William A. Peschelt Collection archPeschelt

Erin Chase.
The Huntington Library
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Business Number: (626) 405-2191


Finding aid last updated by Kelly Kress on February 14, 2023.

Contributing Institution: The Huntington Library
Title: William A. Peschelt collection
Identifier/Call Number: archPeschelt
Physical Description: 21.38 Linear Feet (3 oversize folders)
Date (inclusive): approximately 1905-1912
Abstract: The collection documents the landscape work of landscape designer William A. Peschelt during the early part of the 20th century, with a focus on his work for Arthur Letts' Holmby Park residence in Los Angeles, California.
Language of Material: Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for use by qualified researchers and by appointment. Please contact Reader Services at the Huntington Library for more information.
RESTRICTED. Use digital reproductions when available. Originals available by special permission only.

Conditions Governing Use

The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is one, and obtaining permission rests with the researcher.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], William A. Peschelt collection, The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased for The Huntington from Elise Ebbert by the Library Collectors' Council, January 18, 2009.
Original sketches for improved 7th Street Park, Santa Monica, Cal. (Folder 3), Gift of Elise Ebbert, November 2015.

Biographical / Historical

William Peschelt was born in Berlin, Germany in 1853, and came to Los Angeles in 1880 at the beginning of the population boom. Not much is known about the early part of his career, but in the first decade of the century he went into private business with Adolph Scheffler as a nurseryman and landscape designer. By 1905, Peschelt had likely gained a reputation as a landscape designer and ornamental horticulturalist because in the same year he was hired to work on possibly the largest and most elaborate residential garden in the city of Los Angeles. In 1904, English born Arthur Letts (1862-1923), founder of the Broadway Department Store, purchased 60 acres in the Los Feliz area, built his residence Holmby House, and began transforming the landscape. His collection of trees, plants, shrubs, and succulents was unrivaled, and his formal garden with deodor-lined roads, fountains, statuary, terraces, and sweeping lawns made it one of the most beautiful in Los Angeles. In addition to the Letts estate, Peschelt created a residential garden plan for Isaac Millbank of Santa Monica, and an elaborate cemetery plan for Inglewood Park Cemetery.

Scope and Contents

Collection consists of six renderings in total, including three of the Letts residence. In addition to the Letts estate, Peschelt created a residential garden plan for Isaac Millbank of Santa Monica, an elaborate cemetery plan for Inglewood Park Cemetery, and sketches for the 7th Street Park in Santa Monica.

Existence and Location of Copies

Selected items from this collection have been digitized. Digital reproductions are available in the Huntington Digital Library. 


Arranged alphabetically.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Landscape Architects –- California
Landscape Architecture -- California -- Los Angeles
Landscape Architecture -- Designs and plans.
Architectural drawings

Folder Oversize 1

"Holmby," Arthur Letts Home approximately 1908

Folder Oversize 2

Inglewood Park Cemetery 1912

Folder Oversize 3

Original Contour Map for Holmby Residence of Arthur Letts, Esq. approximately 1905-1907

Folder Oversize 3

Original Map for Sunken Garden at Holmby Park (home of Arthur Letts) approximately 1905

Folder Oversize 3

Original sketches for improved 7th Street Park, Santa Monica, Cal undated

Folder Oversize 3

Plot plan for house and drive for I. Millbank at Palisades, Santa Monica 1911