The Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society held its 42nd annual meeting last Sunday at the historic Gilmore Adobe, honoring the founding of Rancho-La Brea, the area that become our neighborhoods.
Adrian Scott Fine, Director of Advocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy, spoke to the group about recent efforts to designate CBS Television Studios a Los Angeles Historic Cultural Monument. (The City Council approved the application at Tuesday’s City Council Meeting.) Fine recalled how the Conservancy started the HCM application once news broke that CBS was considering putting the property on the market.
“This was the first and largest of the studios, a true “television factory,” explained Fine. “Elvis Presley made his first television appearance there on the Ed Sullivan show. He was known for his gyrating hips, so the network only filmed him from the waist up.”
Fine explained how the Conservancy carefully crafted the applicatio, documenting the character-defining features of the building that will be preserved, but allowing other parts of the 14.5 acre site to be considered for redevelopment. He explained that any development plan would have to preserve a “view shed” of the front of the building, so it would always be seen from Beverly Boulevard and not hidden behind another structure. Fine said he was deeply appreciative of the support from CBS, which really embraced the preservation effort. He also thanked CD4 Council Member David Ryu, who was also at the WSHPHS meeting, for his support of the application.
Later, Ryu commended the efforts of the Historical Society, and his City Council predecessors Tom LaBonge and John Ferraro, for their efforts to preserve the neighborhood’s history. He said was delighted to have a piece of that local history in his office. He welcomed visitors to check out his “historic” John Ferraro couch, coffee table and two leather chairs, thanks to the efforts of staff member Renee Weitzer, who worked for both LaBonge and Ferraro.
“Ferraro was LaBonge’s mentor and it meant a lot to me to have that connection,” said Ryu. He commended the Conservancy for its great work preserving neighborhoods.
“Los Angeles is a constellation of beautiful neighborhoods. No two look the same,” said Ryu. “I’m proud to be a member of the historical society that advocates for preservations of these neighborhoods.”
Two term WSHPHS president Judy Zeller, turned over the reigns to Richard Battaglia, who, along with Myrna Gintel (First Vice President, Programs), Damona Hoffman (2nd Vice President, Membership), Carol Wertheim (3rd Vice President, Secretary, Historic Research), and Fluff McLean (Treasurer), will lead the organization next year.
The following are members of the 2018-2019 Board of Trustees: Richard Battaglia, June Bilgore, Chris Blakely, Sandy Boeck, Laura Foti Cohen, Brenda Cooke, Jacqueline Corkill, Vita Cortese, Jolin Crofts, Jane Gilman, Karen Gilman, Myrna Robin Gintel, Ellen Grosser, Carol Henning, Damona Hoffman, Rafael Marchena-Huyke, Renae Jacobs, Juanita Kempe, Suz Landay, Beate McDermott, Fluff McLean, Caroline Moser, Joanne Osinoff, Elizabeth Patterson, Connie Richey, Patricia Foster Rye, Kathy Saldana, Steve Wienberg, Carol Wertheim, and Marlene Zweig. The following serve on the 2018-2019 Advisory Board: Gloria Aaron, Yvonne Auerbach, Betsy Blakely, Bill Boeck, Yvonne Cazier, Lyn McEwen Cohen, Cilgia Halprin, Gerry Kimbrough, Peter Landay, Carolyn Layport, Sandy McLean, Mary E. Nichols, Robert Reimann, Randi Rose, and Judy Zeller.
Carol Henning, Chair of Historic Landmark Awards, presented Award #10: Respectful Renovation and Adapted Re-Use to Hollywood El Centro at 6211 De Longpre Avenue, for its beautifully landscaped and gated community of senior and low-income family housing. Originally planned as flats in 9122, there are the now 88 bungalow and two-story units in Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial revival styles. Thomas Safaran & Associates purchased the property in 1992-93 and chose to rehabilitate the bungalows and the two-story buildings to preserve their historic features. They continue to update the property to provide tenants with amenities like playgrounds, community rooms, libraries, computer labs, basketball courts and gardens. The Windsor Square-Hancock Park Historical Society members were especially pleased to recognize Thomas Safran & Associates for their stewardship of this historic property as affordable housing.
Following the presentations, guests were invited to tour the Gilmore Adobe, normally closed to the public. According to the A.F. Gilmore Company, the adobe, built in 1852, originally consisted of two rooms. The house had unfinished adobe walls, compacted dirt floors, and a flat “brea” (tar) roof. The structure has been modified over the years with the additional of rooms and a tile roof. In the mid-1940s, Earl B. Gilmore returned to his birthplace to live, and commissioned many modern upgrades, including plumbing and electricity. The house remained the home of Gilmore family until 1976, when Mrs. Earl B. Gilmore died, and then it became the offices of the A.F. Gilmore Company.
The WSHPHS welcomes members. Membership fees are $35 for individuals, $50 for a couple or family, and $7.50 for a full-time student under 23. Visit the organization’s website for more information.