Article in the LA TIMES: Fans love Carpenters, not carpenters
Is Carpenter House headed for demolition?
By Eric Pierce
DOWNEY--Here we go again?
Internet message boards were buzzing this week with rumors that the famous and beloved house once occupied by Richard and Karen Carpenter was headed for demolition.
The rumors began after an online ad for an estate sale at the residence appeared on the Internet last Saturday.
The Carpenter House, at 9828 Newville Ave., was the longtime home of the Carpenter family, and where Karen Carpenter collapsed Feb. 4, 1983. She was rushed to Downey Community Hospital where she died of cardiac arrest.
Rod Reynolds, a Carpenters fan who attended the sale, said he was told by the house’s current owner that the home next door (9821 Newville) was on track to be torn down, and the actual Carpenter House would soon follow.
City Hall records reveal an application to demolish the house at 9821 Newville, but none for 9828.
Records list Manuel Parra as the property owner of 9821 Newville. When contacted, language barriers made it difficult to ask him about the demolition.
Fans, meanwhile, descended on the house Saturday for the sale.
“A few of us Carpenters fans went to the sale and were horrified at the condition of the house and the grounds,” Reynolds said. “When Richard and Karen lived there, they had a magnificent Japanese garden in the backyard. This garden has crumbled into disrepair and most of the foliage is dead. The fountains and river-let are completely dried up.”
Craigslist.org, a popular website featuring free classified advertisements, had a listing for an estate sale at the Carpenter House. Part of the ad reads: “Are you a Carpenter fan?? No, not the carpenter who built your house, The Carpenters (the band) as in Richard and Karen Carpenter. Have you ever dreamed of owning something that belonged to them? Well this is your chance!”
The ad goes on to list the items for sale, including records, furniture, a pool table, and “Karen Carpenter’s original bed and mattress.”
City officials, meanwhile, said the property owner is within their rights to remodel the house, as long as all code requirements are met. Unless a property is officially designated historic, which the Carpenter House isn’t, the property owner is free to demolish the home.
Coincidentally or not, fans this week started an online petition to induct The Carpenters into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. More information is available at www.gocarpenters.com.
Please write the council or email the Patriot. Let them know we don't want to loose another landmark.
If you would like to write a letter to the local paper please email your letter to the Editor of the Downey Patriot
Family inside Carpenter House decry attention
By Eric Pierce and Jacquelinne Mejia
DOWNEY-The family living inside the house made famous by the Carpenters have been dealing with harassment, invasions of privacy and even a burglary ever since a story published in the Patriot two weeks ago detailing plans of a possible demolition, a family representative said this week.
Speculation began swirling that the house was headed for demolition after an ad for an estate sale at 9828 Newville Ave., where the famed Richard and Karen Carpenter grew up, emerged on the Internet.
Fans of the Carpenters protested and decried what they labeled as dilapidated conditions at the home.
A permit application was received by the City of Downey building and safety department in April requesting permission to demolish all but one wall of the house and construct a new two-story, three-garage house in its place.
Jessica Parra, daughter of the homeowner, told the Patriot her family is obeying all laws and obtaining all necessary permits from the city. She also emphasized that her father, Manuel, a Cuban immigrant, has lived in the United States for 40 years and worked hard to send her to college (she’s currently attending law school).
Parra said strangers have been peering into her windows and snapping pictures. “(It’s) very dangerous because it is an invasion of privacy,” she said.
The house was even the subject of a break-in this week, Parra said.
Still, Parra said she allowed a 300-person sightseeing group from England tour her home at no charge, but wished the derogatory comments and negative attention would cease.
She emphasized that the Carpenter house is not an officially historic site and it remains private property.
Fond of Carpenter House
As a Carpenters fan, I’m greatly surprised and saddened that the former Carpenter family home on Newville Avenue is being demolished. For fans, 9828 Newville Avenue is more than just an address or a house – it is the place where Karen and Richard Carpenter developed their career, their lives, and their values. Even after Karen and Richard moved away, they still considered this house their home base, visiting their parents often. It is well known that this is also the place where Karen passed away.
Fans from around the world, such as myself, have gone out of their way to visit this location as it has become so recognizable to us from the cover of their “Now and Then” album, as well as from documentaries and the movie, “The Karen Carpenter Story.” This home is significant and meaningful to Carpenters fans. I urge the Downey City Council to take pride in their community’s connection to the Carpenters’ legacy and stop the demolition. -- Linda Thibert, Windsor, Ontario, Canada
June 29, 2007 article: An insider’s view of the Carpenter House
Outraged over Carpenter houses
I am a huge fan of Karen and Richard Carpenter and am outraged that their houses in Downey aren’t being considered landmarks and saved and protected from being torn down. Please don’t tear the houses down.
I haven’t even been to California or to Downey to see their old houses and their old hotels and would love to see them but can’t afford to go. Please save them – poor Karen is probably turning in her grave.
Same old tune: Save the Carpenters
I recently read an article that the Karen and Richard Carpenter house in Downey is in a possible state of demolition. I would like to say that as a Carpenters fan, and a fan of music in general, that it is important to save these landmarks – especially for Downey’s historical efforts.
The Carpenters once proudly lived there, and have captured the hearts of millions of people around the world. Many Carpenters fans would love to see the house stay for many, many years to come. The Carpenters deserve to be remembered and tearing down the places that they were associated with just destroys part of their legacy.
I, for one, would just love to see the house stay. Many, many fans in the future could visit and get a sense of closure with the Carpenters legacy and remembrance. After all, fans do need some kind of place to remember their favorite artists, such as Elvis fans do every year when they visit Graceland.
I just ask that all council members and people involved think of this reason and make the right decision.
-- Marty Morrison,