Cheviot Hills Tract

A.L. (Abraham Lincoln) King & Frankie King - subdividers

In 1912, prominent Palms husband and wife Abraham Lincoln (A.L.) King and Frankie L. King filed Tract 1938 , subdividing "a part of a portion of Lot 1, Tract of Francisco Higuera" in the Rancho Rincón de los Bueyes – an unincorporated part of Los Angeles County.  

In March 1923, voters decided to  bring Tract 1938 (and other lands) within the Los Angeles city limits through the " Ambassador Annexation " (a.k.a. Ambassador Addition).  The following December, the Kings filed another tract map, Tract 6741 , a "subdivision" of Tract 1938, which was coextensive with the earlier tract.  The Tract 1938 map shows two Cheviot Hills streets:  the eponymous (and longest) Cheviot Drive and Motor Avenue.  

Frans Nelson & Sons - developers

By the Spring of 1924, the Kings had sold their undeveloped subdivision to Frans Nelson & Sons for $273,000 (the Kings may have held a mortgage on it); Frans Nelson & Sons then filed a map for Tract 7264  – the Cheviot Hills Tract.

It was a good investment for Frans Nelson & Sons.  As the Swedish-born retired banker turned real estate developer recounted in his biography , “We had to spend over $400,000 in improvements such as sidewalks, curbs, streets, electroliers, water and gas mains, and power lines.  But as fast as the utilities went in the homes went up.”  In April 1927, a Los Angeles Times article showing Frans Nelson’s own house in Cheviot Hills reported that although “Cheviot Hills has been developed only a short time, 80 per cent of the property has been sold and already seventy-one homes, ranging in value from $10,000 to $50,000, have been erected.”

Promoted for its proximity to several country clubs and movie studios, and for its “convenience to Los Angeles and the beach,” lots in the “finest residential district between Los Angeles and the sea” were advertised from $1780, with homes beginning at $10,500.

Frans Nelson & Sons, advertised that their subdivision was named for its “natural rolling knolls that are so similar to the Cheviot Hills which separate England and Scotland.”  But the selection of the name Cheviot Hills was more prosaic, according to Frans Nelson.  “When we got ready to put this new property on the market, my sales organization numbered about thirty….  We decided to let them help select a name for the new subdivision and I arranged a contest among them for that purpose.  ….  One of our salesmen was a Scotchman by the name of Simpson.  He turned in the name of a district in his homeland and when this name, Cheviot Hills, was finally selected offered the further suggestion, producing a map of Scotland, that the streets be given Scotch names.”  The story may be apocrophyl, since Cheviot Drive and other Scottish street names appear on the tract maps filed well before homes were built and marketed.  (In1942, Cheviot Drive's name was extended south of Manning Avenue to replace the block-long Abbottson Road in the Country Club Highlands tract.)

The developer put temporary restrictions on set-backs, fence height, etc.  And they required that homes built on them cost at least $5000 to build.  ( Monte-Mar Vista , to the north and east, set the minimum at $12,000, lowering it to $4000 during the Great Depression.  Those restrictions ran into the 1940s.   The developer also put permanent racial covenants in title to the homesites, limiting ownership and residency to persons of the white or Caucasian race" (except for employees of those residents).  Our nation’s highest court found such restrictions unenforceable in Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 US 1 (1948).

The Cheviot Hills tract is distinguished by “Frans-Nelson & Sons” stampings in streets,  sidewalks, and curbs and by (CD 803 - style electrolier) concrete lampposts.
April 3, 1927, Los Angeles Times advertisement for Whippet Races attracted home-buyers.  
​Los Angeles Times (April 10, 1927 ):  "Whippets to Race Today" article appeared on race day, reporting
"80 percent of the property has been sold" and "seventy-one homes, ranging in value from $10,000 to $50,000, have been erected."
Laurel & Hardy's 1929 (Bacon Grabbers) filmed at 2980 Haddington Drive and 10341 Bannockburn Drive. Laurel lived in the neighborhood.
Los Angeles Times (June 25, 1935) "Cheviot Hills 'Boom' Told"  reported that Realtors Neff & Hurst sold homes in this "restricted area" (meaning whites only) which was not uncommon in those days.  Neff & Hurst were selling are homes from 3017 Motor Avenue as late as June 1955.
Frans Nelson's great-niece Cecilia shared this holiday card with two pictures of his Motor Avenue home.