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On the Town: Guests gather at historic Davis Estate for society’s gala

On the Town: Guests gather at historic Davis Estate for society’s gala
City Councilwoman Paula Devine, center, and Assistance League of Glendale members, from left, Margaret Hammond, President Marcie Haug, Pat Digennaro and Linelle Vincenti. (Joyce Rudolph / Glendale News-Press)

Pure enchantment greeted the eye as one descended the steps and lingered for a few seconds near the koi pond.

It was an event at the Davis Estate and, by the sound of the lively chatter, everyone was having “An Elegant Evening” at the Glendale Historical Society’s gala and benefit.

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The Davis Estate is a secluded Italian Renaissance Revival home built in 1925 for Leonard C. Davis and his wife, Clara.

Davis was the owner and president of Glendale’s Grand View Memorial Park. The original subdivision map calls the area where the Davis Estate is located “Garden Circle," and the beautiful trees and flowers ensure it lives up to that name.

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The present owners are Mychael and Aparna Danna, who moved into the home only eight months ago.

Glendale Historical Society Executive Director Sean Bersell, from left, state Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, honoree Robert Gordon and society Treasurer Steve Hunt.
Glendale Historical Society Executive Director Sean Bersell, from left, state Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, honoree Robert Gordon and society Treasurer Steve Hunt. (Joyce Rudolph / Glendale News-Press)

“My biggest regret is that we didn’t discover Glendale 25 years ago,” Mychael Danna said during the program. “This is such a great town and meeting you tonight makes it even better. So, thank you for gracing us with your presence and we are really excited to be a part of this society and the great work it’s doing here.”

Approximately $16,500 was raised for the historical society’s preservation and endowment funds.

The Walt Disney Co. and G&C Properties were the sponsors for the festive evening, featuring hors d’oeuvres, specialty cocktails and a silent auction.

The highlight was the presentation of the society’s annual awards in recognition of outstanding achievements in historic preservation and volunteer service.

The recipient of the 2018 Preservation Award was the Assistance League of Glendale for its exceptional stewardship of the Kiefer & Eyerick Mortuary building, which was listed on the Glendale Register of Historic Resources earlier this year.

Constructed in 1928 and designed by noted Glendale architect Alfred F. Priest, the building is an example of a commercial building in the Tudor Revival style.

It operated as a mortuary from 1928 until 2002, when the building was acquired by the Assistance League, which has its meetings and luncheons in the building and uses the former garage at the rear of the structure for its Thrift Alley resale store.

Glendale Historical Society President Greg Grammer, from left, honoree Matthew Letcher and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman.
Glendale Historical Society President Greg Grammer, from left, honoree Matthew Letcher and Assemblywoman Laura Friedman. (Joyce Rudolph / Glendale News-Press)

Receiving the award were Marcie Haug, the organization’s president, and member Margaret Hammond.

“We would cordially like to invite all of you to come by and see us," Haug said. “We have a lovely thrift shop where we make our money to clothe our poor children of the Glendale Unified School District and many other philanthropy projects. We are delighted to have the stewardship of keeping the building preserved.”

Hammond noted that her hat and dress were from the thrift shop, saying “I’m telling you, they are bargains.”

Assistance League provided 600 students with school clothing this year as well as their choice of a book to take home. In addition, a $1,000 donation is made each year to four school libraries to purchase books.

The recipients of this year’s Volunteer Award were Robert Gordon and Matthew Letcher.

Since 2016, Gordon has led the effort to produce the annual Restoration Expo, a free community event that provides information and resources to homeowners interested in preserving their vintage properties.

For the past four years, Gordon has also coordinated the silent auction at the gala and benefit to raise much-needed funds to support the society’s preservation efforts and endowment fund.

Davis Estate homeowners Aparna and Mychael Danna, from left, and Glendale Historical Society Vice President Cathy Jurca.
Davis Estate homeowners Aparna and Mychael Danna, from left, and Glendale Historical Society Vice President Cathy Jurca. (Joyce Rudolph / Glendale News-Press)

Letcher has helped advance the cause of historic preservation through his photography and graphic design work, spending countless hours preparing educational and promotional materials for the society, including its quarterly newsletter.

Greg Grammer, the society’s president, welcomed guests including state Sen. Anthony J. Portantino, state Assemblywoman Laura Friedman and City Councilwoman Paula Devine.

Besides Grammer, those serving on the gala committee were chair Scott Smissen, Jeri Anderson, Leslie and Robert Gordon, Marcia Hanford, Mary Kay Prather, Joemy Wilson and Ralph Ziegler.

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