Lester Moore became known for his architectural designs starting in the late 1800s. He had an office in downtown Los Angeles and designed all over the City. His early style was primarily Craftsman, but he employed other styles as well. Around 1898, he was retained as part of a commission to redesign the Los Angeles City Hall. In his later years, he designed primarily in the Mission Revival style in the Riverside area. Among Moore’s notable projects was a stone house for the Sierra Club and a bungalow for Franz Bischoff. Very few of Moore’s works remain, but the city of Los Angeles has designated as historical a nearby bungalow designed by Moore, in an effort to preserve his work.
The Arroyo Vista Inn was built under Moore’s supervision in 1910 by Ezra and Ida (Moon) Thompson. Ezra Thompson came from an Irish-immigrant family. He was trained as a lawyer in the mid-west, but made his fortune in real estate and worked this property as a farm. The main house cost $6000 to build, very expensive for the time, according to the first permit recorded in South Pasadena’s 1910 permit log. The Thompsons quickly became influential members of the South Pasadena community. He became a school board member and her salon gatherings were reported in the LA Times. They lived here for about 12 years before they moved to Canada, continually seeking adventure.
The next owners were the Halms. Unfortunately, Herbert Halm, who was in the dry cleaning business, lived here only one year before he died. He left his wife a vast fortune, but only if she stopped working after his death. The LA Times called it the first “no work will”. Emma Halm resided here for a few years alone. In 1925, the guest house was built at a cost of $2000.00
During the next 20 years, several subsequent owners purchased and sold the house. Some made changes, adding bathrooms, a sunroom and bedrooms. Cranston Burnett (a local butcher of considerable repute) purchased it in 1945. The property stayed in the Burnett family for 60 years. In 2006, it was purchased for restoration as a bed and breakfast by Pat Wright. After a year of remodel with every effort made to retain the period influences and historical integrity,The Arroyo Vista Inn opened as a bed and breakfast in August 2007.