It seems fitting that we write about the efforts of three stone masons to repair one of the nearly 100 year-old monuments that mark the entrance to Fremont Place over the Labor Day weekend. The small monument on the east side of the entrance of Fremont Place was damaged in mid July, when a Beverly Hills Taxi Cab lost control at the intersection of Wilshire Blvd. and Rossmore and hit the monument. The monuments are made of cast cement with sand added to make them look like stone, a common construction practice in the early 1900s when Fremont Place was developed.
Originally, the entry monuments were much grander, featuring columns that connected the two large monuments with the smaller ones, creating an arch for visitors to walk through. Long time residents of Fremont Place don’t recall when the columns fell; some suggest they could have been damaged in 1931 Long Beach earthquake. The columns do not appear in an aerial photo taken in 1956.
Until earlier this summer, the monuments had never been involved in a traffic accident that any of the locals can recall; a pretty good record over the past nearly 100 years.
Fortunately, the repair of the damaged monument was done Saturday morning by a crew of three stone masons from Bluestone Masonry, owned by Antonio Rodriguez. The crew started early by removing the planted urn sitting on top of the monument. The urns are relatively new, manufactured in 2003 and placed there as part of the front gate renovation under taken by Fremont Place in 2004. But they weigh several thousand pounds and required a bobcat to remove them for safekeeping while the monument was rebuilt.
After taking apart all the pieces, the monument was reassembled using thinset and mortar to put it back together. Fortunately, none of the concrete blocks were damaged in the accident…and magically, like an intricate puzzle, fit exactly back into place. Once completed, it looked as if nothing ever happened.
Patricia Lombard is the co-editor and publisher of the Larchmont Buzz. Patty lives with her family in Fremont Place. She has been active in neighborhood issues since moving here in 1989. Her pictorial history, "Larchmont" for Arcadia Press is available at Chevalier's Books.