The Halfhil-Bell Queen Anne Colonial Revival Victorian mansion commands prominence on the north side of 3rd St. in Manhattan Beach. This may be one of the most prominent and historically significant residences in the South Bay. 1639 3rd St. in Manhattan Beach was originally built between 1903 and 1905 for Albert P. Halfhil, the inventor of tuna canning, on a hill overlooking McArthur Park (then Westlake Park) near downtown Los Angeles. In 1983, the Bell family purchased the dilapidated home for $1, removed the 3rd floor including the witch’s cap, cut the mansion into 3 pieces, and trucked it to Manhattan Beach over a 2 week period enduring many obstacles and challenges. The Los Angeles Conservancy called it “the most difficult undertaking of its kind in city history.” The Conservancy gave the Bells an award for saving the historic structure. Once the house arrived at her new home, the restoration began and continued for 12 years. With the help of interior designer, Mandi Vilari, the owners restored decorative elements such as the foyer’s fretwork, wainscoting, leaded glass windows, pocket doors, etc., succeeding in creating an authentic Victorian showpiece. The architectural repair and restoration has been praised by the Manhattan Beach Cultural Heritage Conservatory. Not all structures like 1639 3rd St. are eligible for preservation, making this one a genuine treasure. It is only through preservation that future generations will be able to comprehend and envision the architectural evolution of our community.
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Updated on February 16, 2023 at 11:34 pm