DOWNEY - In 1920, the Albert Ball residence, located on 8572 Cherokee Dr., was one of the most prominent homes in Downey."The home was built with citrus money," said George Redfox, a local Downey historian. "Ball made his money with the orange groves that used to be in this area." Built in Spanish Colonial style, the rectangular structure sported a red tile roof and arched windows. A sheltered porch extended from the home's main entrance, supported by round white columns. "The wood used for the floors inside was imported from Africa," said Redfox. "It was the best that you could buy." Today, just twelve columns remain, holding up what is left of the historic property since building permits were issued to the owners who began remodeling the home last year. According to Linda Haines, director of building and safety for the city of Downey, the current owners, Salvador and Maria Cerros, are responsible for the slow progress of construction. "I don't know why they are not building," Haines said. "The revisions we seek from them are minor." Representatives of the owners were bringing various revisions back and forth to the city but were asked six months ago to consolidate everything into one plan, Haines said. "Last Friday, a representative came in with a copy of the plan," Haines said. "Staff sat down with him and the plan was checked, but he was told that four sets were needed. We have not heard from anyone since then." Although Haines has not seen the plans, she acknowledged that the Cerros family, who could not be reached for comment, agreed to make their new home look similar to the Ball house. The original residence was designed by Los Angeles architect H.H. Whitely for Ball, who was part owner of the Ball and Tweedy Packing Company, one of Downey's chief industries of the time. The large lot that the home resides on is all that remains of a huge fruit ranch that was subdivided many times into smaller residential units.
********** Published: September 4, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 20