Most residents of the Greater Wilshire area know and appreciate the variety and quality of the architectural resources in our part of town. But many – like a great number of Angelenos – may not be so familiar with the often hidden gems and even older, more colorful history in other nearby neighborhoods. For example, many people have heard of Historic West Adams – a bit south and east of our Greater Wilshire area – but many even long-time residents have never visited or explored it, and have only a vague “I’ve-heard-they-have-some-nice-houses-there” idea of the place.
So what happens when a photographer/former BBC director moves to LA, goes in search of affordable housing and stumbles onto the architectural wonders of West Adams? His jaw drops, he falls in love…and he does what he does best: comes up with the idea for “Untold LA“ – a photo/video/website/iBook project to document the treasure trove of West Adams architecture and history, to share it with the world.
Jett Loe was born in California, but spent the majority of his adult life in London. He recently returned to the U.S. and landed in Los Angeles, where his wife is a student. On his first day in LA, he took a bus to West Adams to answer a housing ad. He got off at Western and Washington, not impressed with the “ugly” strip malls he saw. But then he turned the corner onto a residential street…and was forever changed. “I was stunned” by the styles and craftsmanship of the houses, he says in a video recounting the experience. And that led to his proposed labor of love – a multi-media project that would document the history and architectural wonders of his new neighborhood. He’s hoping to fund the two-month production through the online incubator KickStarter.com, where people who support his vision can contribute any amount from $1 on up.
You can see the video Loe produced to promote “Untold LA” – and make a donation, if you’re so inclined – at the Untold LA Kickstarter page. Donors at certain levels can receive a free copy of his iBook when it’s done, high-quality photo prints…and other thank you gifts.
Sounds like a great love letter to a great neighborhood. And wouldn’t it be terrific if the idea catches on, and we start seeing more such treatments of other fabulous LA neighborhoods? What better way to promote our too-often unsung architectural history and its preservation.