“The Fleeta,” Arcadia’s first apartment complex, was built in 1935 by William F. Gettle. Mr. Gettle was a successful businessman who had controlled a chain of twenty-eight stores that had become absorbed in the J.C. Penny Company. In December, 1933, he and his family moved to Arcadia and purchased a five acre estate on Foothill Boulevard. After spending about $75,000 in improvements to the property, he threw a large house-warming party.
As the party came to a close, two armed men arrived, and at gun-point took Gettle and a friend hostage. The friend was tied to a tree and Gettle, a kidnaped victim, was taken away in a car. Just a week after his kidnapping, detectives found Gettle in La Crescenta, and arrested his kidnappers.
Less than two years after his kidnapping, Gettle spent $45,000 to construct an attractive twenty-five unit apartment building at Santa Anita and Bonita Street. He named the complex after Mrs. Gettle who died not long after his kidnapping experience. These were the outstanding apartments of the city for many years.
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Carol Libby and Karen Hou
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Carol Libby & Karen Hou