wife Maggie couldn’t understand why people didn’t respect the historical value of their sweeping old Los Angeles neighborhood. So I suspected this fate could well come to the Bradbury house, but I held out hope that its significance to imaginative literature might save it from the developers.”

More at http://www.mhpbooks.com/there-are-so-many-memories-an-interview-with-sam-weller-bradburys-authorized-biographer-about-the-authors-now-demolished-home/

–Compiled by David E. Booker. Opinions expressed are my own.

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