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Minster Residence

Applicant: Charles J. Fisher / Highland Park Heritage Trust 

Minster Residence, Mt. Washington, June, 1994 (photo by Charles J. Fisher)

Minster Residence, Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument #611 

Declared November 8, 1994

Built in 1911, the Minster Residence is believed to have been designed by the architect Harry Grey, who had subdivided the land. The house was originally built for Mrs. Rose Birsham, who was co-owner of the famous Yellow-Aster Mining Company. She used it as a residence and rest home and sanitarium facility for tuberculosis patients until 1920, when it was sold to Joseph D. Minster, a former Los Angeles Times reporter and magazine publisher. Minster continued publishing various hotel and restaurant journals, and in later years, was the editor/publisher of Gourmet magazine, a journal of fine eating that is still in print today. Minster, for many years, was known as "the mayor of Mount Washington" for his many efforts to bring improvements to the hill, including the paving of San Rafael Avenue, the main road up Mount Washington, after he ran off the road on a rainy day in the 1920's and put a large chunk of guard rail into his brand new Buick. The Minster House is notable for being one of the first properties in the City of Los Angeles to enact a Mills Act contract that allows for a considerable savings in property taxes on historic properties. 



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