Situated on the west side of Myrtle Avenue just a couple of blocks north of Foothill Boulevard can be found the first house built in the Oaks Tract.
The owner, Maynard H. Best, was partners with H.J. Evans in Best and Evans Real Estate, located at 611 South Myrtle Avenue. In 1909, he was also an active member of the American National Bank. He and his wife, Bryana, owned lots in several of Monrovia’s other early subdivisions.
The Craftsman house displays all the classic features of Craftsman architecture in the early 1900s. It has a large porch with battered cut granite porch piers, a chimney of cut granite, diamond paned light windows on the first floor and original, double-hung wood windows on the second floor.
The two-story house has ship-lap siding with a broad, shallow gable roof on the south side. The barge rafters exhibit a unique detailing on their ends. The house is listed in Monrovia’s Heritage, Volume 2, published in 1982, as well as Monrovia’s Heritage: An Architectural Perspective, published in 1996 (the latter book can still be purchased from the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group).
At some point over 50 years ago, the front door was moved from its central location at the front of the house to the right side, opening into a parlor room. The present oak front door with its oval, beveled glass front is not original to the house. It once belonged to a house that was razed years ago to make room for the Huntington Oaks shopping center, near Huntington Drive and the 210 Freeway.
The current owners, who have resided in the home for 26 years, recently completed the last phase of a complete restoration of the structure. All interior wood had been painted in prior years and was stripped. None of the light fixtures are original to the house although much of the lighting currently in the house consists of restored, antique lighting salvaged from flea markets.
Two interior fireplaces and original pocket doors separating the living room from the dining room add to the ambiance that would have been present when the house was first built. The original buffet in the dining room was removed at some time in the past, but a period appropriate replica was built in the kitchen.
The footprint of the house has not been altered over the years. The interior boasts approximately 3000 square feet of living space with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and an office. A large deck on the back of the house, shaded by a 75-year-old oak tree, enlarges the living space and provides a quiet retreat during the summer months.
The house was landmarked in 1997 as Historic Landmark #13 and is under a Mills Act contract. Filming has taken place here in the past, including several commercials and two made-for-TV movies. The house has been on the MOHPG Mother’s Day Home Tour only one time and that was in 2000.
An opportunity to see the inside of the “Best” home in Monrovia (remember that homes often take the name of their first owner!) is approaching as it will be on the 2012 MOHPG Home Tour on Sunday, May 13.