The Bell Mansion has been granted a temporary reprieve from the toll of weather and time.
Last week, workers began removing old, peeling paint and will apply a fresh coat on the aging wood-frame house, which once belonged to James George Bell, a prominent figure in the southeast Los Angeles County area.
Although the city-owned house needs major restoration, the $5,000 paint job is an emergency measure to prevent further deterioration, city officials said.
"It's basically just to preserve the surface to keep it from deteriorating any further," said William Vasquez, the city's parks and recreation director.
City Administrator Byron Woosley said the interim measure will give the council breathing rooom to further discuss what to do with the house.
The house, which has a small, rusted bell emebedded in the middle of its gable, is at 6500 Lucille Ave. The house is one of the oldest in the county, built sometime during the 1870s.
Besides a coat of paint, the two-story, four-bedroom house needs major foundation and structural work. Estimates for total restoration range from $100,000 to $300,000.
The city purchased the home--which is on the National Register of Historic Places--in 1968 for $18,000, with $12,000 coming from Bell's relatives.