Ball house destruction

Dear Editor:When I moved here to Downey 40 years ago, I fell in love with the people and with Downey's sense of pride and history. The historic carriage roads and their giant palms. The crazy street names that went from Mr. Stewart's house to Mr. Gray's house, and of course, all the beautiful, historic homes. At that time it was all about pride and our rich history. If you owned one of these houses it was an honor. And you had a duty to care for it for our future children and grandchildren. When Florence Avenue changed its zoning to Business Professional and Downey Savings wanted to build on the corner of Florence and Brookshire avenues, the two historic Spanish homes were moved to the street behind so they would not be lost. And it isn't just Downey. All cities in California are preserving their history. I have seen homes in horrid condition that have been restored to gems. One of my favorite Downey homes was the Ball house. I never thought we would lose it for many reasons: its rich history and the history of the family; its solid construction and the fact that I had knowledge of how well it was maintained. When the house was sold we were told that it would be preserved - only remodeled. I'm sure many of you were as shocked as I was when we drove up Cherokee Drive to see it was gone. A few weeks ago I spoke with one of our city councilmen. (I won't give you his name but I will say that if he is in the room you can always hear him.) I asked about the Ball house and he told me he felt if someone owns a property, they can tear it down if that is what they want to do. He said he had the report and that the house could not be saved as it was eaten up by termites, which I knew just not true. Termites eat wood and wood can be replaced. When the former owner purchased it 35 years ago, it was fumigated. When Mrs. Former Owner moved in she told me she found a sticky substance along the baseboards. Her 18-inch thick walls were full of bee hives. The contractors opened all the exterior walls, cleaned out the hives and replaced any wood damage. It was pristine. Now I am a real estate broker and I sell a lot of homes and we might have had to do a few thousand dollars in repairs, but we have never had to tear a house down. We need to take steps to protect the few historic homes we have left. If you agree, let the city or this newspaper know. -- Gracie Eshilian, Downey

********** Published: December 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 36