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Notable residents lived at Brand and Glenoaks

November 05, 2010|By Katherine Yamada

Glendale still had a lot of open land left when a two-story house was built near the corner of Brand and Glenoaks boulevards. The house sat on a large piece of property extending from Brand east to Maryland Avenue and south toward the Verdugo Wash.

The year the house was built is unknown, but the Glendale News-Press reported on May 14, 1957, that it was first owned by a doctor named Brown. The house was purchased in 1911 by another doctor, R.L. Young.

The big flood of 1914 washed away the topsoil on the property, and "the fine stand of oaks which had beautified the place was badly damaged," continued the News-Press. (That flood caused $10 million in damage throughout the Los Angeles basin. Residents seeking relief from recurrent flooding pushed for action, and the following year, the Los Angeles County Flood Control District was formed.

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For more information, see the county's Public Works website.) Young's property, so near the wash, was left bare after that 1914 flood. He began replanting with tropical trees and plants, including what was said to be the first banana tree grown in Glendale. Other plantings, including a redwood tree, came from all over the world, and the garden became a tourist destination.

The next owner was a young man named Don Baxter, who had been in China with the Rockefeller Institute. While treating cholera victims, he saw a need for an effective way to provide nourishment to surgery patients.

After his return, Baxter "discovered the gardens surrounding the house, fell in love, and bought it," the News-Press recounted. Using the basement of his new house as a lab, "he began a series of experiments which later gained him national recognition and resulted in the establishment of Baxter laboratories."

Eventually, Baxter moved his lab to a small industrial building on Gardena Avenue where he began making solutions on a commercial scale, as detailed by a 1958 Baxter brochure provided by Special Collections. The demand for these solutions was great, but they were shipped in fragile lab flasks. Baxter and his team perfected a safer container, a vacuum-packed liter of solution that was widely used during World War II.

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