The greatest historic preservation loss in Los Angeles was the 1960s eminent domain seizure of Bunker Hill, with almost 150 acres of homes, hotels and businesses demolished for a failed redevelopment scheme. While City Hall smeared the doomed neighborhood as a blighted slum, 21st century Angelenos look longingly at photographs of Victorian buildings like The Castle and The Melrose Hotel and lament all we lost.
We can’t return to old Bunker Hill except in our imaginations, but some remarkable pockets of Victorian residential architecture still can be found in the historic neighborhoods of Los Angeles and in the outdoor museum Heritage Square.
Join Esotouric, L.A.'s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for an immersive webinar celebrating some of the most beautiful and fascinating Victorian Los Angeles survivors, and the dedicated preservationists who restore and bring the histories of these special buildings to life.
Featured on this webinar:
• A virtual visit to Carroll Avenue in the city’s first Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ), Angelino Heights, where we’ll meet Kevin Segall and Steph Rogers, who are currently restoring The Historic J.B. Winston House (Joseph Cather Newsom, 1889, Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument No. 189), and historian Nathan Marsak will tell the story of the Newsom Brothers as builders and promoters of a highly recognizable style of Victorian residential architecture.
• We’ll talk about Heritage Square, an outdoor museum created to house architecturally significant Victorian houses whose owners wanted to redevelop the land on which they sat. You’ll hear how this narrow strip of city-owned property along the Arroyo Seco Parkway was populated with refugee landmarks, and Gordon Pattison shares the tragic tale of his family’s two Bunker Hill Victorians that were moved to Heritage Square only to be lost to arson. Plus highlights from Kevin and Steph’s wedding there!
• Nathan Marsak will provide an overview of the work of influential Los Angeles architect R.B. Young, and Dydia DeLyser and Paul Greenstein will share their experience restoring and obtaining historic designation for their Queen Anne-style Young-Gribling Residence (R.B. Young, 1885, Los Angeles Historical-Cultural Monument No. 1017). The home is the architect’s only surviving residence and a prominent landmark perched high above Lincoln Heights. What used to stand above it on the hill will amaze you!
• Plus a virtual visit to the remarkably intact National Register South Bonnie Brae Tract in the Pico-Union neighborhood.
And more Victorian survivors to be revealed! This webinar is an illustrated lecture packed with rare photos that will bring the architectural treasures of Los Angeles to life. And you'll find the look of an Esotouric webinar is a little different than your standard dry Zoom session, with lively interactive graphics courtesy of the mmhmm app.
After the presentations, Kim, Richard, Kevin, Steph, Paul, Dydia, Nathan and Gordon will answer your questions, so get ready to be a part of the show.
Can't join in when the webinar is happening? You'll have access to the full replay for one week. Please note: the 90 minute running time is just an estimate, and we often run long because the stories take on a life of their own. You can always come back and watch the last part of the webinar recording later.
So tune in and discover the incredible history of Los Angeles, with the couple whose passion for the city is infectious.
FYI: Immediately upon registering, you will receive a separate, automated email containing the link to join the webinar. The webinar is reliable on all devices, Mac, PC, iOS and Android.
About Esotouric: As undergraduates at UC Santa Cruz, Kim Cooper and Richard Schave inexplicably hated one other on sight. (Perhaps less inexplicably, their academic advisor believed they were soul mates). A chance meeting 18 years later proved much more agreeable. Richard wooed Kim with high-level library database access, with which she launched the 1947project true crime blog, highlighting a crime a day from the year of The Black Dahlia and Bugsy Siegel slayings. The popular blog’s readers demanded a tour, and then another. The tour was magical, a hothouse inspiring new ways for the by-then-newlyweds to tell the story of Los Angeles. Esotouric was born in 2007 with a calendar packed with true crime, literary, architecture and rock and roll tours. Ever since, it has provided a platform for promoting historic preservation issues (like the Save the 76 Ball campaign and the landmarking of Charles Bukowski’s bungalow), building a community of urban explorers (including dozens of free talks and tours under the umbrella of LAVA) and digging ever deeper into the secret heart of the city they love.
About Dydia DeLyser: Dr. Dydia DeLyser is a feminist cultural-historical geographer and associate professor in the Department of Geography & the Environment at California State University, Fullerton. Her research focuses on issues of landscape, memory, and preservation in 19th-21st century California. Her book, Ramona Memories: Tourism and the Shaping of Southern California won the 2005 Globe Book Award and she has published some fifty scholarly articles and book chapters. Her research is often auto-ethnographic and participatory – drawing herself and her community together in her research – as in her most recent book, Neon: A Light History, co-authored with her husband Paul Greenstein (who makes and restores neon signs), for which a portion of profits benefit the Museum of Neon Art on whose Board DeLyser serves. She is a native Angeleno, and lives in Victorian house in Lincoln Heights together with Paul and their fox terrier Archie Leach.
About Paul Greenstein: Paul Greenstein is an independent scholar of Los Angeles and California history. He is lead author (with Lionel Rolfe and Nigey Lennon) of the only book about Llano del Rio’s history, “Bread an Hyacinths: The Rise and Fall of Utopian Los Angeles,” and has been leading tours of the Llano area since the 1980s. He often integrates his research with his expertise in other areas: he has restored dozens of antique cars and motorcycles, and has published articles about those vehicles and the restoration process. His most recent book (co-authored with Dydia DeLyser), draws from Paul’s forty-five years of experience making an restoring neon signs in the first book to tell neon’s history through a focus on Los Angeles The book was written to benefit the Museum of Neon Art in the pandemic, and is available on their website: https://store.neonmona.org/collections/books-media/products/preorder-book-neon-a-light-history
About Nathan Marsak: Nathan is the author of the books “Bunker Hill Los Angeles: Essence of Sunshine and Noir” and “Los Angeles Neon” and can be found spitting tacks in the character of The Cranky Preservationist. His blog is http://bunkerhilllosangeles.com.
About Gordon Pattison: Gordon Pattison is a native son of Bunker Hill. His family owned the Salt Box and the Castle, the last two homes standing after the neighborhood was cleared for redevelopment. To learn more, see Gordon's LAVA Sunday Salon presentation Old Bunker Hill: One Family's Perspective. Gordon can also be found talking about Angels Flight Railway on Off-Ramp, visiting the few remaining pieces of his family's houses at Heritage Square Museum, on KCET's Lost L.A. series Lost Hills episode, L.A. As Subject's funicular feature and remembering novelist John Fante at his square dedication and atop Bunker Hill. He can also be found on Esotouric's The Lowdown on Downtown tours, sharing memories of lost Bunker Hill.
About Kevin Segall and Steph Rogers: They are presently restoring and researching the history of Joseph Cather Newsom’s 1889 J.B. Winston House on Carroll Avenue. Follow their preservation journey online at http://historicwinstonhouse.com and on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/historicwinstonhouse) and Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/historicwinstonhouse)
Rights and permissions: By attending an Esotouric webinar, you acknowledge that the entirety of the presentation is copyrighted, and no portion of the video or text may be reproduced in any fashion.
After his undergraduate studies in art history at UC Santa Cruz, Richard Schave set out to explore the American interior as an itinerant brick mason. His return to his native Los Angeles coincided with a renewed acquaintance with Kim Cooper, a once-detested academic colleague who would become his bride. Together, fusing scholarly research with new digital tools, they launched the 1947project time travel blog, along with In SRO Land, and On Bunker Hill, as well as the Esotouric tour company. With the success of Kim’s True Crime tours, Richard developed a series of Literary and California Culture excursions. Richard is a dedicated preservationist, and the host of the LAVA Sunday Salon and the LAVA Literary Salon series, named Best L.A. Literary Salon by Los Angeles Magazine. He also curates an ongoing series of forensic science programs at Cal State Los Angeles. Richard is also a reader at the Huntington Library.
Kim Cooper (“one of L.A.’s brightest torchbearers” – Electric Literature) is the creator of 1947project, the crime-a-day time travel blog that spawned Esotouric’s popular crime bus tours, including Pasadena Confidential, the Real Black Dahlia and Weird West Adams. She is the author of The Kept Girl, the acclaimed historical mystery starring the young Raymond Chandler and the real-life Philip Marlowe, and of The Raymond Chandler Map of Los Angeles. Her collaborative L.A. history blogs include On Bunker Hill and In SRO Land. With husband Richard Schave, Kim curates the Salons of LAVA – The Los Angeles Visionaries Association. When the third generation Angeleno isn’t combing old newspapers for forgotten scandals, she is a passionate advocate for historic preservation of signage, vernacular architecture and writer’s homes. Kim was for many years the editrix of Scram, a journal of unpopular culture. Her books include Fall in Love For Life, Bubblegum Music is the Naked Truth, Lost in the Grooves and an oral history of Neutral Milk Hotel.
I came to praise Los Angeles, not to bury her. And yet developers, City Hall and social reformers work in concert to effect wholesale demolition, removing the human scale of my town, tossing its charm into a landfill. The least I can do is memorialize in real time those places worth noting, as they slide inexorably into memory.
In college I studied under Banham. I learned to love Los Angeles via Reyner’s teachings (and came to abjure Mike Davis and his lurid, fanciful, laughably-researched assertions). In grad school I focused on visionary urbanism and technological utopianism—so while some may find the premise of preserving communities so much ill-considered reactionary twaddle, at least I have a background in the other side.
Anyway, I moved to Los Angeles, and began to document. I drove about shooting neon signs. I put endless miles across the Plains of Id on the old Packard as part of the 1947project; when Kim Cooper blogged about some bad lunch meat in Compton, I drove down to there to check on the scene of the crime (never via freeway—you can’t really learn Los Angeles unless you study her from the surface streets).
But in short order one landmark after another disappeared. Few demolitions are as contentious or high profile as the Ambassador or Parker Center; rather, it is all the little houses and commercial buildings the social engineers are desperate to destroy in the name of the Greater Good. The fabric of our city is woven together by communities and neighborhoods who no longer have a say in their zoning or planning so it’s important to shine a light on these vanishing treasures, now, before the remarkable character of our city is wiped away like a stain from a countertop. (But Nathan, you say, it’s just this one house—no, it isn’t. Principiis obsta, finem respice.)
And who knows, one might even be saved. Excelsior!