Our lovely local Italianate beauty – the Ebell Club of Los Angeles– has been getting a facelift this past month as workers patch and paint portions of the 1927 Historic Cultural Monument.
“We’ve had to fix concrete spalling in places pretty far out of reach,” Caroline Labiner, Chair of the Ebell’s House Committee, shared with the Buzz. “Water was leaking in via vertical cracks, with the potential for concrete falling off the building. We’ve replaced some of the rusting iron rebar with stainless steel, matched the old board concrete forms with new surfaces, and repaired decorative concrete where it was crumbling.” Labiner noted that it was not a danger to pedestrians or visitors, but essential to maintaining the structure.
The work is being done by Spectra Restoration, a women-owned business that won the competitive bid to do the preservation work from among three highly-qualified companies that specialize in historic buildings. The cost of exterior restoration is coming from the Ebell Club’s restoration fund, and is expected to cost more than $100,000. “We’ve been salting away funds for over 10 years to do this work,” noted Ebell Club President Patty Hill who is thankful for the hard work of members, volunteers and contributors.
Thanks to a Historic Structures Report underway by architectural historians John Heller and Portia Lee (an Ebell member), Labiner, and USC graduate student Maggie Wineland, all physical aspects of the property are being reviewed for restoration and improvement. Partially supported from a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the report looks at windows, some of the rarely-used upper floor rooms, and even landscaping. “We are rethinking the landscaping and how to use materials that are more water-wise, while still in keeping with the historic nature of the place,” Labiner shared.
Included in the almost encyclopedic study of all things Ebell, archivists and volunteer teams are combing through the many Ebell collections, which include paintings, costumes and textiles, furnishings, music and instruments, and even a clock collection, to document and archive the wealth of history owned by the Ebell Club.
Given that the club will celebrate its 120th anniversary in 2014, we can expect that the collection, when finally fully recognized, will provide quite an impressive history of Los Angeles and the women who played a part in its history. All right here, on the corner of Wilshire and Lucerne.