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Verdugo Views: The mystery of Tom Mix's ties to Glendale adjacent continues

Elizabeth Schetina and her family moved into a 1920s-era home in Montecito Park in 1999, and she soon heard stories that silent movie star Tom Mix had once lived in their house.

Mix was a major star in the 1920s. His 160-plus films featured a clean-cut cowboy who always “saved the day.”

Many of the films were made on his 12-acre shooting set called Mixville, which included a western town, an Indian village, and mountain and desert areas, according to Wikipedia.

Mixville was located just off Glendale Boulevard. But not on the stretch that runs through Glendale. No, it was near where Glendale and Silver Lake boulevards intersect in what was then called Edendale and is now the Silver Lake area.

Mix was making his films right around the same time that Montecito Park was developing into a neighborhood with custom family homes. So, it seemed logical that he might have purchased a property very near his studio.

Intrigued by what she heard, Schetina pulled the original permit and discovered the house had been built in 1923, but found no mention of Mix.

“But this story seems to persist — we recently had a passerby tell us that he knew, for sure, that Tom Mix lived here, since he was friends with an old film star who had worked with Tom Mix,’’ Schetina wrote in an Oct. 9, 2016, email.

Further adding to the mystery, neighbors told them that the second floor of the house had once been a ballroom, and that pictures exist of parties that took place there in the 1930s.

“We love the story, and would be interested to know if it is true. Thanks so much for any help or information,” she wrote.

Schetina’s request in the Nov. 5, 2016, Verdugo Views column brought a couple of email replies, including one from John Hammell Jr., who sent an Internet link to places Mix had lived (no Glendale addresses on the list) and noted that Mix is buried at Forest Lawn.

Crescenta Valley historian Jo Anne Sadler also went on an Internet search and found two Mix families who had lived in Glendale, but alas, she wrote, neither was related to Tom Mix.

She found Census records indicating Tom Mix was living in Hollywood in 1920 and in Beverly Hills in 1930.

When I emailed this information to Schetina, she was disappointed, but invited me to visit.

A few weeks ago, she welcomed me into her home and showed me notes from the original permit, dated November, 1923, for G. E. Gardini. She also had a list of later owners, including the Weitz family, who lived there from 1935 to 1948.

She added that one of the Weitz daughters, Nancy, knocked on their door one day and told Schetina how the house looked when her family lived there and about the World War II Victory Garden in the backyard and about hearing air-raid warnings.

She also pointed out the small handprints she and her brother Phil had made on the front porch.

Schetina told me that when they replaced the porch in 2004, they made sure the portion containing those handprints was saved and later presented it to the Weitz family.

She also showed me the upper floor with its unusual coved ceiling and original hardwood floor (covered with wall-to-wall carpet when they moved in), and we agreed it could very well have been designed for parties and dancing.

As to the mystery of why people think it was occupied by Tom Mix? Who knows… the search for an answer continues.

Readers Write:

The July 1, 2017, column about the historic bridges over the Verdugo Wash brought an email from Doug and June Bennett.

“Perhaps you are already aware of this, but there is a group of us locals trying to get a bike path built along the length of the wash, turning a piece of infrastructure into an amenity for our city,” they wrote.

They included a link to a walkbikeglendale website: https://walkbikeglendale.wordpress.com/verdugo-wash/.

Tom Lang emailed in regards to the History Channel’s new National Geographic documentary exploring the disappearance of Amelia Earhart in 1937. He wrote that Earhart had once stayed at a home on East Mountain Avenue for several months.

Earhart’s attempt to fly around the world ended abruptly 80 years ago this month when she and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappeared on July 2, 1937.

She was a well-known figure here in Glendale; many of her flights originated from what later became Grand Central Air Terminal. There’s more on Earhart and Glendale in the July 6, 2007, Verdugo Views column.

KATHERINE YAMADA can be reached at katherineyamada@gmail.com. or by mail at Verdugo Views, c/o Glendale News-Press, 202 W. First St., Second Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90012. Please include your name, address and phone number.

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