One day recently, I drove over to the Rossmoyne area to talk to a couple who have lived in their house for many years.
They showed me an old album, filled with black-and-white photos of Rossmoyne when some of the houses were still under construction and most of the streets were unpaved.
I wondered if it was assembled for Alexander Nibley, who developed Rossmoyne. A closer look at the cover confirmed my thoughts. There, I saw several words stamped into the leather: “Rossmoyne ‘The Superb,’ Nibley Investment Co, licensed realtors, Glendale, California.”
The owner of the album, Richard Berry, thinks it was used as a sales tool, as many of the houses were built “on spec.”
Berry told me the story of how the album came into his possession.
When he and his wife, Elizabeth, moved into Rossmoyne, they were a young, newly married couple. This was in the early 1960s, when he was working for American Hospital Supply, and was very busy during the week. Meanwhile, Elizabeth was teaching speech and debate in Burbank and attending tournaments most every weekend.
“I got bored and went out looking at houses,” Berry said. Eventually he found this one. “It had been built in 1927. A family named Hughes owned it.”
“We were the young couple on the street when we moved here in 1964. Our parents thought we were crazy to buy this huge house. Our kids were born while we were living here,” he said.
“The house is amazing,” Elizabeth Berry added. “It’s three levels, it is solid, and very warm and livable.”
The young couple formed friendships with several others on Cortez Drive, and their parties evolved into a group called the Alley Cats, as one side of the street has an access alley.
One of their neighbors, Dr. William Hose, known informally as the street’s “honorary mayor,” was then the owner of the Nibley album.
When Hose discovered which house the Berrys were living in, he gave them a present, a framed photo of their house under construction. A sign in the front yard showed that it had been designed and built by Ridenour Bros., “the same builder that Lloyd Wright used,” Berry explained.
As the years passed, some residents moved out and others moved in; eventually, the Hoses left. But before they moved away, they presented Berry with the Rossmoyne book.
Berry also inherited the title of “honorary mayor” and played an important role in the area’s recent designation as a historic district. “I walked the district to get signatures until my knee gave out,” the former Northwestern football and basketball star said. “Then others took over.”
Berry has had the photo album for nearly 30 years. “It is such a treasure,” he said.
At the conclusion of our visit, the Berrys generously lent Nibley’s old photo album to me for a couple of days and I took it right over to the Special Collections Room at the Glendale Public Library. There, staff member Mike Shea scanned each of the photos and put them on a disc.
Now, these photos of Rossmoyne in its early years are available through the library’s website.
Jane Hancock, subject of last week’s column, “Jungle Jenny,” raised five boys while teaching at Toll and later at Hoover. Her late husband, Fred, was a chemical engineer for Johns-Manville, not, as indicated, a teacher at Toll! My apologies, Jane!
And, here’s another comment, on “Toonerville.”
“When I went to Roosevelt Junior High in 1946 and ’47 we associated the name with a Mexican neighborhood to the south,” wrote Ken Tremayne. He agreed with last week’s writer that the name came from a trolley featured in the comic strip “Toonerville Folks.”
“As a Glendalian born and bred I have fond memories of Adams Hill, the Chevron Station that’s a park now, and the Adams Square drug store where I worked part time while at Glendale College and Cal State L.A.” Tremayne has lived in Sparr Heights since the 1960s. His son still lives on the old homestead on Scofield, he added.
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