LOS ANGELES—On Tuesday, February 28, the Los Angeles City Council rejected a designation to name entertainer Bob Hope’s Toluca Lake home a historic-cultural monument.
On September 16, 2016, Councilmember David Ryu initiated the process to turn the estate into a landmark. In his motion, he argued that the home exceeds the criteria for landmark status, and that the Hope estate is “an architectural treasure and integral to theme and context of the Toluca Lake neighborhood.”
”We’re blessed in Los Angeles to have a number of entertainers and personalities that contribute to the fabric of our diverse city. Bob Hope is one of those personalities; he is an American icon,” Ryu said in a statement. “It’s important that the City’s historic-cultural resources are celebrated and rich architecture preserved for future generations.”
In November 2016, Lake Toluca’s Cultural Heritage Commission voted against granting the estate monument status. In response, Ryu amended his motion, proposing that only the exterior and two acres of the house be considered instead.
Linda Hope, daughter of the late Bob and Dolores Hope, opposed the designation. She maintained that her parents wanted the home to be sold, with the proceeds going to the Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation. The designation would go against their wishes and decrease the estate’s value.
“My parents cared very much for those in need, and we ask that you do not deprive our foundation of much needed funds to help those suffering and those that served our country,” she told The Los Angeles Times.
She believed that with many streets, buildings, and programs already named in honor of her father, the home does not need to be deemed a landmark. She argued that after undergoing many renovations, the house has reduced architectural significance. Her statements before the committee swayed Commission President Richard Barron’s decision.
The English traditional-style home was designed by renowned architect, Robert Finkelhor, in 1939, and updated by John Elgin Woolf in the 1950s. Over the years, the home expanded into adjoining lands. The property is 14,876 square feet and sits on 5.16 acres.