Los Angeles City Historic Cultural Monument #484
In 1937, architect Paul R. Williams and Barbara Stanwyck, then one of Hollywood's highest paid actresses, collaborated to build a 6000 square foot Irish farmhouse on a hilltop in Northridge, California. The views were of the entire San Fernando Valley and Marwyck Ranch, her 120 acre Thoroughbred Farm, co-owned with Zeppo and Marion Marx.
Jack Oakie purchased the house in 1941, renaming it Oakridge. The house remained the Oakie family home for over six decades.
Jack passed away in 1978. Due to the efforts of Victoria Horne Oakie, Oakridge was designated a Los Angeles City Historic Cultural Monument in 1990.
In 2000, Victoria donated the estate to the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts with instructions that the house be sold to fund a university Comedy Chair in Jack's name. It would be the first ever university Comedy Chair.
Victoria passed away in 2003 at the age of 91.
USC held the property for several years, eventually selling it to a real estate developer. Although the home and immediate 1.8 acres was a protected landmark, the developer planned to build 28 single family homes on the adjacent vacant land.
Former Councilman Greig Smith was always concerned about the development and worked to protect the historic home. When economic conditions caused the sale to fall out of escrow, Smith saw an opportunity to acquire the entire property for the City of Los Angeles.
In September 2009, the purchase of the home and surrounding 9.47 acres was approved by the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks Board of Commissioners. The total price of the property was $3.35 million. Councilman Smith secured $3.8 million in Quimby fees to purchase, help rehabilitate and improve the house and grounds. Quimby fees are fees collected from local development projects and set aside to preserve and improve parks and open space in the community.
Councilman Mitchell Englander continues to support the Oakridge Estate. The property will be a community passive recreational site in perpetuity, under the management of The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks, ensuring that it will be maintained, safe, secure and accessible to the public for generations to come.
Photo by Marcie Heacox
Architects Paul R. Williams and Robert Finkelhor
Front - 2017
Back - 2015
1937 - Stanwyck house under construction. Photo courtesy of Marc Wanamaker, Bison Archives
1938 - Back of Stanwyck house. Hollywood Magazine
Paul R. Williams charcoal rendering of Oakridge. Date unknown, signed for the Oakies
1942 Saturday Evening Post ad featuring Jack Oakie and Venita Vardon in the Oakidge backyard with an Oakvardon Afghan.
Barbara Stanwyck and Marion Marx. Motion Picture Magazine February 1939
Barbara Stanwyck publicity photo c. 1937
Van Nuys News - January 28, 1937