The Fremont Place columns are the iconic symbol of our stately neighborhood. Constructed in 1911 to attract the attention of drivers traveling down Wilshire Blvd, the columns were long thought to be constructed of granite but they are actually concrete treated to resemble granite.
Recently these gracious old standard bearers have been given much needed attention in a historic restoration of the front entrance of the Fremont Place funded by the Fremont Place Association on behalf of the residents.
In 2003 the association repaired the streets in Fremont leaving the entry for a later date. In 2006 Keswick Robbins Design was hired to design and supervise the implementation of a new landscape plan for the entry and restoration of the historic columns and gate house.
In the first phase, designer Paul Robbins planted more than a dozen large camphor trees to line the entrance and eventually form a shade canopy over the street. In the spring of 2007, work began to replace the streets and renovate the gate house, designed more than 30 years ago by architect Ragnar Qvale, while he and his family resided in Fremont Place. Current resident, Loc Waters’s firm L.E. Waters Construction supervised the painstaking reconstruction of the wood paneled gate house in keeping with the Qvale’s original design. Under Waters’ supervision, a new slate roof replaced the old asphalt shingled one and new copper gutters added a wonderful finishing detail transforming the old gate house into an elegant miniature house in keeping with the elegant homes that grace the two streets of Fremont Place.
The Keswick Robbins plan also called for a landscaped median to add more green space to the entrance. The median was modified to a planted area in the front and rear of the gate house. The concrete driveway apron at Wilshire was replaced with porphry stone to enhance the entrance and usher residents and visitors into the neighborhood. The porphry was also placed around the gate house to separate this area from the asphalt street.
Historic photos of the neighborhood inspired designers Paul Robbins and Kimberly Keswick to fabricate four concrete urns to be located on the arms of the concrete columns and planted with seasonally plants.
Finally, lighting was installed to illuminate the columns, the new trees and the newly renovated gate house.
The project was completed with the helpful assistance of the residents who supported the restoration of the front gate, our nearby neighbors along Wilshire who were extremely patient during the one-month closure of the Wilshire Gate and our contractors and design team who took as much pride in their work on the entry as the neighborhood. The Fremont gate now reflects its historical precedent as an attractive beacon to a stately neighborhood along Wilshire Blvd and is poised to serve its residents another 90 years.