Carpenters Fans Try to Save Former Home

Sunday February 17, 6:19 AM

Owners of The Carpenters’ former home aren’t feeling on top of the world about the legions of fans who keep stopping by to pay tribute.

The five-bedroom tract house, where siblings Karen and Richard Carpenter lived and penned some of their greatest hits, was featured on the cover of their 1973 hit album “Now & Then.” It was also where an anorexic Karen Carpenter collapsed in 1983 before dying.

Owners Manuel and Blanca Melendez Parra have apparently grown weary of the parade of fans paying homage.

The couple have submitted plans to officials in Downey, a city about 15 miles south of downtown Los Angeles, to raze the 39-year-old main house, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. The Parras have already torn down an adjoining house and have begun construction on a larger home.

The proposal to level the rest of the residence has angered fans.

“This house is our version of Graceland,” said Carpenters aficionado Jon Konjoyan. “When they photographed the ‘Now & Then’ cover here in 1973, the house was instantly immortalized.”

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The 57-year-old musician and promoter is heading a campaign to save the original home from the wrecker’s ball. Some fans have proposed that Downey officials declare the house a historic landmark.

The entire Carpenter family lived in the main house. The adjoining section was used as an office, rehearsal studio and recreation room.

The Carpenters’ parents lived in the residence until Harold Carpenter’s death in 1988 and Agnes Carpenter’s in 1996. Richard Carpenter sold the house a year later.

After the Parras bought the house, Jessica Parra, said that at first her parents invited fans into the home and gave away items left by Richard Carpenter.

“In the beginning, we let everybody in. But honestly, it became horrible, not only for us but for the neighborhood,” Parra said. “People peek in windows and take pictures. They leave flowers on the front porch.”

Downey officials said that they received plans for a new residence, but that no demolition permit has been issued.

Konjoyan is holding out hope. He wants the home to be bought and rehabilitated. If that is not possible, he wants the structure to be moved.

“They were such a huge American act in the ’70s,” Konjoyan said of the duo. “So many people loved them.”

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