Perry and Mitzi Maltz were pleased when they found the old "Travelogue of the H. V. Bagwell Co." among his mother's papers after she died.
"She was such a California history buff," he said of his mother, Dorothy Maltz. "If this can shed any light on the past, she would have been delighted."
The "travelogue" also prompted the adjoining story, which could be called--as Mitzi Maltz suggested--a "birthday card to Dorothy."
Had Maltz lived, she would be 92 next Friday--the same day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt would have turned 105.
Dorothy Maltz was interested in such data. She was interested in history. She was also interested in real estate.
That's why she kept the real estate development company's "travelogue," which started at Westlake Park (now MacArthur Park) and ended at the firm's subdivision on the outskirts of Loyola University.
"When she came to Los Angeles, the city ended at Western Avenue," her son, Perry, said. "She came from New York City on her honeymoon in 1918, and stayed to witness tremendous growth. . . ." "Which she participated in," his wife added.
Although Dorothy Maltz' husband, Herman, sold land in Culver City for Harry Culver after the honeymooners arrived, Herman Maltz soon found a job in the furniture business.
Money From Cookie Jar
"Dorothy, however, had an eye for real estate," Mitzi Maltz said. "She wanted to buy land, but Herman said, 'Dorothy, I'm just a merchant, and if you to want to pursue that, you must do it on your own.' So she did.
"She took her savings from a cookie jar and bought a lot on Middleton Place off Western Avenue in the '20s."
It became the home where Perry Maltz was born 61 years ago. As he recalled, "the bank gave her a loan to build and charged her 1% interest."
In 1930 she bought another lot, this time on Oakhurst Drive in Beverly Hills, for $4,500, her son believes. Once more, she picked the site, then became the designer and contractor.
"Whenever his dad gave her money for a nice dress or a fur, she went to real estate auctions and bought property instead," Mitzi Maltz remembered.
Land for Investment
Mitzi and Perry Maltz were married 30 years ago--after Herman Maltz died (in 1947)--but Dorothy Maltz often talked about those early days when she bought land for investment as well as for her personal residences.
She bought land in the San Fernando Valley near Topanga Canyon Boulevard that is now the site of a shopping center. She bought some La Crescenta property where many houses have been built since.
She bought a home in Malibu Colony that was her family's summer home for years. She bought large apartment buildings in the mid-Wilshire area, which her sons Perry and Bill (who died in 1981), managed through their Maltzco Realty & Management Inc. of Beverly Hills. Maltzco is still involved in property management and sales.
"After Mitzi and I were married, my mother would buy a home in Beverly Hills, paint it, landscape it and then sell it and make a good profit," Perry Maltz recollected. "She did that for several years until my brother and I said it took too much strength for her to do that anymore."
She was fiercely independent, though, and lived alone until the last few months of her life. Then she lived with Perry and Mitzi Maltz in the Trousdale home she found for them 22 years ago.
Dorothy Maltz was a milliner before she married, but she had vision when it came to investing in California real estate, her daughter-in-law observed.
Dorothy Maltz was, her son said, "a New York gal who lived in cramped places and was very impressed with the open spaces of California.
"I imagine that had a lot to do with her investing in land here."