The Original Addams Family House

 

(MGM Television 1964)

 

The fictional Addams Family may have listed their address at 001 Cemetery Lane, but the original Addams Family house from the 1964 TV series was once located right here in LA, at 21 Chester Place.

The home was originally built in 1887 for Henry Gregory Newhall, of the wealthy Newhall family. After changing hands once in 1911, the home was eventually sold to Los Angeles oil tycoons and philanthropists Edward and Estelle Doheny, who had already bought up most of the plots of land in the Chester Place neighborhood. The Dohenys rented out the home at 21 Chester Place, while they lived in what is today the Doheny Mansion down the street. When Estelle Doheny died in 1958, she willed all the land in Chester Place to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who made it a new satellite campus of Mount St. Mary’s College in 1962.

 

Exterior of the home at 21 Chester Place. Photo via LA Public Library, Herald Examiner Collection (1960)

21 Chester Place as it appeared in The Addams Family in 1964. (MGM Television)

 

In 1964, the house at 21 Chester Place was only actually used for exterior shots during in the very first episode of The Addams Family, and the porte-cochère can be seen in the background of the opening credits when Gomez Addams (played by John Astin) is filing the pointed spikes of the house gates. In reality, the roof and third floor of what we know as the Addams Family house today has little resemblance to the real home at Chester Place. Rather than reuse the exterior shots of the house, producers instead used a bit of Hollywood magic. After dressing up the house with props to help give it more of the desired look, a photo of the exterior was blown up and then painted over to add the additional floors and Victorian style that we know today. When the matte painting was used over stock footage of the 21 Chester Place exterior, it would create the illusion of action outside of the house.

 

Gomez Addams in The Addams Family opening credits, with 21 Chester Place in the background. (MGM Television 1964)

21 Chester Place as it appeared in the first episode of The Addams Family. (MGM Television 1964)

 

Since the studio producers didn’t need any additional footage of the house after the initial episode of The Addams Family, unfortunately this also meant that there was no reason to use the house again. By 1967, Mount St. Mary’s incorporated many of Chester Place’s historic homes into the college, but the Addams Family house didn’t make the cut. That year, the home made famous by the Addams Family’s spooky paradise was demolished and paved to put up a parking lot to accommodate expansion at Mount St. Mary’s. Since the 1980s, the land serves as the track and field for LAUSD’s Frank D. Lanterman High School. Today, the only relic of the home that remains is the six globe streetlamp, built in front of the home’s original driveway in 1903.

 

The lamppost where the original driveway at 21 Chester Place once was, now a part of the Mount St. Mary’s University campus.

 

Source:
Myers, James. "House History," 21 Chester Place. https://21chesterplace.com/house-history/.