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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Woodbury House, Storied Altadena Landmark, Reportedly Wins Reprieve from May 14 Foreclosure Auction

woodburyhouseThe owner of Woodbury House, a storied landmark important to the history of Altadena, said today the May 14 foreclosure auction of the property has been postponed by the foreclosure trustee.

Peter Leissos said that although the auction of the property at 2606 Madison Avenue still appears on the website he was told in a May 4 telephone conversation that its foreclosure sale will be postponed in order for the mortgage servicer, Nation Star, to complete a review of the property’s files.

Neighborhood concern spread in late April when passersby say they noticed and photographed a foreclosure notice posted on the front door of the National Historic Register-listed property.

That notice indicated the six bedroom, five bathroom, 6,159 square foot residence would be sold at a live auction for a minimum bid of $863,097.03 on May 14 in Norwalk.

In response, the Altadena Historical Society and Altadena Heritage announced cooperation and established a “joint watch” of the property, reportedly concerned that an auction sale could lead to a new owner who might raze the historic home or dramatically alter it.


The Woodbury House, as seen before music room was added in the late 1890s. Image credit: Altadena Historical Society


The residence’s National Historic Register status does not protect it from such fates.

Paul Loether, Chief of the National Register of Historic Places Program, confirmed to Altadena Now that under Federal law a non-Federal property owner “can do as they wish [to] their own National Register listed property unless Federal funding or licensing (permits) are involved.”

There are no Federal funding or licensing permits on record for the Woodbury House.

The Woodbury House (also known as the Woodbury-Story House) was built in 1882 by Capt. Frederick Woodbury, one of the founders of Altadena, for his wife Martha.

It was placed on the National Register in 1993 for its historical significance and as an example of Italianate and Colonial Revival architecture styles.

Over the decades, the residence has served as a coffee shop, sheriff’s station, a fire engine house, office building and a tea house. Most recently, with current owner Leissos, the property has been rented out as a movie and television location.

Leissos said it is not known how long the review of the property’s files will require, or what resulting decisions may be made by Nation Star.

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