Tag Archives: preservation

West Blvd. Bridge Hearing – TOMORROW – Please Attend Or Write In For Support

There is a meeting downtown tomorrow (Thursday) for the West Blvd. Bridge, which MINC and WAHA are trying to get it declared a historical landmark, and therefore protected to a large degree. Please see the attached document.

 If you can attend, please do so – otherwise there is an email address at the bottom of this message that you may write to as well.  The more people that write in and show support – the better.

(The bridge is over Venice Blvd near Lowes.)

Please see the message below from WAHA President, John Patterson.

—– Forwarded Message ——

From: President – West Adams Heritage 
Sent: Monday, July 30, 2012 12:49 PM
Subject: West Bridge CH Commission Hearing on Thursday

 I’m pleased to let you know that the Cultural Heritage Commission will be hearing WAHA’s submission written by Mitzi Mogul on the West Bridge nomination on Thursday, 8/2 at 10:00 a.m. on the 10th floor hearing room of City Hall. 

 It would be very helpful to actively solicited interested members of the neighborhood to attend this meeting to show community support for the nomination.  Please be sure to distribute an announcement to your general MINC mailing lists.   Please find below some notes provided by Mitzi that offer a few suggestions for either the email itself and/or comments that people might be able to share during the public comment portion of the hearing, or in letters that could be emailed to Lambert Giessinger at the Cultural Heritage Commission.

 Thanks for help in getting the word out!!

 John Patterson

 The following are suggestions for comments to be made to the Cultural Heritage Commission at the hearing on August 2, 2012 . Feel free to use your own words to express these thoughts or add your own personal feelings. The purpose of the hearing is for the Commission to decide whether to take the nominations “under consideration” — the first step in the process.  Community support is crucial.


 1. The bridge is the direct result of a significant event (Great Train Wreck of 1913) and changed the course of urban development and transportation patterns. The current bridge was constructed in 1933.

 2.  It is an iconic landmark marking the western entry to the West Adams district.

 3.  While the train made possible the creation of new neighborhoods, the bridge directly facilitated their success.

 4.  This bridge was designed and built to accommodate trains, automobiles, and pedestrians.

 5.  The Art Deco design is elegant and complete in its integrity. The use of the Art Deco style demonstrates civic maturity in public works (as opposed to private structures, ie office buildings, theaters, homes, etc.).

 6.   It is one of only two bridges of this type on the “west side” (the other is Main Street in Santa Monica over the freeway) and therefore also represents an era when various modes of transportation were in harmony with architectural design and engineering improvements. (By “type” we mean not over water and not simply a single-use bridge, ie footbridge, auto, or train.)

Attached are some bullet points for the two nominations before the Cultural Heritage Commission on Thursday. 

In lieu of attendance, letters of support can be sent by email to Lambert.Giessinger@lacity.org, attention Cultural Heritage Commission.

WAHA – West Blvd. Bridge Hearing

The West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA), along with MINC has submitted its application to monument the West Street Bridge. 

The hearing is Aug. 2 at 10:00a, 10th fl, City Hall at the Cultural Heritage Commission office. If anyone can come in support, it would be greatly appreciated. This is your chance to do something to help our immediate area. Preventing the demolition of the bridge preserves history and keeps the road underneath from becoming an even busier corridor. 

Any questions, contact Thom Washington (t2r2w2@yahoo.com), the MINC rep in charge of the committee to save and beautify the bridge  – or LaFayette Sq. neighbor Mitzi Mogul, the person who wrote the application.

Williams-Designed Golden State Building – South Central Los Angeles Regional Center – New Development

As was presented at the MINC Stakeholder Meeting last night, the South Central Los Angeles Regional Center (SCLARC) is looking for support for a new development on the site of the historic Paul Williams designed Golden State Mutual Building, at the corner of Adams Blvd. and Western Ave., in West Adams.  The plan is to preserve the historic structure, to be used as an office building, while constructing a new structure for SCLARC in what is currently the existing parking lot for Golden State Mutual.  There will be a green space area linking the two buildings, and the plan is to put up some sort of monument as a tribute to the architect Paul Williams.  The new structure will have above and below ground parking – that will incorporate the existing spaces, and create new ones for the new building – and the height of the new building will not impede the views from the top floor of the historic Golden State Mutual Building.  (The historic murals still installed in the Golden State Mutual Building are still part of an on-going lawsuit.)

For more details about SCLARC, and the services thy offer, you can go to http://www.sclarc.org/.

For more details about the Golden State Mutual Building, and the planned new development, go to http://www.intersectionssouthla.org/index.php/story/a_trifecta_of_african_american_culture_in_south_la/ or see the details in the Curbed LA article below: 

Williams-Designed Golden State Building is LA’s 1,000th Landmark


Los Angeles has designated its one thousandth historic-cultural monument (number one: the Leonis Adobe on the border of Calabasas) and it’s a goodie–University Park’s Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building. GSM was founded in 1925 to serve African-Americans who’d been denied coverage elsewhere and it became one of the biggest black-owned businesses west of the Mississippi, according to the Office of Historic Resources newsletter. In 1948, it commissioned Paul Williams, the first black member of the AIA, to design a headquarters on West Adams Boulevard.

Williams commissioned Hale Woodruff and Charles Alston to paint murals of early black Californians for the lobby of the building; in March, as the state was liquidating GSM, the Smithsonian kicked up some controversy when it tried to buy and remove the murals. It withdrew its offer pretty quickly and meanwhile the LA Conservancy’s Modern Committee nominated the building for landmark status. But while “The designation identifies the murals as significant character-defining features of the building,” according to the OHR, “the question of whether the murals are an asset separate from the building remains the subject of a legal dispute.”
· Los Angeles Reaches Preservation Milestone: Historic-Cultural Monument #1000 [OHR]
· Smithsonian Wants Murals Out of Williams’ Golden State Mutual [Curbed LA]

Saving the Golden State Mutual Murals – WAHA Tour This Saturday 6/4

WAHA’s tour of African American landmarks in West Adams is this Saturday, June 4th.  Golden State Mutual Insurance company built and curated an incredible art collection that is being auctioned off, and WAHA would like attention drawn to art that should stay in Los Angeles, preferably at the California African American Museum and Exposition Park.    Please spread the word and come join this walk through history.  


West Adams’ Golden Legacies
West Adams Heritage Association
presents Golden State Mutual Life Building & Murals
Cultural Landmarks of African American History
Annual Spring Tour
Saturday June 4, 2011 | Noon – 4 p.m. | visit www.westadamsheritage.org for more information

A Preservation Victory

WAHA is pleased to let you know that we have another reason to celebrate this holiday season. After several years of historic preservation advocacy by WAHA, Mount St. Mary’s College, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, and many other concerned West Adams residents who wanted to keep the Chester Place Historic District intact and save the Zanja, Mount St. Mary’s College has stepped in and purchased the St. Vincent church parking lot. This will end a development proposal that would have significantly impacted the character-defining features of the historic setting by its massing, scale, and spatial relationships. At this time, the open space will be preserved.

As you can see from Mount St. Mary’s College announcement (below), the proposed development of student housing at Figueroa and Adams would have had many negative effects on Chester Place and its many historic structures, along with serious impacts on the students and the nuns who live adjacent to the property. WAHA has been equally concerned ever since the project was announced for this historically sensitive location in Historic West Adams.

We thank Mount St. Mary’s for being a great neighbor and a true partner in our historic preservation efforts.

The WAHA Board would also like to thank the members of WAHA’s Historic Preservation Committee (Jean Frost, Chair, Jim Childs, Laura Meyers, Mitzi March Mogul, David Raposa, Roland Souza, Eric Bronson), who worked tirelessly to prepare (literally) hundreds of pages of documentation and testimony in support of saving the historic district and opposing the project. It underscores the reason why WAHA, through its Historic Preservation Committee, takes the time to diligently review environmental documents and arrange for appearances at public hearings. In this matter, the proposed development began with a Mitigated Negative Declaration which was circulated for comment. The comment by WAHA and others was responsible for the City requiring an EIR. Later, the Draft and Final EIR provided the opportunity to scrutinize the true effects of the project. With the Final EIR being issued, WAHA was reaching a crossroad regarding what action might be necessary to prevent this insensitive and harmful proposed project. This will now be unnecessary. Many other WAHA members joined this effort, including John Arnold, Maggi Fajnor, Jim Robinson, Suzanne Lloyd Simmons, Terry Speth, and so many others too numerous to mention. We appreciate everyone’s effort to make this hard-fought victory a reality.

That said, it is truly Mount St. Mary’s College that deserves our special thanks today. Please join me in a big round of applause!!

My best regards this Holiday Season,

John Patterson, PresidentWest Adams Heritage Association

Mount St. Mary’s College announcement:

Dear neighbors:

Mount St. Mary’s College President Jacqueline Powers Doud just made the following announcement to the College community, and I wanted to make sure that you had also received the news.

Mount St. Mary’s College closed escrow today on the St. Vincent church parking lot, which had been purchased by a developer in March 2007. The building project that had been proposed for the lot would have adversely affected the surrounding neighborhood, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet at Stimson House and the College in several ways, including compromising privacy, elevated noise levels, shadowing and diminished views. One of the overriding factors in this decision is the adverse impact the building project would have had on the unique historical and cultural character of our neighborhood.

We do not have current plans to build on the lot, but will continue to use it for parking. We will also provide the St. Vincent parishioners with parking for liturgical services and other official Church functions on the site. Historical preservation of our Doheny campus is a priority to the College, and we are pleased to be part of the West Adams neighborhood.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

Best wishes,

Debbie ReamDirector of Public Relations
Mount St. Mary’s College
10 Chester Pl.
Los Angeles, CA 90007
213.477.2544 Fax