The Rochester mansion was originally owed by Edmond Lincoln Anderson, the first African American to have a regular role on a nationwide radio program. He broke many racial barriers in the entertainment industry beginning in the 1930s. He was an American comedian and actor who got his start in show-business as a teenager on the vaudeville circuit. The mansion sits on 'Rochester Circle' which was named after Edmond and his popular character portrayal of 'Rochester' in the 1930s.
In the early 1930s, he transitioned into films and radio. In 1937, he began his most famous role of Rochester van Jones, usually known simply as “Rochester”, the valet of Jack Benny, on his radio show The Jack Benny Program. When the series moved to television, Anderson continued in the role until the series ended in 1965.
After the series ended, Anderson remained active with guest starring roles on television and voice work in animated series. For his contribution to the radio industry, Eddie Anderson has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Radio at 6513 Hollywood Boulevard. In 2001, Anderson was posthumously inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame.
Like many of the African-Americans in the entertainment industry, Anderson made his home in the West Adams district of Los Angeles. In previous times, the district had been home to doctors, lawyers, and railroad barons. In the Depression era, the area had fallen into hard times, with many residents need to either sell their homes or rent out rooms in them. By the 1940s, the African-American entertainment community began purchasing homes in the district, nicknaming it ‘Sugar Hill’.
Some property owners reacted to their new neighbors by adding restrictive covenants to their deeds. The covenants either prohibited African-Americans from purchasing a property or inhabiting inside once purchased. The practice was declared illegal by the US Supreme Court in 1948.
The Rochester mansion has original furnishing and a grand staircase complete with chandelier. There's a piano room, original fireplaces, antique furniture, a swimming pool and BBQ area, a clubhouse, lots of bedrooms and spacious rooms, gardens and guest houses in the same street.