In Laurel Canyon, Atomic Age modern with wild history lists for $4.5M

By Pauline O’Connor

You can find a property with an interesting history on the market in Los Angeles pretty much any day of the week, but very few are as fascinating as that of Laurel Canyon’s Wohlstetter House.

The International Modern-style home was designed by architect Josef Van der Kar in 1953. The son of Dutch immigrants, Van der Kar was a card-carrying Communist whose political activism made him a target of the House Un-American Activities Committee. The architect’s closest friends included fellow “radical” architect Gregory Ain and union organizer Henry Shire.

But surprisingly, Van der Kar’s inner circle also included neoconservative heroes Albert and Roberta Wohlstetter, a husband-wife team of foreign policy and nuclear arms strategists. A national security advisor to every president from Eisenhower to Reagan, Albert Wohlstetter was one of the inspirations for Stanley Kubrick’s nutty warmonger Dr. Strangelove.

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