November/December 201 7 | ISSUE NUMBER 336
Do You Know These Houses?
(Or How the Holiday Tour Stole the Grinch)
Don Lynch remembers previous holiday tours.
WAHA's 31st Annual
Progressive Dinner Holiday Tour
The West Adams newsletter is a publication of West Adams Heritage Association. Members and supporters of WAHA are invited to submit articles by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org. Letters and articles will be subject to space restraints and may be cut for length. Articles will be published subject to the editors.
Advertising is subject to the approval of the publishers. Although WAHA appreciates its advertisers, the Association does not accept responsibility for claims made by advertisers. Services and products are not tested and the appearance of advertising does not imply, nor does it constitute, endorsement by the West Adams Heritage Association.
Rights to use photos are supplied by the author of the associated article.
Copyright 2017. All rights for graphic and written material appearing in the newsletter are reserved. Contact the publisher for permission to reprint.
Rev. Harold K. Smith
WAHA membership includes:
* 10 issues of the West Adams newsletter
* Invitations to all WAHA programs, parties, Evening Strolls,
and other activities, mostly free
* Discount on WAHA tours and advance notice of tours
* Membership Directory
* Special publications
* Membership card for discounts on services and products.
Join online at http://www.memberwaha.org/amember/signup/index
Save trees! Opt for digital delivery only
by emailing email@example.com
Become a member (or renew)
Join at any level:
• Individual/Household $50
• Student/Senior $25
• Preservation Circle $100
• Heritage Circle $250
• Patron Circle $500
• Benefactor $1000
To pay by check, send the following information (Name(s), Address, Phone, and email along with your level of choice) with your check to:
2263 S. Harvard Boulevard
Historic West Adams
Los Angeles, CA 90018
Do You Know This House? Response
Publisher & Editor
Layout & Design
Or How the Holiday Tour Stole the Grinch
Photos from previous tours: Don Lynch, Jeff Valdez, Reggie Jones
The West Adams Heritage Association has been putting on a Holiday Tour and Progressive Dinner for probably longer than I’ve owned some of my ties. Like the tour, some of them only get rolled out once a year, and noticeably so.
I was a WAHA member long before I moved to the neighborhood, and my earliest memories of the tour are as a money-spending, ticket-buying, food-eating supporter. I can’t recall if it was the first or second one I went on, but it was on Van Buren Place. I had bought two tickets and unfortunately my guest was unable to go at the last minute, so I went alone. I didn’t really know anyone, but I stared at the woodwork, ate the food, belched quietly (I hope) and in the end enjoyed the houses and the cuisine, if nothing else. One thing that stands out in my memory was the camaraderie among the volunteers. They lived in this neighborhood, and the atmosphere reflected how well they all knew one another, unlike so many other neighborhoods in Los Angeles. In particular was one tall gentleman who had apparently recently moved into his home and while he was trying to assist in serving the food others kept asking him about his house, etc. They seemed glad to have him here. I later got to know him by the name of John Kurtz, and since moving to West Adams we have become good friends.
Unless memory fails, the first time I was a volunteer at one of the tours was in Harvard Heights. I’d been asked to be a front door docent. Earlier that day I had been at Barnsdall Art Park in Hollywood where one of the “art pieces” was to give each person a single cotton glove with some phrase written on it. I wore mine all through the Holiday Tour, waving my one glove about like Michael Jackson, and for a long time afterward Natalie Neith would say that was the first time she was ever aware of me.
It also seems that I got to that house early and offered to help beforehand. I had brought my own apron, which had been given to me by a friend who had “borrowed” it from a supermarket chain named “Larry’s” in Seattle where he had worked. The kitchen captain never asked my name, but just called me “Larry” all evening long, thinking I had a personalized apron for some reason.
The homeowners had a third floor apartment and I was dispatched to such heights to begin boiling water on the tiny apartment-sized stove as there was to be a noodle dish. After an hour the water still had not started to boil and the first tour was soon to arrive. These are those little behind-the-scenes incidents that sometimes cause heart palpitations for volunteers, but in the end go unnoticed by the tour-goers.
Those were the days when the entrée was served the same as every other course, with people standing on their feet as they ate. That works fine for appetizers being served on trays, or soup in little cups or mugs, but one can’t eat off a dinner plate using a knife and fork, as well as hold their beverage, while standing. Something had to give. For many years each tour required that one house be large enough for tables to be brought in and a sit-down entrée served. In recent years having a main course house with a large tent in the back yard has been the method of choice. It has made it a lot easier for diners to give up eating with their fingers.
My volunteer duties have taken me from house to house, job to job over the years. One year I worked the kitchen of the Soup House with Audrey Arlington. Another time I was asked to be house captain for one night at the Durfee Mansion when it was the Entrée House. I spent most of the evening hauling wet umbrellas from the front door, where tour-goers had left them upon entering, to the back of the house, where they could retrieve them as they left. At one point a tour had arrived and everyone was sitting down in the dining room, and the kitchen staff had fallen slightly behind. There was no clean silverware at that moment. Obviously we weren’t going to reuse what we had just cleared from the table without washing it. Seriously, we weren’t. I’d never seen silverware scrubbed so quickly in my life.
Like all of us who have worked the tour for many years, I have stories of “glitches” that have occurred or incidents that have stuck in my memory. Lord knows I’ve shared those stories enough out loud that most don’t bear repeating here. Some have been frustrating, some funny, some sad. One example is the year our former president and beloved neighbor, Corinne Pleger, passed away suddenly just before the tour. She was to be a shepherd and I was asked to fill in and take her place. When I greeted my tour one lady immediately shot up her hand and said, “I have a question! How did you get this job?” I started to cry. I still tear up over that one.
Eventually I landed at the appetizer house as a front door docent, and there I remained for many years. I was assured that Jean Cade always ran a smooth ship and her team worked well together. It was THE house to work. What I didn’t realize was that by this time we had a number of people who were consistently house captains or kitchen captains, and who had a “posse” that were supportive and organized. But I worked for Jean at the front door, each year hauling my “Grinch” tie out from the back of my closet to where regular attendees were always happy to see it, if not me.
Last year, when the tour was in my own neighborhood of Western Heights I had to abandon Jean as I was helping John Patterson and Jeff Valdez, the organizers of the event. I felt I should be available in case I was needed. I was never badly needed. It ran well. This year John and Jeff are unavailable and a new committee has been formed. I don’t remember how I was placed at the head. Maybe liquor was involved. Clearly the ladies on the committee were somehow too persuasive. But here I am, waiting for the buck to stop.
Not for my own sake, but for that of our readers, I urge everyone to either take the tour, or volunteer. It’s a highlight of every holiday season. This year it takes place on “The Avenues,” just above Adams Boulevard and west of Arlington. We have homes which have not been on tour before. If you don’t want to partake of the Progressive Dinner, there is always the self-guided walking tour on Sunday at a lower price. But, and this is significant, if you volunteer you get to take the walking tour for free. Sweet.
Check out the tour details on our website, westadamsheritage.org, to learn even more about how you can buy tickets, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org to offer to help and build your own cache of delightful memories.
Holidays Past (continued)
Don Lynch is the head of this year's Holiday Tour Committee. The Grinch does not attend committee meetings.
From appetizers in a vintage house that sparkles with holiday decorations (and equally sparkling wine!) through dessert in a sweet historic home, what could a history buff want except soup, salad and a delicious main course in fascinating places in between? Join us for West Adams Heritage Association’s 31st annual Holiday Tour, showcasing the best of food and vintage abodes. More details can be found at westadamsheritage.org.
In Memoriam: Rev. Harold K. Smith (1929-2017)
Harold was a great asset to WAHA and Harvard Heights. He would always jump in to help and he had a great smile.
Back in the 80's I was tour chairman for the WAHA/Harvard Heights tour, he was an enormous help in organizing the neighbors. Very enthusiastic about the neighborhood and always was there to help.
Huell Howser and I did a segment right after the 1994 riots and I asked Harold to walk and talk about the area. We walked all over Harvard Heights for 8 hours while Huell talked to neighbors and filmed. Harold and my husband Donald were 2 of the longest residents in Harvard Heights that I know of. Donald lived here 81 years.
Harold will be missed.
Longtime WAHA Board member and supporter Harold K. Smith passed away on September 28, some 30 months after suffering a major stroke.
Throughout his life, Harold surrounded himself with music, with friends, and with his church. Baptized at age eight in Louisville, KY at the Little Flock Missionary Baptist Church, Harold in the 1960s joined the Triangular Church of Religious Science in Los Angeles and was ordained in that faith. He had a special passion for music, from church choirs to solos, and even sang for the Pope at the Vatican in 1999.
Harold was involved in many community activities and especially charities that work with the less fortunate; he fed the homeless on numerous occasions and donated to the Special Olympics, St. Jude’s, the Indian Children’s Fund, and Disabled Veterans, among other organizations.
He joined WAHA nearly 35 years ago, at the organization’s inception, and previously served as Vice President. Harold helped plan WAHA events as a board member, was a docent on numerous WAHA home tours, and opened his own beautiful Harvard Heights home’s doors for a Holiday Tour and several WAHA 4th of July celebrations. Many of you saw his friendly face as he greeted you at WAHA’s hospitality table at too many events to count. Harold will be missed!
Photos courtesy of Steve Wallis and SeElcy Caldwell
We are honored to have been the only wedding ceremony Harold officiated. He was so nervous! He became so flustered that he skipped through 2/3 of the vows - Eileen and I looked at each other and thought, "I guess we're married!" He was a total doll.
The pictures in the October 2017 issue has a row of Canary Island Palm trees which would have been about that size around 1905 -1925 The streets that I have seen this type of Palm are near Adams Blvd.
Would need more on site research to try and locate the houses pictured.
Do you know these houses? Response
Do you know these houses?
Fred and Lena sent their holiday greetings in December of 1914 using this postcard. It is postmarked Los Angeles, and in the corner they have written “our front lawns.” Does anyone recognize this row of houses, with its typically Arts and Crafts front porches? Are they in West Adams? If you recognize them, please let us know at email@example.com so that we can update our archives.
Born in Missouri in December of 1861, Frank Hicks migrated to Los Angeles in 1886 where he pioneered in the insurance industry. In 1891 he formed a partnership with his father-in-law, Ozro Childs, and
J. W. Montgomery to create the firm of Childs, Hicks and Montgomery.
It did not take Hicks long to prosper, and on May 27, 1904 the Los Angeles Herald announced that a building permit had been issued to him for a two-story, twelve-room residence to be built at 832 West Adams at a cost of $15,000. The architects were Hudson and Munsell, and the contractor was to be P. A. Mulford.
Twenty years later an auction advertisement in the Los Angeles Times described the house in great detail. “Entrance from full tiled and canopied front porch through massive hand-chiseled doorway into lower Reception Hall, which leads directly into Drawing Room, Living Room and Dining Room. The lower Reception Hall of Baronial motif is 12’ X 20’ and is finished in Russian Oak; the magnificent Drawing Room 15’ X 45’ is finished in San Domingo Mahogany with walls done in duo-tone Damascene covering; massive 10’ Tile Console Fireplace; 12 windows, two of which are of leaded art glass; built-in Library Cases; Music Alcove; the unique Living Room, 14’ X 16’, is of Teak finish interior; massive Onyx and Tile, Mirrored Top Console Fireplace; walls done in Damascene covering; the exceptionally beautiful Dining Room, 16’ X 24’, is finished in Russian Oak of 7’ paneling above which is Damascene covering; 2 leaded art glass alcoves; massive built-in Buffet and Silver Closet; entrance onto front porch through double doors; Butler’s pantry with every wanted built-in feature; exceptionally large Kitchen, 15’ X 20’; 2 Maids’ rooms; enclosed rear porch; bath; lavatory, etc.”
Whether or not it was original to the home, the decorator’s love for a Damask wallpaper continued on the upper floor. The Times continued, “Approach to second floor is by a magnificent winding stairway and balustrade of carved Russian Oak; leading into upper Reception Hall from which may be entered any of the five beautiful bedrooms. MASTER BEDROOM, 18’ X 24’, (leading onto upper front porch), interior of Old Ivory, walls done in Damascene covering; Console Tiled Fireplace and ample windows; 10’ X 12’ dressing room with mirrored closets and 10' X 15’ Tiled Bath and Shower; BOUDOIR, 12’ X 18’, with side alcove; Tiled Console Fireplace; Old Ivory finish; walls in Damascene covering; Tiled Bath; FIRST GUEST ROOM, 16’ X 20’ of similar interior; Tiled Console Fireplace and Tiled Bath; SECOND GUEST ROOM, 16’ X 18’ with connecting bath, and THIRD GUEST ROOM, 16’ X 24’ (Leading onto upper rear porch) with full Dressing Room; Tiled Console Fireplace; Tile and Porcelain Bath; Linen Closets and Clothes Chest.”
The advertisement went on to describe the home’s inter-room telephone system; dumbwaiter; full basement with laundry and storage rooms; 27’ X 50’ ballroom on the third floor, along with two more maids’ rooms and bath; and a two-story garage with a two-room and bath chauffeur’s quarters. The garage had actually been built in 1915, having been designed by the prestigious architectural duo of Sumner Hunt and Silas Burns.
The lot, at the corner of Severance and Adams, was
75’ X 260’, and described as “away from the noise of the ‘busy city’.” That description would be challenged a few years later.
By the end of January, 1905, the house was completed, and Frank and Carrie Hicks were entertaining a relative from up north. In 1911, however, they journeyed to the more fashionable Washington, D.C. to enter their daughter into society, leaving it to Mrs. Hicks’ sister, the wife of New York Congressman John W. Dwight, to arrange the young woman’s debut. It was while in Washington that Elizabeth Hicks met Lieutenant Frank Gross of the United States Navy. Late in November the Hicks gave a ball for their daughter at the Alexandria Hotel in Los Angeles, and in July of 1912 her engagement to Lt. Gross was announced.
When America entered The Great War Frank Hicks became chairman of the local draft board. It was while working in this capacity that he passed away suddenly in September of 1918. The honorary pallbearers for his funeral at nearby St. Vincent’s read like a Who’s Who, with such names as George Patton, James Slauson, Hancock Banning, John Gaffey, Boyle Workman and many others.
Mrs. Hicks remained in the house, raising her younger daughter. In 1923 Alice Hicks made her debut at the Los Angeles Country Club, where her late father had been secretary at the time of his death. She would later marry Clyde Russell Burr, and both she and her sister would take up residence on nearby Chester Place.
In July of 1925 Carrie Hicks put the house up for auction, resulting in the detailed description quoted above being included in a large display advertisement in the Times. The H. P. Ball and Company, in charge of the auction, stated that, “We do not believe, that in the history of Southern California, has so wonderful a property ever been offered at PUBLIC AUCTION…” It also stated that the owner, for whom the house was built, was leaving Los Angeles permanently. This may have been a bit of a stretch as in the 1930 census Mrs. Hicks is living in Hancock Park.
The following year 832 West Adams was owned by a Susan Watkins, who operated it as a rooming house. That year she pulled a permit to add a fire escape from the third floor. The following year a new owner, Frank Oswald, made additional improvements for fire safety, including exit signs.
By 1929 Frank Oswald was leasing the house to the Kappa Alpha fraternity. On November 1, 1929, as the fraternity brothers were eating lunch on the first floor, smoke was smelled coming from the third. The house was on fire. At least 45 young men were in the structure at the time, and many began trying to save their furnishings and personal belongings. Frank Wykoff, a champion sprinter, became trapped by the flames on the third floor and, after hurling a piece of furniture through a window, leapt to the roof of the veranda below, only slightly injuring an ankle.
The flames engulfed the upper part of the house, and also spread to 818 West Adams next door, catching that home’s roof on fire. The damage to the third floor was so extensive that in making repairs Frank Oswald completely refigured the gables. Duncan Maginnis, who writes a blog and maintains a website about historic Los Angeles, which includes a section on West Adams, has stated that the repairs reconfigured the roof, “eliminating the original double-peaked gable toward the east side and a larger gable at the northwest corner.” The photograph accompanying this article shows the home as it appeared at some point after the repairs were completed.
The 1930 city directory has a number of young women living at the house, so apparently the Kappa Alpha boys had not immediately returned and it was now used as a rooming house for ladies. But by 1932 the fraternity had returned. That year Frank Oswald added a bay window. The house sustained some chimney damage in the 1933 earthquake but did not suffer seriously. The Kappa Alpha boys continued to lease the house through the rest of the 1930s. By 1940 there was apparently so much noise from the fraternity that neighbors complained, but in January of that year the City Council instructed one of the City Attorneys to prepare an ordinance to permit the building to continue as a fraternity house.
Ultimately the Kappa Alpha fraternity did leave the property, and by the 1960s it was owned by the neighboring John Tracy Clinic. In 1964 a demolition permit was taken out, and the property leveled. Today it is part of the grounds of the clinic.
Don Lynch is a co-author of "West Adams".
HPOZs, Preserving Neighborhoods, and Achieving Compatible Development
Jean Frost is the current Preservation Committee Chair. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Los Angeles City Planning Department’s Office of Historic Resources hosted its annual gathering for HPOZ appointed Board members and staff on Monday, October 30, instead of an all day weekend event. This year we were invited to the Wilshire Boulevard Temple. How fitting it was to join together in a sanctified historic setting as the holidays approach.
The evening was designed along two tracks: one track, for newer Board members (HPOZ 101) and one for those more seasoned (HPOZ 201) with two sessions for each track:
HPOZ 101, Session 1: Learn the basics of Historic Preservation Overlay Zones and review processes, how to use ZIMAS, interpret design guidelines, view case history, and report code enforcement;
Session 2: Los Angeles Architecture, Reading Plans and Building Elements: discover the architectural styles of Los Angeles and learn how to identify elements of different styles and read them on plans;
HPOZ 201: Session 1, Review the basics, an advanced session on how to use Design Guidelines to address compatibility, differentiation, and appropriateness; and information on planning processes;
Session 2: Neighborhood Outreach, outreach strategies and materials, how to connect with your neighborhood, using the tools and materials of the Friends of Jefferson Park.
One major Conference topic was infill development and “what is compatibility.” Compatibility is one of the serious issues HPOZ Boards encounter as they review proposed infill projects. Incompatible infill development can destroy a sense of place and community. Staff assembled some interesting examples for our analysis. An HPOZ provides the security that new construction will be compatible through the application of the requirements of the adopted Preservation Plan. Those of us who are in HPOZs have some control over what is built in our historic districts.
However National or California Register Historic Districts have few protections other than those provided in the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), and with City Planning’s overarching use of Categorical Exemptions, we lose even that protection. WAHA is also concerned about other historic neighborhoods that have no current design overlay.
West Adams is experiencing a major building boom. Historic areas that are not designated as HPOZs are under severe threat from incompatible development. The “Six Orphan Blocks” (the area bounded by the centerline of 24th Street on the north, Adams Boulevard on the south, Hoover Street on the east and Vermont on the west) are compatible in context and built form to the properties within the University Park HPOZ and should be included in the Zone. They were not included in the Zone because, at its adoption in 2000, the lines were drawn in consideration of the (then) existing Council Districts. In spite of repeated requests and a motion by Councilperson Marqueece Harris-Dawson, these blocks continue to be in limbo. They presently offer some jarring examples of recent new developments that are incompatible.
WAHA and others have offered financial support to the Planning Department to underwrite the historic preservation consultant survey costs to include these blocks within the University Park HPOZ and still have not made any progress. The response from the understaffed and overworked Planning Department was that, in addition to paying for a consultant, planning had the expectation that we should pay for staff time to process the survey. We would be ready to subsidize the cost of a consultant approved by planning but have a reasonable expectation and belief that staff time is part of the responsibility of government.
When the “Six Orphan Blocks” were in a Redevelopment Area (Adams-Normandie 4321), the advisory group known as the Project Area Committee (PAC), an elected body of neighborhood representatives, reviewed every project permit. The fact that we were in a Redevelopment Area identified our neighborhood as “blighted” and offered economic tools for enhancement. We supported preservation and conservation of our neighborhoods that were so underserved and undervalued. The “Six Orphan Blocks” used to be protected by CRA Design Guidelines which were created with public funding over a two year period and adopted in 1991 with wide community participation. That oversight was lost (and thirty years of progress) with the end of the CRA project in 2000. Planning promised the Design Guidelines for Adams-Normandie 4321 would be incorporated in the South Community Plan when it was revised but that did not happen.
Much of the HPOZ conference was a reminder of the tools we use as guides (the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and the specific Preservation Plan) rather than particularly instructive. It was gratifying to see the many Board appointees who serve as volunteers, without any payment or budget, because they are committed to the preservation of their neighborhoods. The HPOZ experience is grounded in neighborhood origins rather than “top down” planning decision making. It truly represents grass roots activism and the HPOZ Ordinance was brilliantly created to have its power engrained in the neighborhood it serves.
While we gathered together for the conference, the chosen venue could not have been more inspiring. The Wilshire Boulevard Temple is an exquisitely restored site. As one walks into the sanctuary, the power of place was humbling and stimulating. Built in 1928, (known from 1862 to 1933 as Congregation B'nai B'rith,) it is the oldest Jewish congregation in Los Angeles.
At the same time we studied HPOZ practices, many elements of our neighborhood character are being chipped away. Where there was once a surveyed-as-historic Victorian cottage at 1208 West 25th Street, we now have an incompatible hulk of a building. A developer is proposing to demolish eight out of eighteen buildings in the designated Flower Drive California Register District. There is much conservation and preservation work to be done to further WAHA’s mission, in addition to the efforts within WAHA’s eleven HPOZ designated zones.
The demolished residence at 1208 W. 25th Street.
Photo courtesy of SurveyLA
New construction on the “Six Orphan Blocks” at 1208 W. 25th Street dwarfs its Victorian neighbor. Photo: Jean Frost
Don't it always seem to go
That you don't know what you've got ‘til it’s gone
They paved paradise
And put up a parking lot
Why bother to successfully designate a California Register Historic District if the City and a developer can ignore the designation and propose to demolish nearly half of it?
That’s the question WAHA and other historic preservation organizations are pondering, now that the City of Los Angeles and a developer have issued a “DEIR” (Draft Environmental Impact Report) for The Fig Project, a proposed hotel/housing/retail/parking structure development across from Exposition Park that would destroy the entire southerly portion of the designated Flower Drive District.
Read it here: https://planning.lacity.org/eir/
In reviewing the DEIR, which was released on October 12, WAHA was stunned to learn that City officials are apparently not only supporting a project that proposes the demolition of seven historic buildings that together comprise 37% of the designated Flower Drive California Register Historic District, but staff has now also imposed conditions that would virtually require its demolition.
You read that correctly: The Fig Project, on the 3900 block of Figueroa Street and backing up to Flower Drive, would remove almost half of the entire district, and recent decisions by City Planning staff to oppose the construction of taller buildings make the possibility of saving the historic district even more remote.
The Flower Drive Historic District, which comprises two blocks of Mediterranean style multi-family dwellings constructed between 1920 and 1927 that are highly consistent in size, massing, orientation, building type, and architectural style, was determined eligible for the California Register not once but twice by the State Historic Resources Commission (at meetings on July 25, 2008, and November 7, 2008.) Technically, the Commission’s vote means Flower Drive has a “designation of formally determined eligible for listing in the California Register,” according to the State Office of Historic Preservation (SHPO). The District as a whole and its individual buildings should be considered protected historic resources.
Earlier this year, WAHA along with the Los Angeles Conservancy and several historic consultants, met with the development team and the architectural design, planning and preservation consulting firm Page & Turnbull in an attempt to create a “Preservation Alternative” (land use speak: Under the California Environmental Quality Act, most EIRs require that applicants evaluate more than one alternative, basically a range that includes preservation as one choice) that would have accomplished the developer’s stated goals (hotel, student housing, market rate housing and lively retail/commercial) while also saving the Flower Drive Historic District.
Page & Turnbull’s design concept offered two taller tower buildings and underground parking, rather than the current project’s proposed four buildings that range up to seven stories high. The housing elements were stacked together in one of the two towers; the second tower was the hotel/retail complex. By pushing more square footage into the air, the Flower Drive District could continue to occupy its portion of the site, with the use either staying as affordable housing or becoming a new live/work and/or unique mixed use housing/retail component of the project.
These discussions were lively and not at all antagonistic, but in the end this alternative has been rejected in the current DEIR. And that’s unfortunate. The Page & Turnbull design could preserve Flower Drive while allowing for the development goals of the project if the alternative was evaluated in honest, fact-based terms.
Meanwhile, the official comment period for the DEIR ends at 4 p.m. on November 27, 2017. WAHA asks that you please write a letter of comment to Milena Zasadzien (full contact information below). Along with our opposition to the demolition of the Flower Drive Historic District (not that that is a small matter!), there are many (MANY) problems with the DEIR, too many to list here. But here is a sampling:
The project description references the “removal” of eight multi-family buildings but fails to mention that seven of them are designated historic structures – why wouldn’t staff want the public to know this?
Staff is refusing to allow this DEIR and project to be placed on the Cultural Heritage Commission’s agenda for discussion and potential comment by the Commission (the Commissioners are not allowed to comment without it being on an agenda, and thus Brown Act compliant).
A seven-story parking structure would replace most of the demolished historic buildings, even though it is now City policy (supported by an ordinance) to not allow above-ground parking structures and instead promote underground parking
Project proponents (laughably) claim that this project would “preserve community character, scale and architectural diversity” despite the demolition of the community’s designated historic character buildings simply because the tall buildings would be constructed against the freeway and the new development “would result in a more cohesive and vibrant street environment” facing Figueroa – which may be a laudable result but could be achieved without the demolition of the character buildings on Flower Drive.
The Project is NOT COMPLIANT with the Southeast Los Angeles Community Plan, which has a stated goal: “A community which preserves and restores the monuments, cultural resources, neighborhoods, and landmarks which have historical and/or cultural significance.” It also states: “The historic resources are a valuable asset to this Community. They offer significant opportunities for developing neighborhood identity and pride within the Community. It is important to retain the currently available inventory of such buildings.”
In conclusion, the Flower Drive District is a historic asset that should be viewed as an opportunity rather than an obstacle.
It is unfortunate that so much time has been committed to a project that the developer has embraced absent of any consideration of the neighborhood context. The tower design obviously allows for a more sensitive treatment of the District but the developers – prodded by City Planning staff – have now decided to flatten out their design making it impossible to preserve the District, a constriction that is self-imposed and arbitrary. They need to rectify that lack of vision and help develop an environmentally superior alternative.
It is not only imperative to retain the entire Flower Drive Historic District, it is also feasible if everyone thinks “outside the box” and considers a different site plan that incorporates these structures.
It is outrageous that a project that destroys historic resources should be moving forward and that this DEIR makes an attempt to justify this action. If this Historic District can be attacked, no historic district whether it be Nation, Local, HPOZ or Specific plan is safe. If the City thinks it’s okay to destroy one historic district, what would stop it from next proposing the demolition of the district you live in or near? Please express your own dissatisfaction to our local officials and make comment on the draft EIR.
Please direct your comments to:
Los Angeles Department of City Planning
200 North Spring Street, Room 750
Los Angeles, CA 90012-3243
Via E-mail: email@example.com
Photos: Pete Moruzzi and Jim Childs.
-Laura Meyers and Jean Frost
Bye Bye, Flower Drive?
Photos from the Draft EIR.
Costumed guests tiptoed past a dimly lit graveyard, then paused briefly by a hearse showing vintage horror films before summoning the courage to creep across an eerie orange-lit porch to WAHA’s Halloween party at the home of Robin Evangelista and Dieter Obeji. Many thanks to Robin and Dieter, as well as Suzie Henderson, for a spooky good evening.
Photos: Suzanne and Frank Cooper
Kaidan Rehearsal - Tracking
Photos: John Kurtz
As a new season begins of programs, fellowships and activities at the Clark Library and Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies, we are excited to welcome you all back to the Clark very soon! Some limited concerts and activities are taking place currently in the library as the earthquake retrofit, the construction of a new entrance to the lower level and the interior restoration projects come to completion. The staff look forward to celebrating the completion of all renovation and refurbishment projects and the reopening of the beautiful library with the community at large, so please save the date in your calendars:
Sunday, January 21, 2018 – Clark Library Grand Opening Celebration
This large event will be open to the general public and will offer tours of the newly built and refurbished spaces. If you have never seen the Clark Library this is your chance to view the excellent restoration and see some of the collection the library possesses. More details will be available in the coming newsletters as the planning of the afternoon event is completed.
Clark Library to officially reopen
The last few weeks I have been meeting some new people in the WAHA community. Many of them younger than I (no surprise), most of them bounding with youthful energy, and all of them excited about living in our community. Not all of them will become WAHA members but we need to keep them in the loop and partner with them and whatever neighborhood organizations they might join or themselves might form in the future.
My newest neighbor, four doors down on Westmoreland Blvd, hasn’t moved in with his wife and child yet, but comes with massive amounts of enthusiasm to complete the restoration of his new home. He said that his interest was piqued by seeing the homes on our June Tour in Westmoreland Heights. He is one of many persons who tells a similar story when asked why they decided to move here. We spent hours together dissecting the changes made over time to his home and what might have been there originally. Later he went through my garages searching for potential replacements for missing doors, windows, hardware and light fixtures. He also is interested in getting more involved in community organizations as he settles in next year.
Tomorrow night I am going to a meeting at the Hoover Recreation Center in the University Park neighborhood put together by a longtime resident of the community who both lives and works a few blocks apart from the “donut hole” [that area between Vermont and Hoover, Adams to 24th Street] She and some other neighbors have become increasingly alarmed by the demolitions of the historic houses taking place in these unprotected six blocks. They have organized to form a group to pressure District 8 to take some action against the ongoing destruction of their neighborhood.
There are many people who are, or want to be, advocates for their homes and their neighborhood. Some may not join WAHA but they do share our values. I think it would benefit all of us more often to reach out to each other and form coalitions around common interests. We need to use our communication resources to share what we are doing with others and in turn hear what others are doing in our greater West Adams community.
I am very sorry to tell you that we just received word that former WAHA president Jacqueline Hill passed away on November 9. Please look in the next newsletter for a remembrance of our longtime friend and neighbor.
Roland Souza can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Los Angeles Times recently published a story about the problems with airplane traffic over West Adams.
Click here to read the story.
KCRW included West Adams in a podcast about house flippers. Click here to listen.
WAHA in the News
Lore Hilburg and Reggie Jones
Craig Bartelt & Nick Mercado
City Living Realty/David Raposa & Ed Trosper
Hilary & A.J. Lentini
Ivy Pochoda & Justin Nowell
Edy & George Alva
John H. Arnold & Curt Bouton
Barbara Bestor & Tom Stern
David Bottjer & Sarah Bottjer
Winston Cenac & Alishia Brown
Lisa Ellzey & Jeff (Ulrik) Theer
Friends of Hazy Moon Zen Center
Amanda & Tomas Jegeus
Marina Moevs & Steven Peckman
Jim & Janice Robinson
Board of Directors
Roland Souza, President 323-804-6070
Suzanne Henderson 323-731-3900
Laura Meyers 323-868-0854
Jean Cade, Treasurer 323-737-5034
Paula Brynen, Secretary 323-936-7285
SeElcy Caldwell 323-292-8566
Jim Childs 213-747-2526
Kim Calvert 310-633-4117
Lore Hilburg 323-934-4443
Lisa Raymond 323-241-9657
Jeff Theer 323-964-9999
Candy Wynne 323-735-3749
John Kurtz 323-481-1753
Legal Advisor 323-732-9536
Diana & Dan Butcher
Mel Hampton, Sr
Elizabeth & Daniel Schwan
To have your classified ad placed in this newsletter, please send your proposed ad to email@example.com no later than the first of the month prior to the month of publication of the ad..
Harry Anderson & Terry Bible
Jeffrey & Patricia Baum
Paula & Paul Brynen
James Cain & Thomas Teves
Clare & Michael Chu
Rory Cunningham & David Pacheco
Art Curtis & Shelley Adler
Suzanne Dickson &
Tricia Dillon & Katherine Villarreal
Andrea Dunlop & Max Miceli
Sarah and Charles Evans
Elizabeth Fenner & Brian Robinson
Jean Frost & Jim Childs
Donald & Suzanne Henderson
Kim-Lai Jones & Jason Corsey
Patricia Karasick &
Kevin Keller & Marc Choueiti
Paul King & Paul Nielsen
Adrienne & Blake Kuhre
Daniel Lockwood & Barrett Crake
Los Angeles Conservancy,
Cassandra Malry & Thom Washington
Joseph McManus & Lara Elin Soderstrom
JoAnn Meepos & Steven Edwards
Vern Menden & Paulo Ribeiro
Gail D. Peterson
Mary Power & Librada Hernandez
Judy Reidel & Al Hamburger
Walter Rivers, Jr.
Donna & Mark Robertson, Sr.
Amy Ronnebeck & Alan Hall
Debbie & Stan Sanders
Yale Scott & Bobby Pourziaee
Mary Shaifer & Chris Murphy
Chris Taylor & Ansley Bell
Stephen Vincent & Jessica McCullagh
Ned Wilson & Carrie Yutzy
Transitioning from Paper to Digital
As you know, one of our major goals this calendar year is to transition the WAHA Newsletter from the printed document you’ve received in the mail to one you are able to read online. By now, most if not all of you have had a chance to review the digital version of the newsletter. This digital format is now the primary newsletter version and will be the source material for the printed version AND it includes FULL-COLOR photographs and many bonus features that the printed version will not have. The bonus content in the digital version includes:
The ability to link directly to other online content such as photographs, articles and websites for more content, including the WAHA website.
Click and enlarge FULL COLOR photographs for easy viewing or to see additional photographic content.
Download the newsletter to any device and take it with you wherever you go.
Allows printing of multiple copies of specific articles or the whole newsletter if you desire in FULL COLOR.
An interactive document that will allow members to participate and share information, events and resources.
This new digital format is much less expensive to produce and deliver to WAHA to members, both from a financial and manpower perspective. Every print copy of the newsletter costs roughly $1.70 to produce and about $1.50 to mail. Sending the newsletter in digital format saves the organization between $1,000 to $1,500 each month or approximately $13,000 per year. In terms of the total budget for the organization, printing the newsletter consumes approximately 70% or more of most members’ annual dues.
In addition to the financial cost, a considerable amount of volunteer labor and time are required to prepare, label, seal, stamp and mail each newsletter to members. The financial and man-hour savings by not printing the newsletter can be reinvested in preservation efforts, additional web site improvements, tours or events.
The Communications Committee is now consistently producing and sending the newsletter electronically to every member with an email address. If for some reason you’re not receiving the electronic format (Do we have your current correct email address?) or if you’d like to only receive the digital edition and opt out of receiving the paper edition, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. As a reminder, you will receive the electronic format through a download email.
WAHA (and Friends) Calendar
On the Avenues
WAHA's Holiday Progressive Dinner Tour
Saturday, December 2, 2017
Sunday, December 3, 2017
From appetizers in a vintage house that sparkles with holiday decorations (and equally sparkling wine!) through dessert in a sweet historic home, what could a history buff want except soup, salad and a delicious main course in fascinating places in between? Join us for West Adams Heritage Association’s 31st annual Holiday Tour, showcasing the best of food and vintage abodes. More details can be found at westadamsheritage.org.
Cocktails in Historic Places
at the Biltmore
Friday, December 1, 2017
506 S Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90071
Ojima Ceramic Studio Sale
Saturday, December 2, 2017 10:00-3:00
Sunday, December 3, 2017 10:00-3:00
2143 W. 21st Street