Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Historic GlenMary Archway to be the Site of a Mural that Honors the Past, Present and Future of Life in Highland Park

Historic Glenmary Stairs on Figueroa
On Sunday, November 21, 2010 at 2:30 pm artists Pola Lopez and Heriberto Luna and their team of 15 youth artists will unveil the new mural “Haramoknga – Place Where People Gather” on the site of the Historic Glen-Mary Archway. The mural is the culmination of a 15-month process to collect stories and images from local residents, organizations and historic sites. The site of the GlenMary Archway has been a place for people to gather since the times of the early Tongva people. The original archway was built around 1903 as a waiting station- the GlenMary-Sycamore Grove stop for the red car of the Pacific Electric Trolley.Today the archway overlooks busy Figueroa Boulevard and is only steps away from the Metro Gold line, the 110 Freeway and the Arroyo. The project is produced by LA Commons, with partners Avenue 50 Studio, Franklin High School, Arroyo Arts Collective, Highland Park Heritage Trust, Milagro Community Garden, the family of Lupe Handy, Future Studios, and the Office of Council Member Ed Reyes. Support provided by: Flourish Foundation, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, the Office of Council Member Ed Reyes, and the Highland Park Ebell.About the ArtistsPola Lopez is a prominent painter based in Los Angeles, and Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her work has appeared in many books and publications, and was awarded three purchase awards by the New Mexico Acclaimed Artist Art in Public Places Program, and can be found in permanent collection at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, The State Art Capitol Art Collection, El Museo Cultural, Millicent Rogers Museum, and the Harwood Museum in New Mexico Heriberto Luna is a painter with deep roots in Highland Park. Luna apprenticed on major mural projects with LA’s influential muralist team the East Los Streetscapers and artist Paul Botello as well as with painters Margaret Garcia and Pola Lopez. Luna has exhibited in 20 Museums including: The Santa Monica Museum of Art, The National Mexican Fine art Museum in Illinois and The Museum of History and Art in Ontario, California and his works are part of the art collection at Arizona State University.
About LA CommonsLA Commons helps L.A.’s diverse neighborhoods give voice to their unique stories through community-based arts programs. Created by local emerging artists, these projects express the cultural and historical essence of the communities. With its Trekking LA program, LA Commons introduces visitors from other parts of Los Angeles, as well as tourists from outside the region, to these arts projects, and to the food, music and cultural history of the communities.
Karen Mack, Founder/Executive Director
LA Commons
Watch it being installed on the historic wall: (photos courtesy of Linda Miller)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Successful Garvanza Book Signing

HPHT had a successful Book Signing event at Figueroa Produce on Saturday, Nov. 6. Charlie Fisher signed his books on "Garvanza" and the "Highland Park," published by Arcadia Press. Many neighbhors came out to purchase the books and it was well received by the community!
All photographs are courtesy of Martha Benedict. For more pictures of the event, go to:

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

R.I.P. Arroyo Seco Parkway

On Two Historic Roads Renovation Encroaches on Preservation Wheels ...The Pasadena Freeway is narrow and twisty by today's standards It was ... The Pasadena Freeway and Merritt Parkway are two historic roads that are crumbling ...wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/.../on-two-historic-roads-renovation...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Garvanza Sign Debate

See this LA Curbed Article about Garvanza:

Who needs community meetings when you can just post your renderings for the world to see? For the last two weeks, this sign was up at the corner of Avenue 66 and Crescent Street in the Garvanza section of Highland Park, the notice talking up a seven-unit condo building. Not surprisingly, there's a tangled mess behind the story of the sign: Developer Alex Ma has stated he wants to tear down two homes on the site for his building, while locals in the neighborhood--an area known for its historical late 19th and early 20th century homes--want him to incorporate the structures in his condo development. It's a "volatile and contentious situation," says Tina Gulotta-Miller, Secretary of the Highland Park Heritage Trust, who has been battling Ma for years over the site. Who knows why exactly the sign was put up (presumably it was put up by Ma or an associate), but is it supposed to taunt the neighbors? Get them on his side?
Complicating everything: Here comes an HPOZ.>>>
While the purpose of the sign may not be clear, Ma originally submitted plans to the city back in 2006 to tear down the two homes on the site, and put up the condo project. According to a rep for the Dept of City Planning, Ma was told by the department to do an environmental impact report for his condo building because of the historical nature of the bigger house. Ma, who didn't respond to request for comment, hasn't completed an EIR yet.
But complicating his plans is the fact that this neighborhood is in process of being designated an Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ), a label that makes altering residences more difficult. Once the HPOZ is in place, "he would have to get approval to tear down [the homes]," says Charlie J. Fisher, Co-chair of the Garvanza Improvement Association. "Which he won’t get from the HPOZ board."
Both Gulotta-Miller and Fisher believe that Ma could preserve the two existing homes, and build his seven units on the site. "I've said to him, 'take the existing structures, you got three units and they could be converted to condos,'" says Fisher, who works as a historical consultant. "And you have space to build out the rest."
For now, neighbors have to deal with a boarded up properties, which haven't seen tenants in years, according to Gullata-Miller. She also accuses Ma of trying to tear down the larger home three years ago, and says he was only stopped when neighbors came out and called the city to complain.
Meanwhile, back to that big sign. Building and Safety launched an investigation after a complaint was made, and the sign was removed yesterday.
And for those interested in the HPOZ issues, there's a workshop tonight (6pm and on) for the proposed designation at the Highland Park Senior Citizen Center 6152 N. Figueroa St. This new HPOZ would essentially expand the existing HPOZ and rename the whole area to the Highland Park-Garvanza HPOZ. It's expected the study will go before the Cultural Heritage Commission on July 15th.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

This Old House Looking for Old LA House to Renovate


The ever popular television series This Old House is looking for a historic home to renovate in Los Angeles County. Below is an article describing the submission process:

"The TV crew is hoping to find a dynamic family with a classic old house in need of help, with plenty of things to save and update. However, the project's scope must be "just right" - not a whole house, but more than just a kitchen. The renovation must be able to be completed in about five or six months, with constructionpotentially beginning as early as August 2010 and finishing by January 2011. The ideal project should already be underway with architectural plans and/orhave the ability to be "fast-tracked" to the building phase.
The selected project will be featured on multiple This Old House episodes airing on PBS in early 2011. The deadline for submissions is June 14, 2010.
Please note that the renovations are completely funded by the homeowners and not by This Old House, though the show coordinates product discounts and donations where possible. All donated items are considered gifts, on which the homeowners pay taxes.
This Old House is reviewing proposals now. To be considered, submit the following:
· Brief description of the renovation project - be sure to also include house style, location and year built· Low-res digital pictures of the home's interior and exterior· Brief description of the current owners· Low-res digital pictures of the homeowners· How much you plan to spend· When you need to start and conclude the project
Please e-mail proposals to pickmyhouse@thisoldhouse.com or submit them via regular mail to: This Old House Project Proposals, P.O. Box 130, Concord,Massachusetts 01742.
Select homeowners will be contacted by show producers for furtherinterviews. Due to the volume of proposals received, This Old House willnot be able to respond personally to everyone or return submitted materials.
For more information about this and other This Old House projects, pleasevisit http://www.thisoldhouse.com/. Viewers can also become a fan of This Old House on Facebook or follow the show on Twitter.
* * *
MEDIA CONTACTSDawn NewellSenior Account ExecutiveWGBH Boston617-300-5344dawn_newell@wgbh.org
Tara Rafieymehr PettinatoAccount ExecutiveWGBH Boston617-300-5328tara_rafieymehr@wgbh.org
Karen AffinitoSenior ManagerThis Old House Ventures, Inc.212-522-3740karen_affinito@timeinc.com
* * *
This Old House is produced by This Old House Productions, Inc., for This OldHouse Ventures, Inc., and is presented on PBS by WGBH Boston. VicePresident of Television Operations is Michael Burton. Senior producer and director is David Vos and senior series producer is Deborah Hood. Series creator is Russell Morash. Funding is provided by GMC, Home Depot, Lumber Liquidators and State Farm. This Old House is the No. 1 multimedia homeenthusiast brand, offering trusted information and expert advice throughaward-winning television, a highly regarded magazine and an information-driven Web site. This Old House Ventures, Inc., is a business of Time Inc., which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Time Warner.
WGBH Boston is America's preeminent public broadcasting producer, the sourceof fully one-third of PBS's primetime lineup, along with some of publictelevision's best-known lifestyle shows and children's programs and many public radio favorites. For more information, visit http://www.wgbh.org/."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

More Arroyo Seco Parkway Updates

Below is a photoshop rendering of the median and side barrier proposed by Caltrans:
All photographs are courtesy of Martha Benedict. This is a current photo of the existing condition on the same stretch of freeway:

Poppies along the parkway...

Historic Curb on the Avenue 43 offramp.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Arroyo Seco Parkway Progress or Preservation?

It's time to blog about what is happening on the Arroyo Seco Parkway, the Parkway "Improvements" and the preservation impacts to this Historic Scenic Byway. Anyone who drives on the 110 Freeway from Pasadena to Los Angeles has seen the construction activity. The surrounding communities of Highland Park, Garvanza, Hermon, Mt. Washington and Montecito Heights have expressed serious concern over the proposed "improvements" to the scenic byway, but our concerns have mostly fallen on the deaf ears of Caltrans.

Since construction began in November 2009, a number of hot issues have arisen from Caltrans's insensitivity to the character-defining features of the freeway. Indigenious Western Sycamore Trees were slated for removal in the name of saving the historic curb.... Then days later, HPHT Board Member, Steve Crouch found original curb material of the Arroyo Seco Parkway next to the northbound Bridewell exit in the staging area. Photographer Martha Benedict, who sits on the Arroyo Seco Neighborhood Council took these images which show an original stamp "Haddock Contractors LTD, 1940". This is historic material that was not supposed to be removed for the barrier project but obviously has and is on it's way out.

On Thursday April 15th, our underserved community received a small victory in our battle to preserve the parkway. Assemblymember Anthony Portantino called on Caltrans to investigate urgent concerns about the Arroyo Seco Parkway upgrade. He has asked Caltrans District Director Michael Miles to address the problems with the community's input before any irrevocable steps occur. See his letter to Caltrans.