According to a history compiled by legendary architecture writer Esther McCoy in documents now stored with the Library of Congress, Dodge sold his house to T. Morrison McKenna and Anita K. McKenna in 1924 for $125,000. To their objection, the Los Angeles High School District condemned the property in 1939, and with a $69,000 payment to the McKennas, the district took control of the property.
Title eventally was transferred to the junior collect district, and in the 1950s the property was used as "a household services branch of the school system." But by 1963, the board of education declared it surplus property.
Financier Bart Lytton, a titan in the savings and loan industry, responded to the architecture and bought Dodge House. In 1967 he and Meyer created a plan that preserved the house as part of a real estate development: 48 new town-house style units whose residents would use a restored Dodge House as a common area.
The plan was to make preservation economically feasible, Meyer said, "but construction would have far exceeded the cost of the house, and no one wanted to build on that basis." As Lytton's empire crumbled, he lost control of the property to his investment group. Developers saw no way to make money unless Dodge House were replaced with additional units of housing.