New Historic Preservation Group to Hold Initial Meeting

West Hollywood Historic Preservation Organization meets Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Group intends to be a citizen advocacy group working toward saving and preserving more historic properties in the city.

In 2007, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named West Hollywood as One of America’s 12 Distinctive Destinations.

Despite that honor, some residents feel the city is not doing enough to preserve its historic buildings. They cite the , designed by famed architect Edward Fickett, FAIA, as an example of the city failing to preserve a historic building that could have been adapted for another use.  

Another example is the proposed demolition of Great Hall/Long Hall in Plummer Park, the only buildings in Los Angeles County build by the Depression-era Works Progress Administration.

Also frequently cited is the the film studio run by silent-era superstars Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. with several others slated to meet the wrecking ball.

That’s why a new organization focused on historic preservation is forming. The West Hollywood Historic Preservation Organization will have its initial meeting on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. All people interested in preserving the city’s historic treasures to invited to attend.

“Historic places are vitally important in making a one-of-a-kind community; they create character, an unmistakable sense of place, a special quality that no other city can duplicate,” the group said in a press statement.

“Without its unique social history and the districts, neighborhoods and structures that reflect that culture, past and present, West Hollywood would not be West Hollywood,” the statement continues. “It would lack its defining characteristics and energy, the things that make it special. It could eventually resemble any other city in America. West Hollywood should set its sights higher.”

While the city created a Historic Preservation Commission in 1989, the Weho Historic Preservation Organization feels that citizen advocacy is needed to ensure that more historic properties are preserved.

Tuesday’s organizational meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the historic chapel at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, 6000 Santa Monica Boulevard. The guard at the front gate will direct attendees to free parking.

For more information, visit the group’s website or its Facebook page. Email the group at SaveThePickfairStudios@yahoo.com.  

John Sycamore May 28, 2012 at 05:29 PM
First thing on their agenda should be to find a map of West Hollywood. The Forever Hollywood Cemetery is technically outside the City of West Hollywood. I would expect people who want to save historic properties in West Hollywood to support West Hollywood businesses so that they continue to stay in business. Then they don't turn into vacant properties that later get sold to developers who tear it down to build ugly projects.
Chloe Ross May 28, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Must have had a reason for choosing a graveyard well out of WeHo. Wonder why?
Rudolf Martin May 29, 2012 at 03:36 AM
are you suggesting that people who want historic preservation in west hollywood should keep struggling businesses afloat by holding a lot of meetings on their properties? i'm sure they would have preferred to meet in the Fickett Library or in Great Hall Long Hall. turns out neither of those was available. i find a cemetery to be rather appropriate for such a purpose.
John Sycamore May 29, 2012 at 06:39 AM
I am suggesting that if as the article states, that "some residents feel the city is not doing enough to preserve its historic buildings.... [and]...citizen advocacy is needed to ensure more historic properties are preserved," then why not have the meeting in the City where residents and citizens can attend the meeting. I'm sure their hearts are in the right place but found it funny that they are having the meeting in neighboring Los Angeles. They could have considered the Sunset Tower hotel and Plaza del Sol where Katana is, which are both on the national registry. Or they could have the meeting on the weekend, outdoors in the park for free, next to the Sunset Tower Hotel or next to Great hall/Long hall where those historic buildings can be admired in the background. I'm sure the Forever Hollywood Cemetery also has historic areas worth preserving, but the group states to have a focus only on West Hollywood. Maybe they want to focus both on Hollywood and West Hollywood, as history of WH goes hand in hand with the Hollywood era in many cases. Also I feel we ALL should keep struggling West Hollywood businesses afloat by shopping, eating, and patronizing their services.
hillsman wright May 29, 2012 at 04:22 PM
Hollywood Forever was chosen as the organizational meeting site for several reasons. The space was offered to us for free without the charges involved in meeting at a WeHo public facility such as Plummer Park, the auditorium at West Hollywood Park, or the new City Council chambers. Hollywood Forever is a preservation success story.The park-like greenspace is a reminder of what we stand to lose if the destruction of Plummer Park is allowed to go forward. It is WeHo adjacent, within easy walking distance and convenient to public transit. When donations come in, the group can afford to use WeHo public facilities. Ideally, a business or organization will step forward and donate space for future meetings. The organizers hope that people who are not necessarily WeHo residents, but love our city, will join and participate, as is the case with the membership of Hollywood Heritage, the LA Conservancy, LA Historic Theatre Foundation and numerous other preservation organizations. For these reasons and many more, I hope folks will not allow the gift of a free organizational meeting site detract from the important issues a WeHo preservation organization can and will address.
90069 May 29, 2012 at 04:56 PM
I hope that this group works with the already exsiting Historical Preservation Committee the City has as well. We shouldn't have dueling historical preservation groups and I'm still dreaming of the day THAT commission actually posts a map of all the historic sites of West Hollywood on the City's website. Seems bizzare that this does not exist. I appretiate the signage and markers however. I do think it is good to protect important projects from history. However, I also respect that "important" is in the eye of the beholder.
Stephanie May 29, 2012 at 07:03 PM
It is my understanding the organizers of this worthy idea are allowed to meet for free in Hollywood Forever, which is in LA but adjacent. Other places, actually in WeHo, wanted $100.00 for the first hr. They might have met in the Picfair Studio Bldig...but...oh, wait...the City of WeHo allowed that to be demolished. Outside the Lot, (former Warner Bros. Studio) on SM Bl. is a brown historic marker sign that reads "Potential Historic Landmark", it's a pity, isn't it? West Hollywood is home to 82 historically designated bldgs. Of those 82, the City owns ONE! That is Tara on Laurel, which, if not for an 8 yr battle by the citizens, that went all the way to the CA Supreme Court and cost the City almost a million bucks in legal fees, would be senior housing with underground parking. That's it. WeHo City Hall is not really into restoration, as it turns out. The two WPA structures in Plummer Park are owned by the City of West Hollywood but they plan to demolish those for some open space. Fiesta Hall was designed by noted architect, Henry L. Gogerty, who also build The Palace Theatre and the Brown Derby. The city thinks that they should shear the building in half, slap an ultra modern facade on it and pass it off as a "world-class performance space". One might "buy" into that theory except for the folding chairs and metal risers that were supposed to be the seating. Again, if not for the citizens they would already be gone and/or decimated for the sake of underground parking
Stephanie May 29, 2012 at 07:18 PM
@ 90069, I asume you mean the Historic Preservation Commission, whose members are appointed by the City Council members, who do their best to make knowledgable recommendations to the Council but their input does not always seem to have the impact we might hope for. A nonprofit Society could certainly work in conjunction with the HPC. As to your comment about about respect being in the eye of the beholder, it makes you wonder why the City of WeHo granted historic designation to poor, desperately-in-need-of-restoration Irv's Burgers but are more than eager to bulldoze Great Hall/Long Hall, which is classic Spanish Colonial Revival architecture. My suspicion is because Irv's was too small a space to interest a developer.
James F. Mills May 29, 2012 at 10:51 PM
90069 -- Ask and you shall receive. Here's the link to the map to all the historic sites in Weho. http://www.weho.org/index.aspx?page=1037
90069 May 30, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Thanks James!
John Sycamore May 30, 2012 at 02:43 AM
Thank you for explanation hillsman. I do wish your group a lot of success.
Pastor Scott T. Imler May 30, 2012 at 09:42 AM
If I wasn't in Cedar's I would have gladly gone to Hollywood Forever forimport I iimportant gathering. I would have also glady offered one of West Hollywood's own historic venues at no charge Crescent Heights Church at Foutain & Fairfax the fate of which currently hangs in the balance as well. When PATCH ran its first story on this new effort I sent an inquiry to the person named in that article offering same but ever heard back about a first meeting, perhaps my e-mail got lost in th ether. it happens. In any event, it is a standing offer at no cost for a noble and important effort. Pastor Scott Imler
Salvador Gomez May 31, 2012 at 07:54 AM
Chloe...read above!
Salvador Gomez May 31, 2012 at 07:56 AM
Sadly, the city sponsored "Historical Committee" has no intention of getting into the realm of preserving land or structures under their current doctrine. This information came to us from the current Mayor Mr. Prang.
Salvador Gomez May 31, 2012 at 07:58 AM
Pastor Imler, please send us an email (savethepickfairstudios@yahoo.com) and we will add you to our mailing list. Thank you for the generous offer.


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