"The Mills Act provides a 50% reduction in property tax for landmark homeowners," Lawler said. "I would say about three quarters of people who have bought their home in the past couple of years are interested in benefiting from this because they are paying thousands of dollars in tax. But those who have had their houses longer are genuinely interested in preserving their homes."
The Mills Act, passed in 1972, grants cities and counties the authority to offer the owners of qualified historic properties tax breaks if they actively participate in the restoration and maintenance of the properties.
Cynthia Bowie, who owns the La Crescenta house designed by Eric Wright in the 1980s, said the money saved from any tax cuts goes straight back into paying for maintenance.
"When we first moved in, we were surprised by the level of care a house like this needs to be kept to a certain standard," she said, adding that the basement ceiling collapsed on the arrival and the deck suffered from serious water damage. "There was quite a lot of deferred maintenance to be done. We had a lot to catch up on and it all had to be done properly.
"The more we lived in it, the more we appreciated it -- not only for its role in L.A. history but also because its an example of the way architecture can interact with its surroundings."
Another house up for landmark consideration is a converted water tower on top of Briggs Terrace. It is not known when the house was converted, but the tower dates back to the 1880s.
The water tower is one of three on Briggs Terrace applying for landmark status.
Castle Janet, with its eclectic mix of architectural styles, also hopes to join the list. Built in the 1930s, it is decorated with used props and movie sets and was once a hang-out for old Hollywood.
The other contenders include another faux "castle" on lower Briggs Terrace and a tiled, Spanish-colonial home in Montrose that was built in the 1920s.
Lawler, who is assisting the homeowners with their landmark applications, said the approval process is likely to take two to three months.
Weatherwolde Castle in Tujunga is on the verge of being granted landmark status after pressure from community activists forced the owner to sell it to someone willing to take on the responsibility of its preservation, Lawler said.