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Getty Announces $1.4 Million in Grants for Architectural Preservation of Historic Buildings and Sites in Los Angeles County

21 Preserve L.A. Grantees Exemplify Diversity of Los Angeles' Cultural Heritage

July 27, 2000

Los Angeles--A historic African-American sorority house, an early California adobe, the Wilshire Boulevard Temple, and Frank Lloyd Wright's Freeman House are among 21 Los Angeles County landmarks that will benefit from a total of $1.4 million in grants announced today by the J. Paul Getty Trust. The Getty's Preserve L.A. initiative, a new three-year program launched last December, provides funds to conserve landmark buildings and sites of architectural, cultural, and historical significance. The grantees represent a broad spectrum of landmarks, from historic residences and garden landscapes to museums, schools, libraries, and places of worship that have played a unique role in defining the identity of local communities.

Nineteen recipients were awarded planning grants of up to $75,000 for developing comprehensive strategies for the conservation of historic buildings and districts in the county. In addition, two projects--the historic Griffith Observatory and the Greene & Greene-designed Oaklawn Bridge in South Pasadena--for which exemplary conservation planning has already been completed will receive implementation grants of $200,000 and $150,000, respectively, to conserve and protect the historic structure of these landmark sites.

"We are delighted to support such a wide range of local projects that reflect the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Los Angeles," said Deborah Marrow, director of the Getty Grant Program. "The tremendous interest in Preserve L.A. resulted in a high volume of worthy applications for this initial deadline, and that made the selection process particularly competitive. We look forward to continuing the initiative over the next two years."

Preserve L.A. is designed to complement the national Save America's Treasures campaign, which received one of the Getty's largest single grants--$1.1 million--in 1998. An initiative of the White House Millennium Council in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Save America's Treasures was created to protect artifacts and places of historic value throughout the United States.

Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, comments, "Historic sites are the backbones of our communities and economies, yet they are too often threatened by neglect, deterioration, and insufficient funds. I am delighted that Preserve L.A. is reinforcing the national Save America's Treasures program by providing these additional resources to safeguard the heritage of Los Angeles."

The application deadline for the next round of Preserve L.A. grants will be announced later this year. Interested applicants--including nonprofit organizations responsible for managing historic sites of all types, including schools, religious structures, public buildings, neighborhoods, and commercial areas--should contact the Getty Grant Program office at (310) 440-7320 or visit the Getty's website at

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Preserve L.A.
Grants to Conserve the Architectural Heritage of Los Angeles
Grants Awarded-July 2000

Planning Grants:

Alpha Gamma Omega House (South Los Angeles)
Alpha Gamma Omega Foundation, $50,000

The 1911 Craftsman Alpha Gamma Omega House, in the historic West Adams neighborhood of Los Angeles, is one of the oldest graduate chapters of the first African-American sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha. Founded in 1908, the sorority includes members Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou, and Coretta Scott King. Preserve L.A. funds will support a historic structure report for the future use and management of the chapter house.

Architectural Design Guidelines for the Historic Core of Downtown
L.A. Los Angeles Conservancy, $65,000

The Los Angeles Conservancy, the Historic Core Business Improvement District (BID), the Downtown Center BID, and the Fashion District BID will join forces to develop design guidelines for the rehabilitation of historic buildings within the historic core of downtown Los Angeles. These guidelines will assist property owners, developers, and design professionals in facilitating the preservation and rehabilitation of historic buildings in an area that includes two National Register Districts.

Brand Library
City of Glendale, $65,000

Prominent Glendale developer Leslie C. Brand commissioned and resided in the Brand Mansion, known as El Miradero. Designed by architect Nathaniel Dryden, the 1904 home was inspired by the East Indian Pavilion of the 1893 Colombian World Exposition in Chicago. A blend of Spanish, East Indian, Moorish, and Victorian architectural styles, the home is now a branch of the Glendale Public Library system. Preserve L.A. funds will support a historic structure report, as well as conservation and conditions assessments of the building.

Catholic-Protestant Chapel and the Streetcar Depot (West Los Angeles)
United States Department of Veterans Affairs, $75,000

In continuous operation since 1880, the V.A. Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System includes a variety of historic buildings. Two of these--a 1900 Victorian-era chapel, designed to include both Protestant and Catholic worship spaces, and a rare 1890 trolley depot that once connected trolley lines between Los Angeles and Santa Monica--are the focus of the current planning project. Preserve L.A. grant funds will support the creation of a historic structure report for these buildings.

Christ Faith Mission-Pisgah Home (Highland Park)
Christ Faith Mission, $45,000

The Christ Faith Mission-Pisgah Home, located within the Highland Park Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, is a two-acre missionary complex consisting of 13 structures ranging from the 1890 barn-like Tabernacle to assorted single-family Queen Anne and Craftsman bungalows built between 1900 and 1920. Established in 1895 by Dr. Finis Yoakum, an early leader in the Pentecostal Church movement, Christ Faith Mission is both a church and community service organization. The Preserve L.A. grant will support a conservation plan for the site.

Church of the Blessed Sacrament (Hollywood)
Church of the Blessed Sacrament, $55,000

Blessed Sacrament Parish was the first Catholic parish in Hollywood and remains one of the largest churches in Los Angeles. The Sunset Boulevard campus--with its exuberant Spanish Churrigueresque church and Beaux-Arts parochial school--is a prominent local landmark. The church will use Getty funds to prepare a conservation plan and to explore ways to reconnect the campus to its surroundings.

Faith United Presbyterian Church (Highland Park)
Faith United Presbyterian Church, $65,000

Faith United Presbyterian Church was designed in the Gothic Revival style by architect George M. Lindsey between 1923-1924, during a period of rapid development in the church and throughout northeast Los Angeles. The Getty grant will enable the church to create a comprehensive conservation plan and will contribute to broader preservation efforts related to the Highland Park Historic Preservation Overlay Zone, Los Angeles' largest historic district.

Historic Schools in the LAUSD
Los Angeles Unified School District, $50,000

The Los Angeles Unified School District includes a variety of historically and culturally significant buildings in an assortment of architectural styles, including 1920s classical, Mediterranean revival, Depression-era Streamline Moderne, and Modern and International Style examples. The LAUSD will use grant funds to complete its first historic resource survey to inventory and document of the district's rich array of buildings, campuses, and other historic resources. By providing baseline preservation information, the survey will inform future planning and preservation efforts within the district.

The History of Transportation Mural (Inglewood)
City of Inglewood, $50,000

The History of Transportation is a 1940 Work Projects Administration (WPA) mosaic mural by artist Helen Lundeberg. The 240-foot mural is located at the intersection of Florence Avenue and Rodeo Road in Inglewood, near what was once the main road connecting Los Angeles and Inglewood. It has suffered damage resulting from auto accidents, invasive vegetation, and earthquake damage. Planning funds will be used to identify the best means for conserving the mural.

Italian Hall (Downtown)
Historic Italian Hall Foundation, $35,000

From 1908-1931 the Italian Hall was the headquarters of the Garibaldina Society and the social center of the Italian American community of Los Angeles. Located in downtown Los Angeles, the Hall anchors the northwest quadrant of El Pueblo. Working in concert with El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument, the Foundation will use Preserve L.A. funds to develop a plan to restore the Italian Hall and make it accessible to the public once again.

Kellogg House (Pomona)
Cal Poly Pomona Foundation, $50,000

In 1949, breakfast cereal magnate W. K. Kellogg donated his winter ranch to the State of California to become the southern campus of California Polytechnic University. The 1925 ranch house was designed by Myron Hunt, architect of the Rose Bowl, while Charles Gibbs Adams, whose work included the Hearst Castle Gardens, designed the surrounding landscape. Grant funds will enable an interdisciplinary team of specialists to develop a comprehensive conservation plan for the historic landscape.

Lopez Adobe
City of San Fernando, $50,000

Built in 1882 for Mexican Army officer Don Geronimo Lopez, the Lopez Adobe is an important example of California architecture during the transitional period following the the decline of the missions and the extensive development of the Gold Rush era. Over the years, Lopez Adobe has become a cultural icon for the city, and is one of the few historic structures to survive both the 1971 Sylmar and 1994 Northridge earthquakes. Preserve L.A. planning funds will enable the city to undertake detailed historical, photographic, structural, and condition assessments that will guide future conservation efforts and will enable it to reopen to the public as a house museum.

Pasadena's Residential Historic Districts
City of Pasadena, $50,000

One of the oldest cities in Los Angeles County, Pasadena is home to a number of historic residences dating from the city's initial settlement period (1880s-1900), the Arts and Crafts era (1905-1930), and the post-war period (1945-1960). Grant funds will support the publication of illustrated design guidelines based on the U.S. Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. The guidelines will provide owners with essential information on how to apply these standards to the care and stewardship of their historic properties.

Reginald Johnson Reception Room and Rico Lebrun Mural (Baldwin Hills)
Village Green Owners Association, $45,000

Originally called Baldwin Hills Village, the Village Green is considered by many to be the best West Coast example of "Garden City" planning principles, which sought to encourage planned communities in safe, verdant, garden-like settings. Architect Reginald Johnson designed the development in the 1930s with input from the noted planner Clarence Stein. The project will include an assessment of the feasibility of restoring a 1942 Rico Lebrun Mural in the reception room as well as the development of architectural plans to conserve the Johnson-designed reception room.

Samuel Freeman House (Hollywood)
University of Southern California, $75,000

The Freeman House, designed in 1924, is one of Frank Lloyd Wright's three textile-block houses created as experimental low-cost housing, and as part of his search for a new architectural vocabulary for the Southwestern U.S. The Freeman home served as a center of avant-garde artistic and political activity in Los Angeles from the 1920s until the 1980s, when the family left the house to the University of Southern California. Preserve L.A. funding will support the development of plans for the treatment of the aging textile blocks while the house undergoes a seismic retrofit.

Second Baptist Church (South Los Angeles)
Second Baptist Church, $75,000

Second Baptist Church is the oldest African-American church in Los Angeles. Its landmark 1920s Romanesque Revival architecture was designed by local architect Paul Williams. Today the church remains the core of economic, cultural, and religious life for the surrounding African-American community. Getty funds will be used to research, document, and identify the conservation needs of the church's 74-year-old sanctuary.

Wattles Estate and Gardens (Hollywood)
Hollywood Heritage, Inc., $75,000

Hollywood's only surviving winter estate, the Wattles house and gardens, was built by Nebraskan businessman Gurdon Wattles when he moved to Los Angeles in 1905. Its development began with Wattles' gradual transformation of 49 acres of agricultural land into an elegant home complemented by a dramatic series of orchards, thematic gardens, and naturalistic landscapes. The Preserve L.A. planning project will support the completion of a historic landscape report for the Wattles gardens and the development of conservation treatment guidelines for the site as a whole.

Wilshire Boulevard Temple (Mid-Wilshire)
Wilshire Boulevard Temple, $60,000

The Wilshire Boulevard Temple, one of the largest Reform Synagogues in the country, was built in 1929 in the popular Moorish style. The temple includes notable interior features such as stained glass windows, elaborate decorative painted schemes, and murals by Hugo Ballin depicting the history of the Hebrew people. The Getty's planning grant will help fund a masterplan for the conservation of the building and its decorative arts.

Workman House
City of Industry, $64,000

The Workman House was constructed in 1841 as a three-room adobe farmhouse. The Mexican-era adobe was transformed over the next 30 years--a period of increased agricultural development in the area--to its current form as a picturesque Italianate cottage. The Preserve L.A. project will include thorough documentation of the house, forming a basis for future study to determine the best methods of conservation.

Implementation Grants:

Griffith Observatory (Los Feliz)
Friends of the Observatory, $200,000
Completed in 1935, the iconic Griffith Observatory dominates the southern slope of Mount Hollywood. This Art Deco Moderne landmark is familiar to residents throughout Los Angeles and across the country. Preserve L.A. implementation funding will further the Griffith Observatory Renovation and Expansion Project by supporting the conservation of the Planetarium's original 1934 copper dome roof.

Oaklawn Bridge (South Pasadena)
City of South Pasadena, $150,000

Constructed in 1906 as a link between the South Pasadena Oaklawn Tract and Fair Oaks Avenue, the Oaklawn Bridge was the only bridge designed by architect brothers Henry Mathew Greene and Charles Sumner Greene. An important example of an early reinforced concrete structure, the gently arched bridge is located in the Oaklawn district, which is home to the greatest concentration of Greene & Greene architecture in the U.S. Grant funds will support with the conservation of the bridge.

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About the Getty:

The J. Paul Getty Trust is an international cultural and philanthropic institution devoted to the visual arts that features the Getty Conservation Institute, the Getty Foundation, the J. Paul Getty Museum, and the Getty Research Institute. The J. Paul Getty Trust and Getty programs serve a varied audience from two locations: the Getty Center in Los Angeles and the Getty Villa in Malibu.

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The Getty Foundation fulfills the philanthropic mission of the Getty Trust by supporting individuals and institutions committed to advancing the understanding and preservation of the visual arts locally and throughout the world. Through strategic grants and programs, the Foundation strengthens art history as a global discipline, promotes the interdisciplinary practice of conservation, increases access to museum and archival collections, and develops current and future leaders in the visual arts. The Foundation carries out its work in collaboration with the Getty Museum, Research Institute, and Conservation Institute to ensure the Getty programs achieve maximum impact. Additional information is available at To learn more, subscribe to the Foundation's e-newsletter by visiting