July/August 2018| ISSUE NUMBER 339
Garden Tour Thank Yous
Living History Tour
Rest in Peace, Mr. Mayor:
On the cover: Jean Jacques Russo portraying Marchesseault at the 2004 Living History Tour.
Photo: Suzanne Cooper
Carte de visite courtesy of the
Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum
Good news on two historic buildings.
The West Adams newsletter is a publication of West Adams Heritage Association. Members and supporters of WAHA are invited to submit articles by contacting email@example.com. Letters and articles will be subject to space restraints and may be cut for length. Articles will be published subject to the editors.
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Copyright 2018. All rights for graphic and written material appearing in the newsletter are reserved. Contact the publisher for permission to reprint.
John W. Mack
WAHA's 4th of july
A barbecue and potluck at the gracious home of Jean Cade.
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and other activities, mostly free
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Rest in Peace, Mr. Mayor: Damien Marchesseault
Publisher & Editor
Layout & Design
Ice Cream Social
Damien Marchesseault carte de visite courtesy of the
Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum
Los Angeles is a city of immigrants, and so it is not a surprise that it has had three French mayors. Damien Marchesseault was the first.
(I hope you've all stocked up on tissues. Not every story gets to have a happy ending.)
Damien Marchesseault was born in 1818 in Saint-Antoine-sur-Richelieu, Quebec. In 1845, he left for New Orleans and became a riverboat gambler. (I should note that gambling professionally was considered socially acceptable at the time, not stigmatized as it sometimes is today.)
In 1850, Marchesseault left New Orleans for California, settling in Los Angeles. He soon partnered with another French Canadian, Victor Beaudry (whose brother, Prudent Beaudry, would also become mayor), in the ice business. In those days before refrigeration, ice had to be harvested and transported to cities to keep food from spoiling and keep drinks cold. Beaudry and Marchesseault built an ice house and operated a mule train to bring ice from the San Bernardino Mountains to Los Angeles and beyond (their customers included saloons in faraway San Francisco). Ice House Canyon, located between Mount Baldy and Mount San Antonio, is named for their ice house. In 1858, he again partnered with Beaudry, this time in the Santa Anita Mining Company.
Marchesseault also owned a saloon - and kept up his gambling skills. He became a popular local figure and was asked to run for Mayor. Which he did, winning the election and serving a one-year term in 1859-1860. (Mayors of Los Angeles served one-year terms at the time, but could serve an unlimited number of terms.)
Before long, Marchesseault's mettle was tested by disaster. The winter of 1859-1860 brought the worst rains and flooding Los Angeles had seen in many years, and the Los Angeles River shifted its bed by a quarter mile. Much of the original pueblo was destroyed.
Undaunted, Marchesseault put his considerable energy to work helping to rebuild his adopted city, including the all-important Plaza Church.
Marchesseault was elected again in 1861, serving four consecutive terms afterwards. This was a very trying time for Los Angeles - the Civil War was raging back East, the economic effects of war were felt strongly in California, a deadly measles outbreak killed a number of Angelenos, another flood destroyed the primitive water system (again), and Southern California suffered a drought so severe that farmers let their fields go fallow and ranchers had no choice but to cull many of their cattle.
Through it all, Marchesseault was applauded by Los Angeles residents for his capable management of the city. Under his guidance, the Wilmington Drum Barracks were established (just in case...), new brick buildings went up, the first Chinese market opened, the city's first public mural was commissioned from Henri Penelon, gas streetlights and telegraph wires were installed, and the Mayor himself helped organize LA's first municipal gas company (remember, this was before home electricity).
In 1863, Marchesseault met Mary Clark Gorton Goodhue, who came to California from Rhode Island and had been widowed twice. She was a talented musician and spoke several languages. The Mayor and the sophisticated widow married in San Francisco in October of that year.
The onslaught of droughts, flooding, and more droughts inspired Marchesseault to seek better water management for Los Angeles. At the end of his 1865 term, he was appointed Water Overseer, a more important (and higher-paying) job than Mayor in parched Los Angeles, and served for one year.
Marchesseault temporarily served as Mayor for four months in 1867 and returned to his duties as Water Overseer before being elected Mayor again. He pushed on with improvements in the water system, awarding a contract to a business partner, engineer Jean-Louis Sainsevain. Sainsevain had been awarded the contract previously, in 1863, but gave up due to extreme difficulty and excessive costs.
Sainsevain and Marchesseault installed pipes made from hollowed-out logs, which had a frustrating tendency to leak or burst. By the middle of summer, stories about their water system turning the streets into muddy sinkholes were becoming all too common. Meanwhile, the fact that Sainsevain was Marchesseault's business partner did not escape notice, drawing accusations of corruption.
The Mayor was under a great strain. His administration was being harshly criticized, he had lost large amounts of money on bad investments and his partnership with Sainsevain, he had borrowed money from everyone he knew, and he was unable to repay his debts. The fact that the stress caused him to drink heavily and gamble more than ever didn't help. Mary offered to get a teaching job, but Marchesseault wouldn't hear of it.
Early in the morning of January 20, 1868, the deeply distressed Mayor entered an empty City Council chamber at City Hall. He wrote a letter to his beloved Mary:
My Dear Mary -
By my drinking to excess, and gambling also, I have involved myself to the amount of about three thousand dollars which I have borrowed from time to time from friends and acquaintances, under the promise to return the same the following day, which I have often failed to do. To such an extent have I gone in this way that I am now ashamed to meet my fellow man on the street; besides that, I have deeply wronged you as a husband, by spending my money instead of maintaining you as it becomes a husband to do. Though you have never complained of my miserable conduct, you nevertheless have suffered too much. I therefore, to save you further disgrace and trouble, being that I cannot maintain you respectably, I shall end this state of thing this very morning. Of course, in all this, there is no blame
attached - contrary you have asked me to permit you to earn money honestly by teaching and I refused. You have always been true to me. If I write these few lines, it is to set you right before this wicked world, to keep slander from blaming you in way manner whatsoever. Now, my dear beloved, I hope that you will pardon me, and also Mr. Sainsevain. It is time to part, God bless you, and may you be happy yet.
The progressive six-term Mayor then shot himself in the head with a revolver. The next day, his suicide note appeared in the Los Angeles Semi-Weekly News and the funeral was held at his home. The Semi-Weekly News reported that the bullet entered the Mayor's skull next to his nose and lodged in his brain. Which is a polite way
of saying he shot himself in the face (think about it...)
Damien Marchesseault was buried in the Los Angeles City Cemetery (I surmise he was ineligible for burial at Calvary Catholic Cemetery due to his suicide). Mary remarried after his death (to Italian-born Eduardo Teodoli, who published Spanish-language newspaper La Cronica), but was later buried in the City Cemetery along with Marchesseault and her son from her first marriage when she passed away in 1878.
When the old City Cemetery was taken over by the city and turned into (what else...) a Los Angeles Board of Education parking lot, surviving family members moved Mary, Marchesseault and Mary’s son C. W. Gorton to Angelus Rosedale Cemetery.
Although Marchesseault and Sainsevain were ultimately unsuccessful in their struggle to bring reliable water service to the city of Los Angeles, their successors prevailed. A few months after Marchesseault's death, Sainsevain transferred the contract to Prudent Beaudry, Solomon Lazard, and Dr. John S. Griffin. They founded the Los Angeles City Water Company, which was fittingly located at the corner of Alameda and Marchesseault Streets.
Good luck finding Marchesseault Street on a map today - it became East Sunset Boulevard, then Paseo de la Plaza. However, LA Metro plans to demarcate the former location of Marchesseault Street with contrasting pavers in a future renovation to Union Station’s forecourt and esplanade.
There is a memorial plaque to the forgotten Marchesseault in the sidewalk outside the Mexican Consulate and Hispanic Cultural Center. The details of his service to the city are, I'm sorry to say, not listed correctly on the plaque.
Some historians credit Marchesseault's leadership with turning the Pueblo into the City of Los Angeles, citing his many accomplishments and capability in rebuilding the ruined pueblo. Today, he is completely unappreciated by the city that once loved him so.
Repose en paix.
—C.C. de Vere
EDITOR’S NOTE: Angelus Rosedale Cemetery, where Marchesseault (sometimes spelled Marchessault) is buried, is the final resting place for literally thousands of immigrants who made new lives in America, California and Los Angeles. This year’s Living History Tour, “Dreams Are Made of This: The Immigrant’s Story” (slated for Sunday, September 23), will bring to life the stories of immigrants from Germany, Armenia, Korea, China, Japan and France – including the story of Jean-Louis Sainsevain, Marchesseault’s partner. Although we will not be portraying Marchesseault again, we will showcase his grave, which is located not far from Sainsevain’s on the historic cemetery’s Palm Drive. We hope you find his story as compelling as we do. This article first appeared in the online website, "Frenchtown Confidential" (http://frenchtownconfidential.blogspot.com), where author C. C. de Vere chronicles true stories from the lost French community in Los Angeles and the rest of Southern California.
Reprinted with permission
Jean Jacques Russo as Marchesseault at the 2004 Living History Tour.
Photos: Suzanne Cooper
San Bernardino Daily Sun March 14, 1957
Photo: Public domain, courtesy of http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/magazine-articles/immigration_history
The Immigrant’s Story
DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS:
The 28th Annual Living History Tour
Angelus Rosedale Cemetery
Sunday, September 23
Tours depart from 9 a.m. until Noon
We are a country of immigrants…we are a city of immigrants…and Angelus Rosedale Cemetery is the final resting place for thousands upon thousands of immigrants who began to settle in the City of Angels as early as the 1830s through to the present day.
They came to America, and Los Angeles, to follow their dreams…for opportunities and, often, to escape persecution. And now their stories will come alive at the landmark Angelus Rosedale Cemetery at the Annual Living History Tour on Sunday, September 23, as we explore the lives of the many immigrants who are among the permanent residents of the cemetery. We’ll learn about their families, their successes as well as hardships, and their contributions in business endeavors, to the city’s cultural heritage, and on the nation’s battlefields.
Actors, in costume and at graveside with set vignettes, will give first-person portrayals of some of the people who are buried here, including Joseph Maier, one of Los Angeles’s early German brewmeisters; Samuel Haroutune “Hall” Halladjian, a pastor whose brother and father perished during the period of the Armenian genocide; Kuang Do Song Paik, a Korean woman whose family escaped the Imperial occupation when their homeland became a Japanese protectorate in 1905; and Jean-Louis Sainsevain, a French immigrant who helped establish California’s wine industry.
Being an immigrant frequently was not easy. At this year’s tour, learn about the stereotyping of “Oriental” actors’ portrayals in the movies, FBI investigations when you spoke the “wrong” language (such as Deutsch in 1918), low pay and outright denial of wages, and, for many, barriers to U.S. citizenship.
Among those you’ll meet:
The Bavaria-born matriarch of the tragedy-struck “Krazy” Kafitz family;
A Chinese entrepreneur who as a boy was sponsored by California State Senator Reginald del Valle;
A Japanese couple, Harry Odama and his wife, Alice Miyeko Ishisaka Odama; and
Luis Figueroa, soldier, hero, and Purple Heart recipient who gave his life in the Gulf War.
Rosedale Cemetery (now Angelus Rosedale) was founded in 1884, when Los Angeles was a small town and its location at what is now the corner of Washington Boulevard and Normandie Avenue was in the countryside, outside the city limits. It was the first cemetery in Los Angeles open to all races, faiths, and creeds, and it was the first to use a new approach in design called “lawn cemeteries…where nature and art conspire to surround the burial places of the dead with beautiful trees and flowers, natural scenery and works of monumental art.”
Angelus Rosedale Cemetery is also home to generations of Angelenos from every walk of life. Each year, West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA) tells some of their life stories while touring the historic grounds with the cemetery’s elaborately-carved monuments. In this way, the Living History Tour helps educate the citizens of Los Angeles about our history, and the community’s cultural heritage.
We invite your participation, as volunteers or tour visitors.
This tour is, frankly, labor intensive. In advance, we need a few writers (of the narrative scripts) and, for all of you who may collect vintage clothing, possible borrowings of costumes (WAHA pays for dry cleaning, of course). On the tour day, we really (really) need many helping hands. Tasks include: early morning set-up of props, tents and chairs (7 a.m. start time); actor support (keeping company with an actor in the cemetery – very important for their sustenance, 9 a.m. to about 2 p.m.); parking wranglers (8 a.m. start to about noon); afternoon “tear down” (starting at 12 p.m.); and help with the volunteer party (after a full day in the sun, all of the volunteers deserve a festive thank you – shift likely begins at 2 p.m. at a nearby private home). There are other tasks -- please e-mail email@example.com if you can help.
Ticket Sales/Tour Times
Tours will depart approximately every 20 minutes, beginning at 9 a.m. (Advance paid reservations are required; each tour group's participants are pre-assigned. This tour usually sells out. A limited number of tickets may be available on the day of the tour, space available basis.)
Early Bird prices (through September 12) are $30 per ticket for the general public, $24 for WAHA members (WAHA members may purchase TWO tickets ONLY at this price; please contact firstname.lastname@example.org regarding possible group rates.)
All tickets after September 12 are $35.
Purchase online (below) OR mail a check made out to "WAHA" to Living History Tour, 2263 S. Harvard Blvd., Los Angeles CA 90018.
Tickets may be available for purchase at the door for tours AFTER 11:00 a.m., $40
When you purchase your ticket, please indicate which general time slot you prefer. We will have several guided tours departing within each slot and will assign one to you. (Be sure to let us know if you have friends who you would like to be in the same tour with you – e-mail email@example.com with their names.) We will confirm your time via e-mail.
Early morning (departing between 9 a.m. & 9:45 a.m.)
Mid-morning (departing between 9:45 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.)
Late morning (departing between 10:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m.)
Mid-day (departing between 11:15 a.m. & Noon)
Angelus Rosedale Cemetery is located at 1831 West Washington Blvd. in Historic West Adams. The tours each last 2-3 hours. This is an outdoor walking tour over uneven grounds, and the cemetery is also slightly hilly; please wear comfortable walking shoes and sun protection.
For more information:
Oscar Cotton. Who's Who in California.
Looking north from the intersection of Catalina and Venice into Pico Heights in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of ITT Corporation.
Pico Heights Discovery
Stan Poe is a well-known architectural historian based in Long Beach. He and his wife, Maureen, attend most WAHA events.
Photograph of celebrators and streetcars during the opening of the Pico Heights Electric Railway, the first electric railroad from Plaza to Pico Heights, 1887. Men and young boys dressed in suits pose in front of two open-air streetcars, an open field visible behind them. The cars were the part of the first electric railroad. The engine car for the streetcars and a horse-drawn carriage can be seen to the far right.
Photo: University of Southern California Libraries and California Historical Society
Historic information often comes by way of a very circuitous route. I recently came upon an article about a local neighborhood that I had known about and explored often as a youth, but was unaware of its history. The area was known since its inception as Pico Heights which abutted West Adams District. From reading a personal history of Oscar Cotton, I learned about the area’s history. I had never known of the history, which inspired me to go the Huntington Library in San Marino to find out more about the community and Oscar’s story.
Oscar was born in 1882 San Francisco, but moved to L.A. when he was three months old with his parents and sister, Laura. His father was a land speculator and his mother, a free thinker, was a “vaudeville mother” who trained her children for the stage. They were “barn storming” all of the small towns from San Diego to San Francisco, but they had settled in a new townsite called Pico Heights. The community had the first electric trolley system and provided transportation to all of the venues in L.A. for their performances. In 1893 performances were held at Rosedale Cemetery and all the halls of Los Angeles, Pasadena and Redondo Beach for Memorial Day. Their programs included Oscar and Laura reading a recitation, Indian Club Swinging, blacksmith with Dumbbell Chorus and Swiss Bell Ringing. Many of their performances were given at the Redondo Hotel. Their first home was on Fedora Street which cost them $200 for a 50 x 150 lot in 1893. They moved the tent house from Redondo. Oscar himself became a real estate promoter, eventually. He was successful in the San Diego area and created the mortgage amortization concept.
The Electric Los Angeles Railroad Streetcar line was built from the Plaza to Pico Heights in 1887. The district was located on either side of Pico Blvd. between Alvarado to Normandie. The streets were named Electric (Sepulveda), Telegraph (Berendo), Lighting (Catalina), Telephone (Dewey), Cablegram (El Molino) to reflect modern inventions and the inventors. There was a ten cent fare, but it was considered unreliable and referred to as the “GOP, Get Off and Push.”
In 1895 the area’s annexation to Los Angeles was argued over with the “Saloons” against it as Los Angeles was a ‘wet’ town at the time which meant that liquor was legal. Dry option meant that no liquor was served. In 1896 it was finally approved and annexed to be “wet.” In the first decades it was a fashionable and exclusionary area. By 1919 about 100 Japanese families were in residence. By 1920 the wealthy had moved away and working class European immigrants, which included the Greeks, Norwegians, Swedes, and Russian Jews, had moved in. Greeks settled mostly at Pico and Normandie. St. Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral opened in 1952 and still has a vibrant congregation.
During the 1950s other ethnic groups created a cultural mosaic, including French, Columbian, German, Jewish, Spanish, and Mexican. In the 1970s and '80s those from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras were added to the ethnic quilt with more Mexicans. Just south of “Korea town” Koreans were added to the mixture. The past years began the physical deterioration as housing became worn down and overcrowded. Failing infrastructure, barbed wire and graffiti identified this community in a negative way.
The L.A. Planning Department added to the adjacent larger Pico Union District and the Pico Heights reference was omitted. The only vestige of the name was at the local Post Office. Thus, after a century of being proud and exclusive, the neighborhood lost its identity.
Photos: Suzanne Cooper
WAHA's 4th of July
Photos: Flo Selfman
On Saturday, April 21, 2018, the West Adams Heritage Association held its election and general meeting at the new home of Surfas Culinary District on Washington Boulevard at Third Avenue. In addition to the meeting and election, the owner of Surfas gave a speech about how happy he was to be in West Adams, being welcomed enthusiastically while apparently not losing any of the customer base he enjoyed in Culver City.
A cheese presentation was made, with a number of cheeses described by one of the Surfas experts and enthusiastically sampled by the WAHA members. Some pleasant social time was also enjoyed, with only one wine glass being broken. We believe it is a record.
The West Adams Heritage Association thanks Surfas Culinary District for hosting this meeting, and we look forward to more events that involve Surfas in some way, as well as having our members and residents enjoy the shopping and dining that this welcome business provides.
Above: A student hugs John Mack as he poses with teacher Holly Sims.
Left: The bas relief being unveiled by former principal Brenda Grady with artist Nijel Binns and John Mack looking on.
Right: John Mack shaking hands with dual language teacher Frank Cooper.
Photos courtesy of Frank Cooper
When John Mack visited the school that bears his name, none of the children could quite believe he was a real person. After all, public schools are supposed to be named after people who died hundreds of years ago, aren’t they? But when a bas relief by Nijel Binns was dedicated in 2008, there was the real, live man visiting their school.
If anyone deserved to have a school named after him, it was John Wesley Mack. It’s particularly appropriate that the school is across Jefferson from USC in West Adams, as Mack was a resident of Lafayette Square who believed in the value of education. His neighbor, Jean Cade, remembers him fondly as a wonderful man. He served the city tirelessly as President of the Los Angeles Urban League, President of the Los Angeles Board of Commissioners, Life Trustee for Cedars Sinai Medical Center and Member of the Weingart Foundation Board of Directors. He was the first Urban League Affiliate President to become a Trustee of the National Urban League Board of Directors. He was known for bringing diverse people together across racial, cultural, economic, gender and religious lines.
John Mack believed in equal opportunity for all in education, job training and economic development. His legacy will inspire generations of students at John W. Mack Elementary School.
Annual Meeting at Surfas
2018 Native Plant Spring Garden Tour
Guasti Mansion courtesy of Bison Archives.
L.A. Weekly discusses some of the galleries that are popping up in the West Adams area.
Sentinel Peak Resources to end oil production at Jefferson site:
The Wilfandel Club at 3425 West Adams has received a prestigious grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The Wilfandel Club is the oldest African-American women's club in Los Angeles and members still enjoy their beautiful clubhouse: http://wilfandelclub.com/wilfandel-house.
Thank You to Our Volunteers
The genesis of the idea to have a Native Plants Garden Tour was from Jennifer Charnofsky who has been utilizing native plants in her own WAHA garden for years. She introduced California natives to me through a lecture at her garden given by Lili Singer of the Theodore Payne Foundation (TPF) over 10 years ago. I was a convert (some say a fanatic) and eventually put most of my yard into natives. But it wasn’t until I retired that I could contemplate creating a garden tour. Just being on a tour is a lot of work.
But with Jennifer’s help, we were able to talk eight native plant aficionados in WAHA to join Jennifer and me into putting their gardens on the tour. We actually had even more gardens to choose from and hope we will be able to include them in the 2019 tour. For now, I would like to thank my fellow tour committee members; those from the beginning and those who joined or were drafted along the way: Jennifer Charnofsky, Rina Rubenstein, Roland Souza, Laura Meyers and Ed Saunders. They all went above and beyond what was asked of them, not only helping to organize but docenting as well. Also helping to design our signs, logo and create the guide and the plant lists, Leslie Evans, the IT master and creative genius. You were always available to answer questions.
Also, there are not enough ways to express our appreciation to the garden owners who spent weeks cleaning up the garden, pruning, weeding, creating their plant list, putting plant labels out and generally giving mother nature a hand in maximizing the beauty of the gardens while hosting on the day of the tour, answering questions galore: Jennifer Charnofsky and Leslie Evans; Ivy Pochoda and Justin Newell; Eric and Kim Kramer (the first to say yes and with such enthusiasm that I became hopeful that we could pull this off); John and Jennifer Kemmerer (who barely got their garden planted and their dry stream bed dug before they were hijacked into the tour); Sam Goodwin and Lisa Schurga, John Arnold and Curt Bouton (who, along Chris Elwell and Kory O’Dell had spent the Saturday two weeks before hosting hundreds of tourgoers from the TPF tour); Jonathan Blaugrund and Susan Arena; Chris Elwell and Kory O’Dell, Michael Salman and Sharon Hayashi (whose last name was unfortunately misspelled in the brochure due to my error); and Lore Hilburg and Reggie Jones.
In addition, we had our wonderful docents, many of whom had no prior experience with natives but learned at a breakneck pace. Marius Stelly (who also brought his supply of native plants to sell), AJ Lentini, Becky Greenberg, Dayna Dorris, Darla Brunner, Dennis Leski, Harriet Grant, Jean Cade, Kathleen Jolly, Laura Louden, Lyn Gillson, Marianne Muellerleile, Mary Power, Michele McDonough, Paula Brynen, Peter Grant, Regina Berry, Rina Rubenstein, Robert Swarts, Ellen Swarts, Sarah Riedmann, Thomas O’Connor, Hilary Lentini, Jonathan Harnish, APLD (of In-Site Landscape Design who designed the watershed garden with the owner’s help); Stephanie Landregan (who designed my rear garden), Flo Selfman, Colleen Davis, Jeff Baum, Sydney Cannon, Helen Shardray, Jim Hunter and Rob Buscher. Each and every one gave 110%.
The 2019 tour is scheduled for April 13. We will start meeting to prepare in January so let me know your schedule by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 323 590-4748 to volunteer. Mark your calendar to attend!
West Adams in the news
LA Curbed wrote about the historic landmark homes of West Adams: https://la.curbed.com/maps/
The 100 Million Dollar Monster
St. John's Episcopal Cathedral.
Photo: Michael Smith
Jean Frost is the current Preservation Committee Chair. Contact her at email@example.com.
Flyover pictures: Caltrans
WAHA, the Friends of St. John’s Cathedral, and ADHOC have taken legal action challenging Caltrans’ decision to construct a $100 MILLION DOLLAR, 1,400-foot-long, 54-foot-high two-lane flyover bridge structure next to St. John’s Cathedral. Caltrans’ dogged efforts to build this monstrosity hit a critical benchmark when, ignoring the administrative record, they officially determined on April 30, 2018 that such action would have no significant environmental impacts on St. John’s and the University Park community.
Without our legal challenge, filed on May 30 by Amy Minteer of Chatten-Brown & Carstens, this project would have a green light to build in this historic community, at any time, WITH NO FURTHER REVIEW. We believe that when Caltrans approved their I-110 Flyover Project based on a mitigated negative declaration (“MND”) instead of an environmental impact report (“EIR”), they failed to comply with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA.)
The project damages the environmental setting of St. John’s Cathedral, a designated City Historic Cultural Monument (HCM), along with the other City HCM monuments at the intersection of Figueroa and Adams Boulevard, the Automobile Club of Southern California and St. Vincent de Paul Church. It imposes further blight on the University Park/West Adams neighborhood and its many historic resources including the Stimson Residence, the Woolen Mills Zanja, the Slauson Residence, and the Chester Place Historic District, to name just a few.
And we ask, this blight is imposed for what purpose? To cut seconds off a car waiting at rush hour in the HOV/HOT off ramp on Adams? To move traffic two blocks, dumping the traffic at the intersection of Figueroa and 23rd Street where it will create further traffic and circulation problems?
Caltrans has chosen not to listen to the record of demonstrated impacts and dismissed all impacts with the phrase that “we are in an urban environment.”
This action is incredible when Caltrans itself found that there are serious and irreparable effects to St. John’s Cathedral and Parish House which would “introduce visual elements that would be out of character and thus result in adverse effects.” Caltrans claims that the severe and irreparable harm can be mitigated by interpretive programs or streetscape improvements underneath the monster structure.
Caltrans’ eight-year mobilization to create this undertaking has had one single public hearing on February 23, 2016 and to date the press has been silent. This battle has David v. Goliath proportions. Please let the public officials know what is going on with public federal funds to justify this damaging endeavor. Councilmembers Curren Price and Gilbert Cedillo have gone on record opposing this project. Mayor Eric Garcetti has not taken a position.
In the court petition, we ask Caltrans “to prepare, circulate, review and certify a legally adequate EIR for the Project so that the Caltrans will have a complete disclosure document before it, the potential significant impacts of the Project will be identified for the decision-makers and public, and Caltrans will be able to formulate realistic and feasible alternatives and mitigation measures to avoid those impacts.”
WAHA and St. John’s have been leading the fight and building a coalition since a NOP (Notice of Preparation) was issued in 2013. Thank you to the many WAHA members who have helped raise funds and/or donated funds directly to our Preservation Advocacy Fund, which is helping with this effort. Now we need your additional (and VITAL) help to continue the battle against this monstrosity. As Father Mark Kowalewski of St. John’s has stated:
“Our beautiful Romanesque structures standing out as a beacon, a park-like garden. This is a place enjoyed by people in our community as a refuge, but now people who have no understanding of our community have proclaimed that this freeway ramp looming over our Cathedral will have no impact on us as a sanctuary in stillness and peace.”
The Caltrans Mitigated Negative Declaration (MND) and Finding of No Significant Impacts (FONSI) can be found at http://dot.ca.gov/d7/env-docs/
Photos: Frank Cooper
P.O. Box 5619, Whittier, CA, 90607-5619
Willing Workers Building 4801-13 Washington Boulevard
In spite of all the battles to preserve our architectural heritage, occasionally there is good news. The house at the corner of Arlington and Adams, designed by J. Cather Newsom in 1904 for James T. Fitzgerald, is being renovated to Secretary of Interior Standards. It's a fine example of adaptive reuse that will become a Buddhist Center. The architect and project manager is WAHA member Michael Nigosian.
Professional display cases and cabinets available. Lovely wood finish, and lighting. Please call for dimensions and details. you supply labor and hauling. Call 310-916-6013.
Craftsman style cabinet with a working treadle White brand sewing machine inside. The machine was made in Cleveland, Ohio June 3, 1913. The oak cabinet veneer has some minor damage. The sewing belt is new. Works well as a sideboard or hall table. The dimensions are 18” W x 34 1/2” L x 29” H. Purchased years go for $500. Will sell for $400 or a reasonable offer. Call Pat K. and leave a message 310-572-7929 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org for pictures.
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.
Very few buildings manage such a neat split as the one at 4801-13 Washington Boulevard achieved when a 1930s façade by theater designer S. Charles Lee was covered with mid-century modern arches. Although the odd combo had a certain eccentric charm, it’s hard to object to having Lee’s gorgeous Deco building uncovered. It will be interesting to see both buildings restored to their rightful glory when the scaffolding comes down.
Radha Yoga is now an instructor-operated studio. In order to make the studio more of a community, all classes will now support teachers directly. Drop-in classes are still $10 (unless otherwise noted) with a style for all fitness levels. Please check http://www.radhayogala.com/ for schedule and information.
Fitzgerald Mansion 2315 West Adams
Just when you thought West Adams had achieved an upper hand in the battle against demolitions in our historic neighborhoods, the past year, and particularly the past six months, have proven that that goal has not been reached. Although the city has adopted ordinances to protect some newly identified historic communities, it has yet to be implemented and the number of demolition requests that we are becoming aware of is staggering.
We have already lost to demolition this year alone a substantial residence at 1733 West Adams Blvd., a Craftsman bungalow with great arroyo stone details on its porch and chimney at 1660 S. Arlington Ave., a Colonial Revival cottage at 2209 S. 6th Ave., and a Spanish style duplex at 3417 S. Edgehill. The house on Adams and the duplex on Edgehill were both demolished without their demolition permits having been issued.
Although there is supposed to be a process in place to notify the neighborhood councils of potential demolitions, this rarely happens the way it was supposed to work. If you live in a neighborhood currently with no current historic preservation protection [like Charles Victor Hall Tract, the “donut hole” of University Park, Angeles Heights, Old University District or even Arlington Heights, where supposedly the new protections are already in place] chances are that you only find out about proposed demolitions when a neighbor happens upon a demolition notice attached to the front of a property. If we are lucky, that neighbor then quickly notifies WAHA or the neighborhood council representative.
But, since mid-January the City’s codes require that the neighborhood council (whichever one it is) be notified at least 30 days in advance of any demolition. The Building & Safety Department has still not implemented the law.
Recently I received an updated list of demolition request permits from a UNNC board member and walked around Arlington Heights and Angeles Heights up and down St. Andrews Place, Gramercy Place and Wilton Place. I tried to comprehend the loss it would be to the community if the dozens of proposed demolitions of 100-year-old buildings are allowed to proceed. Observing what is being allowed to be built on these lots should encourage us to increase our commitment to advocate a little bit stronger for the Historic West Adams District community.
Below is a list of pending demolitions that we know of (there may be more). I am asking that those WAHA members living in Council District 10 reach out to thank Council President Herb Wesson and staff (as well as United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council, UNNC) for all their work to protect our neighborhoods, but to also please help us save all the rest of these homes. And to Council District 8 to help save the historic cottage on La Salle. All of us need to support those individuals who are putting in so much energy to get us through these difficult times.
Endangered residences (that WAHA is aware of):
Council District 10
Please write to: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Sylvia.firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Andrew.firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, and the UNNC president, Denise Jackson, email@example.com
1608 S. Wilton Place
1848 S. Gramercy Place
1849 S. Gramercy Place
1509 S. Gramercy Place
1527 S. Wilton Place
1537 S. Wilton Place
1540 S. St. Andrews Place
1546 S. St. Andrews Place
1554 S. St. Andrews Place
Council District 8
Please write: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and neighborhood council leadership: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
2631 S. La Salle Avenue
And consider sending a copy of your letter(s) addressing these concerns to the City Planning Department staff members who are in the best position to help with this major issue:
firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, Reuben.Caldwell@lacity.org
Editor's note: The annual preservation issue of the newsletter, usually out in May, was delayed while the Preservation Committee dealt with pending demolitions. We hope to publish it later in the year.
WAHA'S Annual Ice Cream Social
Sunday, August 19
1651 Virginia Rd. (Lafayette Square)
We all scream for ice cream at WAHA’s Annual Ice Cream Social! Please join WAHA for our annual afternoon of frolic and frozen delights in the beautiful garden of Lore Hilburg and Reggie Jones. Ice cream, cookies, and drinks are provided by WAHA. And, take the cake: also featured is our traditional cake walk game where the last person standing is rewarded with a cake.
We will be entertained by singer Dianne Lawrence, whose repertoire includes many standards from the 1920s and 1930s.
The Ice Cream Social is always a fun afternoon and this year it will be held in a striking native garden.
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer and/or to make a donation of baked goods such as cookies.
Hello my fellow Wahonians . . . and welcome to another edition of WAHA Dudes Do Dinner. Today, however, it's lunch, the meal between breakfast and nap, and it happened a couple of weeks before Christmas in the year of our Jack Lord, 2017. I sent the email out to meet at Truffle Brothers on Washington Blvd. The response was overwhelming if not tepid. I arrived early to hold a picnic table on the patio and greeted, in no particular order, Ed, Reggie, David, Jeff, John, Adam, Eric, plus Steve W. and Steve P. Counting me, that's 10 men and 12 surgically repaired knees. This IS your father's heavy metal.
I was genuinely thrilled to see Steve W. because he often replies to my email with a hopeful, "AJ, can't wait!" And then a week later comes the follow-up, "AJ, so sorry. My sewer line is kaput, my fuse box is kaplit, and my foundation is leaving on a jet plane." These are not excuses. Steve uses his own five hands to lovingly restore every one of his West Adams projects. Two hands are his, two are Eileen's, and the other is a metaphor for how damn hard they work. #Goals.
Another notable dude is Eric, a WAHA legend who used to walk amongst us until he quit his lawyering gig, packed the family into a 1956 potato chip truck and "Green Acre'd" it back to the Michigan farm of his youth. "Eric, good to see you old friend. And before you start the two-hour treatise on the price of seed corn, how are Darby and the kids?" "About $4 a bushel," he says to Ed, who's hanging tight with him on grain futures, commodity currencies, and the not-so great work habits of today's youth. "I'm on my third millennial," says Ed. "If they only worked as hard as they 'snapped and chatted.'"
Okay, back to Eric. Even though he left the confines of L.A., he returns every December to command the dinner house at the WAHA Holiday Tour. It's a week of shopping, chopping, prepping, smoking [meats], and then more shopping, chopping, prepping, and smoking [seed corn]. It ends with two Blitzkrieg-like days of assembling some 400 main course platters that good people paid a good dollar for. I know this because I'm on KP chopping more onions than any man's ever seen. I think it was Epicurus who said, "My fingers hurt." But seriously, there are not enough words to thank Eric.
Speaking of words, a few about the Truffle Brothers. If you've never visited, get thee to Washington Boulevard any Monday through Friday and feast your eyes on a pleasant portal to sunny Italy. Tall display cases filled with imported prosciutto, porchetta, pancetta, mortadella, and about 29 other "ellas." There's truffle honey, truffle butter, truffle cream, truffle rice, truffle salt, and truffle seed corn. [Heyo.] I counted over 14 Italian cheeses, and ate 12 of them. If you're in the mood for a panino [that's a sandwich] you have at least 10 choices. The most popular one today was the Tartufo, which is prosciutto, truffle sauce, Pecorino Romano and some kind of magic. And you should definitely, absolutely, positively try the soup. Unless you hate flavor.
Here's some research: The Truffle Brothers ARE brothers although their last name is NOT Truffle. I was disappointed too. According to the Internet, they are Michael and Marco and they grew up in Italy where they searched for the elusive truffle mushroom with their grandfather. One can't grow truffles, you have to search for them and it's "needle in a haystack" type work. In the old days people would employ real live truffle hogs who have a nose for them. They also have an appetite for them and there's no profit in that, so these days dogs are trained to sniff them out. So, Michael and Marco brought their truffle export business to L.A. and when the time was right, they graced us with this wonderful deli.
It's at this point in the meal that no fewer than five conversations are going on at once. Some can be repeated in mixed company. Here's what I wrote in my notes: Mills act, Headphones, Joe's in Instanbul, Surfas, Structural One Plywood, Joe's in Beirut, Staying in Relationships Too Long, City Permits Over Holidays, Joe's Insane, and . . . quote, "The trick to hip surgery is getting the proper foot alignment." That's the aforementioned Eric who's the proud owner of a new hip, a new knee, and a brand new lease on life. Plus, it's a Michigan lease and there's no rent control.
No meal at an Italian deli is complete without a round of espresso, cappuccino, macchiato, and more slurping than any man ever heard. Did somebody say dessert? "Si, qualcuno ha detto un dessert!" We ordered so many cannoli the powdered sugar hovered over the table like a dusting of holiday snow. It was the perfect Christmas surprise.
So it ends with handshaking Dudes and holiday wishes as we scatter until the next email. And here's one last piece of advice: When you do go to Truffle Brothers, and I trust you will, do NOT leave without an actual bottle of truffle oil in your hands. You can add it to your sandwiches, salads, pastas and, yes, structurally repaired knees. Oil can, baby.
Lore Hilburg and Reggie Jones
John Arnold & Curt Bouton
Craig Bartelt & Nick Mercado)
Katie Larkin & Brian Jett
Ivy Pochoda & Justin Nowell
David Raposa & Ed Trosper
Edy & George Alva
Anna & Mason Bendewald
David Bottjer & Sarah Bottjer
Winston Cenac & Alishia Brown
Lisa Ellzey & Jeff (Ulrik) Theer
Amanda & Tomas Jegeus
Hilary & A.J. Lentini
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
Robin Evangelista 310-430-4319
Lore Hilburg 323-934-4443
Candy Wynne 323-735-3749
John Kurtz 323-481-1753
Legal Advisor 323-732-9536
Allyson Knight & Zack Cantor
Grace & Seung Yoo
Susan Adler & Bill Wolff
Harry Anderson & Terry Bible
Jeffrey & Patricia Baum
Barbara Bestor & Tom Stern
Robert Brkich, Jr. & Ben Pratt
James Cain & Thomas Teves
Clare & Michael Chu
Rory Cunningham & David Pacheco
Art Curtis & Shelley Adler
Suzanne Dickson & Steven Stautzenbach
Tricia Dillon & Katherine Villarreal
Andrea Dunlop & Max Miceli
Robin Evangelista & Dieter Obeji
Sarah and Charles Evans
Jean Frost & Jim Childs
Donald & Suzanne Henderson
Kim-Lai Jones & Jason Corsey
Patricia Karasick &
Kevin Keller & Marc Choueiti
Paul King & Paul Nielsen
David Kirkwood & Kristin Riddick
Adrienne & Blake Kuhre
Daniel Lockwood & Barrett Crake
Los Angeles Conservancy, Linda Dishman
Cassandra Malry & Thom Washington
Joseph McManus & Lara Elin Soderstrom
JoAnn Meepos & Steven Edwards
Marianne Muellerleile & Tom Norris
Gail D. Peterson
Mary Power & Librada Hernandez
Judy Reidel & Al Hamburger
Walter Rivers, Jr.
Donna & Mark Robertson, Sr.
Amy Ronnebeck & Alan Hall
Yale Scott & Bobby Pourziaee
Mary Shaifer & Chris Murphy
Ellen & Robert Swarts
Stephen Vincent & Jessica McCullagh
Ned Wilson & Carrie Yutzy
Grace & Seung Yoo
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 email@example.com. As a reminder, you will receive the electronic format through a download email.
WAHA (and Friends) Calendar
Ice Cream Social
Sunday, August 19, 2:00-5:00 p.m.
1651 Virginia Road, L.A. 90019
Enjoy cold ice cream on a summer afternoon with your friends from WAHA,
Hollywood Revisited...A Musical Review
Saturday, August 25, 6:00-9:00 p.m.
Doheny Greystone Mansion
A benefit for Greystone Mansion featuring a review with music and historic movie costumes from the collection of Greg Shreiner and dinner from Wolfgang Puck catering. https://www.shop.greystonemansion.org/Hollywood-Revisited-HR2018.htm
West Adams Avenues Jazz & Musical Festival
August 31-September 2 6:00p.m.-Midnight
West Adams and 7th Avenue
Enjoy a picnic and music under the stars
The 28th Annual Living History Tour
Sunday, September 23
Angelus Rosedale Cemetery
Tours depart from 9:00 a.m. until Noon
Phone: 323-909-WAHA, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
35th Annual Hollywood Forever Walking Tour
Saturday, October 13
Hollywood Forever Cemetery