Monday, December 28, 2009

The Last Day of the Southwest Museum

View from Parking Lot towards the Southwest Museum and Carcacol Tower: At 5:15 pm on Sunday, December 27th, the Southwest Museum closed its doors indefinitely. According to the Gift Shop staff, the Museum might reopen in five to six years. It will probably not open back up as a Museum, but as a Cultural Center. This was a sad day and a loss for our community. One older couple drove all the way from Orange County to visit the Museum for the last time. They took their children to the Museum 40 years ago! They found out it was closing and felt compelled to say goodbye.

The first Museum of Los Angeles closed its doors and gates on Sunday, December 27, 2009.

Monday, December 21, 2009

The Southwest Museum Store is closing!

If you've never been to the Southwest Museum, now is the time to do it! The Museum Store will be closing its doors by December 31st.

This is jewel of our community and the subject of a controversial preservation battle in Northeast Los Angeles.

Come visit and show your support!!!

Saturday: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Address: 234 Museum Drive Los Angeles , 90065
Major Cross Streets: North Figueroa Street and Avenue 45

Painting of the Museum by Wendy Hultquist.

See the recent LA Times Article Below for more info:

Southwest Museum of the American Indian store is closed
Supporters of the institution feat it's a sign that the Autry National Center is relegating the institution to a secondary role.

By Mike Boehm
December 18, 2009

The only part of the Southwest Museum of the American Indian regularly open to the public -- the museum store that had weekend hours only -- will close next month when its space is taken over by a conservation project.The decision by the Autry National Center of the American West, which runs the Southwest Museum in Mount Washington and the larger Museum of the American West in Griffith Park, to virtually suspend public operations for an estimated three years immediately inflamed the already heated suspicions of some Southwest Museum supporters.The Autry critics, including Los Angeles City Councilman José Huizar, fear that the Southwest is being relegated to a minor role, if not being written off entirely as a site for displaying a prized collection of almost 300,000 Native American artworks and artifacts."I'm very disappointed," Huizar said Wednesday. "It's actually confirming our suspicions that they had no intent to make this a viable destination" for museum-goers.But Autry spokeswoman Joan Cumming said long-range plans remain unchanged. They call for revitalizing the Southwest Museum as a "multiple-use" facility that would include space for educational programs and community events, as well as galleries that would show parts of the collection not being displayed in Griffith Park.

The project that is prompting the closure is the conservation of the museum's collection of Native American beadwork. Like much of the Southwest Museum's collection, Cumming said, the beads are fragile and need preservation work and that outweighs devoting more resources immediately to making the Southwest a public attraction."We understand it's a historic building and it's important to the city, but I don't think [critics] understand how complicated it's been. The collection could just disappear, so it's got to take priority," Cumming said.

Huizar and members of a community group called the Friends of the Southwest Museum Coalition say they have trouble believing the Autry's promises. They fear that the Autry wants to turn the 1914-vintage building into a mere warehouse for the collection, avoiding the expense of running it as a public museum while commandeering its collection to bolster the Griffith Park site as an attraction.Failing to keep it open and busy could hurt the northeastern Los Angeles neighborhood's economy, the group has said. They see the museum store's imminent closure as a sign that the Autry could revoke promises it made when it rescued the financially tottering Southwest in a 2003 merger that kept the Native American trove in L.A. when it was feared that it might be dispersed.But Cumming said closing the museum store now for an expected three years is a matter of needing its space for a large project to conserve the Southwest's large holdings of Native American beadwork, preparing them for an exhibition that could be three years off. Conservators "need a lot of space to lay out tables, shelves and equipment," she said.While the Southwest remains closed, she said, the only public programming will be monthly Saturday events, including lectures, that will require an admission charge for people who aren't Autry Center members. Annual membership dues start at $55 for two people and $65 for a family. The events will be promoted on the Autry's website.The first lecture, on Jan. 23, is "Surprising Discoveries Inside the Braun Library," in which a librarian or curator will show some of the prime holdings of the research library on the Southwest Museum's campus. The library remains open to researchers by appointment, Cumming said.

Conservation work that was already proceeding on other parts of the collection besides the beads will continue as before, as will renovations to the museum building. Autry officials say they've spent about $7.5 million since the merger on repairing the building and conserving the collection.A small gallery space in the Southwest Museum has been used once a month for contemporary art shows by NELAart, a consortium of artists and galleries in northeastern Los Angeles. Cumming hopes they can still be accommodated, perhaps in the Casa de Adobe, a reconstruction of a 19th century ranch house that's on the property.Last summer, Huizar and other City Council members had hoped to secure a formal written guarantee from the Autry that it would get the Southwest up and running as a fully functioning museum. The guarantee was to be a condition for the Autry to proceed with a planned $100-million-plus expansion and renovation of its Griffith Park campus, which is on city-owned parkland.But in August, the Autry pulled the expansion off the table. Its president, John L. Gray, wrote to council members that legally binding promises to upgrade the Southwest and keep it open no matter what would be "financial and programmatic commitments we cannot responsibly make."Museum officials say they have raised $136 million in donations and pledges toward the $175-million project. That includes $53 million for non-construction endowment funding. Cumming said the donors are willing to let the construction money go to an alternate plan, and Autry leaders are exploring ways to expand exhibition space within the existing Griffith Park building.An alternate project that wouldn't change the museum's footprint might not require the lease amendment and environmental impact report approval that had given city officials leverage over the previous plan.

Although planning is in its early stages, Cumming said, one of the goals, held over from the abandoned expansion plan, is to carve out 20,000 square feet of exhibition space that would house artifacts from the Southwest Museum's collection.Huizar said he's trying to find funding sources that could alleviate Autry leaders' fears that it could stretch their institution's finances if they take on improving the Griffith Park museum while renovating, reopening and running the Southwest Museum.A low-interest construction loan drawn from the city's share of federal economic stimulus funds could speed the needed improvements to the Southwest's building, Huizar said. He added that he's exploring the creation of a "park assessment district" that would collect special taxes from property owners near the museum and funnel them to the Autry to help offset the cost of operating the Southwest.Huizar said that would require a vote by the affected property owners to create the district and OK the assessments. He said he's been trying unsuccessfully to set up a meeting with Gray of the Autry to go over those possibilities."We have options we think could really work," Huizar said. "We still want them to honor their commitment to restore it and reopen it."

Courtesy of The Los Angeles Times

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Little 6422 Garvanza House

Here is an example of advocacy on a small level that has made a difference to our community in Garvanza!
This is an early 20th century or possibly late 19th century bungalow with all its original features, that is until they showed up one day and gutted the interior. There were permits for an addition but no permits to knock down interior walls, knock out exterior walls and replace windows and doors. I was called by Danny Bohbot, a fellow Garvanzan to go check out the property. They were in the process of demolishing this house. But I stopped them through Building and Safety and the Housing Department came out and sited them and posted a stop work order! They were also ordered to restore the house, to put back the windows and doors and exterior walls they had begun to demolish on the sides and back of the house. I know they gutted the inside, as I was too late for that, but at least they restored the windows and did the new addition with clapboard instead of stucco. They are also landscaping it and put up a really nice looking fence along the alleyway. Oh and there are security bars inside the windows, at least they are not obtrusive. Anyway, just wanted you to see these pictures. (6422 Garvanza St.)

Tina Gulotta-Miller, Secretary Highland Park Heritage Trust

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Movie of Glenmary Stairs

On our last Walking Tour October 24th, we featured Robinson Jeffers, Poet and Alumni of Occidental College. We walked down the Glenmary Stairs on Figueroa Street directly across from the Sycamore Grove Park.

Thank you Tina Gulotta-Miller, Secretary of HPHT for providing the video.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Highland Park is Front Row Center at Adobe Max Conference in Los Angeles

Do you recognize the building in the middle of the poster? The Highland Park Hall on Figueroa Street is front center of the Photoshop montage at the Adobe Max Conference held last week at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The Poster was created as a back drop for one of the bars at the conference.

Photo courtesy of David Wolf, Architects Toolbox

Friday, September 11, 2009

Los Angeles Preservation Ordinance 2009

Below is direct correspondence from Ken Bernstein, Director of the Office of Historic Resources.
Today, the City Planning Commission voted 7-1 to approve the staff recommendation on the proposed amendments to the Cultural Heritage Ordinance.

Most of the discussion focused on the review of interior spaces in Historic-Cultural Monuments. The Commission supported the staff recommendation, which emerged from meetings of a Working Group on Interiors, to go back to the status quo on interior review. Under this proposal, all interior permits would continue to be referred to the Cultural Heritage Commission and the Office of Historic Resources for review, as has occurred since 1962. As in the current ordinance, the CHC could not deny approval of interior work altogether: it could only object to the issuance of the permit for no more than 180 days, with a possible 180-day extension of the objection period upon approval of the City Council.

We felt that this compromise lessened any potential burden on property owners, while still protecting Monuments whose significant interiors are often inseparable from the building's overall architectural significance. The new ordinance would require that exterior work, additions, or new construction be subject to a "Certificate of Appropriateness" that could be denied. The ordinance version approved today also maintains our staff recommendation to enhance protections for historic properties by giving the Cultural Heritage Commission the power to deny demolition requests for Monuments.

Next, the ordinance will go to the City Attorney for review and possible refinement. The City Planning Commission also voted to request that the City Attorney and Department of City Planning staff review and refine how the Cultural Heritage Ordinance provisions will interact with requirements of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Because these reviews may take a few months, we anticipate that the ordinance may not proceed to the Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) Committee and City Council for final approval until early 2010.

Sincerely,Ken Bernstein

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Charlie Fisher: Community Hero

Charles J. Fisher was given the "COMMUNITY HERO" award last Thursday night at the Heritage Square Museum Summer night concert. Susie Hansen's Latin Band was the featured live music for the warm summer evening. Charlie has volunteering tirelessly in the Highland Park community and greater Los Angeles area for Historic and Cultural Resources. He is commended for his work as the Chair of the Highland Park HPOZ Board. He also serves as Board member of the Highland Park Heritage Trust. Charlie is pictured here next to his wife Anne Marie Wozniak, Membership Officer for the HPHT. Thank you Charlie and Anne Marie for all your community service!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sycamore Grove Walking Tour

What a wonderful Walking Tour on June 27th!!! We had a very engaged and interesting group of people, including a couple from Orlando, Florida! At the La Boheme House, we tasted delicious jellies made by Hillary Danner from her fruit trees and fresh squeezed lemonade. We're hoping to see the Baker House next door for the August 22nd tour. Sign up for the next tour!

Tour docents include: Pat Griffith, Charlie Fisher and Justine Leong. Troy Evans and Heather McLarty are always gracious hosts of the Hiner House. And to top it off, refreshments at the Avenue 50 Studios! Thank you Kathy Gallegos for being a great hostess of the Studios.

The "Sousa Nook":

Entrance to "La Boheme": Hillary and her Jenkin's Jellies:

Friday, June 26, 2009

Successful Move for the Donnelley House!

See the pics below taken by Charles Miller last night.
The House was moved by truck from Chinatown to Ave. 64 in Garvanza!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Update to Donnelley House Move!!!

The Donnelley House is scheduled to move Thursday, June 25, starting at 11:59PM. The move will be finished by Friday, June 26 at 1:30am. At 7am on Friday morning, the house will lifted by a crane 100' up in the air to its final resting spot.

Come watch the show!!!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Donnelley House is Moving to Garvanza!

The Donnelley House is moving to the Northeast Community of Garvanza! The 1870s Gothic Revival Cottage will be coming through Highland Park from Chinatown to Garvanza along Marmion Way to Monte Vista, turning onto Piedmont then N. Figueroa Street, proceed East on York Boulevard and, finally, North to its new home at 1135-1153 N. Avenue 63 across from the Church of the Angels. Due to a Caltrans glitch this week, the move was postponed until the week of the June 22.

The Donnelley house has been located on 829 W. Bartlett Street in Chinatown since it was moved there in 1886 on land that had been subdivided by former Los Angeles Mayor Prudent Beaudry. John A. Donnelly and his family initially leased the land from Beaudry, but then bought it in 1889. Beaudry also owned the land in Garvanza where the house will settle until he sold it to Augustine Campbell-Johnston whose family established a ranch on the property. The House is one a very few remaining extant structures dating from the period of Los Angeles history between the Civil War and the coming of the Great Land Boom of 1885-1888.

Preservationist Brad Chambers is the owner of the Garvanza land. He plans to place the house on a hillside above Avenue 64, across the street from the Historic Church of the Angels, which is an Ernest Coxhead designed stone Gothic church that was built in 1889. Chambers has a proven track record with preservation and restoration, including in the area of stucco removal. He received an award from the Highland Park Heritage Trust for the removal of stucco and the restoration of another Garvanza area home several years ago. In addition, Chambers is currently serving on the Whitley Heights H.P.O.Z. Board in Hollywood.

The house had been sheathed in stucco since 1986 and was scheduled for demolition until it was researched for the landowner and its true rarity was determined. Arrangements were made with Chambers to move the house to the Garvanza property where he moved and restored another historic Chinatown home several years ago.

In preparation for the move, Chambers had the stucco removed and exposed the structures original siding and shingled gable. The aluminum slider windows were removed and historic windows matching the original openings were installed. At its new site, the house will be lifted by a crane onto its new foundation that is on a small bluff at the rear of the Garvanza property. Once reassembled and restored, the house will be nominated as a Historic Cultural Monument for the City of Los Angeles. Below is a before picture:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Lummis Day in Sycamore Grove Park

Lummis Day rocked! The beautiful day in the park was full of live music, tasty treats and local booths.

At the Highland Park Heritage Booth, Tina and Charles Miller were having tons 'o fun. Brian Sheridan was looking happy from Heritage Square. The Main Stage at the Historic Band Shell featured many local musicians. Janet Hansen was holding the fort at the Office of Historic Resources SurveyLA Booth. Casa de Adobe was open for the day .The courtyard hosted a plein air painter and other artists. A family even brought their baby duck!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Map of LA in the 1920s

This post is for map lovers. The map below shows Elysian Park in the center.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Arroyo Seco Parkway Now and Then

The Arroyo Seco was once untouched and untamed. It was a muse for many artists and craftsman looking for a "simpler way of life". Looking towards the Southwest Museum to the West, this photo was taken in 1937.

Ever wonder what the Arroyo used to look like before it was turned into a concrete flood channel? The photo below shows how it looked before 1937 when plans to build a Parkway began.

After the freeway was constructed in the 1940s, this photograph was taken near Shults Street, looking South.

Below is a photo taken in 1954. It shows the Pasadena freeway (now known as Arroyo Seco Parkway) at the Marmion Way exit. View is looking towards the North.
In the not so distant future, Cal Trans will work on the oldest freeway in the West.
See the image below for the State's "improvements" to the Parkway. Such changes include, a low concrete wall with "curve decoration" dividing the north and south bound sides. A guardrail with a "stone-like" stamped concrete base, chain-link and "historic-style" lamp posts.
What do you think?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Gold Line is Old Line!

Old photographs are wonderful windows into the past. We often forget what came before and take for granted what we have. Not too long ago, before the Metro Gold Line went in, Marmion Way had two lines of transit running side-by-side. The Santa Fe Railroad and the "Yellow" Car. The Yellow Electric Car was part of the L.A.R.Y. (Los Angeles Railway). The photo below shows the W line and the Locomotive trains travelling concurrently.
For those of you who take the Gold Line from Mt. Washington, you most likely park on this stretch of road near the Southwest Museum station. Look at how it was in the 50s.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Highland Park Heritage Trust wins an Award!!!

HPHT won a Community Outreach Award from the Office of Historic Resources on Saturday, May 30th at the 2009 Citywide HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone) Conference. The force behind such an honored award is our HPHT fold-out brochure, now soon-to-be in its 3rd printing! The informative and creative brochure was the result of hard work by the volunteers of the HPHT. Particular thanks goes to Nicole Possert, Janelle McGlothlin, Amy Inouye and Charly Kemp for their tireless efforts. There was excellent HPHT representation at the conference. Charlie Fisher, Tina Gulotta-Miller, Charles Miller and Justine Leong were all in attendance to accept the award on behalf of the HPHT.

Another win for our community was the Pisgah Village on Echo St. The project received a Rehabilitation Award.

Yeah for Highland Park!!!

The wonderful host of the conference was the Angelica Lutheran Church in the Pico-Union HPOZ. This beautiful Gothic Revival church was built by Swedish immigrants in 1925. They were gracious hosts to the 100+ Preservation-minded people on Saturday.