WAHA E-News 6-20-2007

WAHA's Annual Preservation Event, Weird West Adams, and more!

By Laura Meyers


3 p.m. (reception) to 6 p.m.
At the Mrs. Susan Wilshire Residence, 2501 4th Avenue, West Adams Avenues (three blocks west of Arlington, one block north of Adams)

WAHA hosts its Annual Historic Preservation Meeting in June at the historic Mrs. Susan Wilshire Residence, a 1912 Colonial Revival designed by famed architects Hudson and Munsell. Mrs. Wilshire was the wife of George Wilshire and mother of H. Gaylord Wilshire, the entrepreneur/developer for whom Wilshire Boulevard is named.

We have a great program planned. (At least, we think so!) This past year, the City of Los Angeles has begun to require visual presentations in Powerpoint about proposed historic landmarks. As a result, preservation advocates have had to learn how to be visual storytellers, using vintage photos and other graphic material to tell the history of the people and architects of our wonderful West Adams community.

For this event, we will be showing and telling the story of four of our local landmarks (and soon-to-be landmarks). See old photographs, drawings, and ephemera related to Felix Chevrolet, the first (1878) farmhouse in Jefferson Park, a 1902 Tudor mansion on what was then Bankers' Row by USC, and a fab Craftsman/Art Nouveau mansion in Victoria Park built by Nellie Holmes Shannon and Michael Shannon, L.A.'s first traffic cop.

We will also have copies (to give away) of recent successful L.A. Historic Cultural Monument applications, so if you are considering preparing one yourself, you can see how it is done these days.

Special guest: Ken Bernstein, manager of Los Angeles's Historic Resources Department.

We'll be serving light refreshments: sweets and savories, and beverages. Please do us a favor and RSVP so we have an idea of how many people to expect. Send an e-mail to WAHAHoliday@aol.com, and many thanks.


11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (*Tour ends just in time for WAHA's Annual Preservation Meeting to begin - see info above)
Meet at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and 25th Street in West Adams Avenues (just west of Arlington, north of Adams) to board the bus

Scene of the West Adams crime: On this tour through the West Adams' notorious historic crime settings, passengers thrill to the carjacking horror of silent film starlet Myrtle Gonzalez, shiver as Dream Killer Otto Parzyjegla chops his newspaper publisher boss to pieces with the paper-cutting blade, shudder at the pickled poignancy of the murder-by-brandy of Benjamin Weber, marvel at the Krazy Kafitz family and their litany of murder-suicides, attempted husband slayings, Byzantine estate battles and mad bombings, then gag at terrible fate visited on kidnap victim Marion Parker by The Fox.

There will be some celebrity sites along the route, including the death locales of Motown soul sensation Marvin Gaye and 1920s star Angels baseball catcher Gus Sandberg. And the architecture to is to die for.

The tour is sponsored by Esotouric, which leads bus tours into some of Los Angeles's most interesting neighborhoods -- the ones often overlooked by traditional touring companies. It's not your ordinary tour bus company. Esotouric's tour themes are provocative and complex, but never dry, mixing crime and social history, rock and roll and architecture, literature and film, fine art and urban studies, with original research and startling observations.

The June 23rd outing is a special edition of the Weird West Adams tour designed especially for members of the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles and the West Adams Heritage Association. Passengers are encouraged to dress in whatever period attire best suits them. Current (or brand new!) members of WAHA or ADSLA can reserve seats by phone (at 323-223-2767) or e-mail (via the contact form on the website below) and save $5 off the $55 ticket cost, provided they pay by check. Non-members can either pay by check or online using the link below.

There are no paper tickets: your name will be on a list at the bus door. Check in is at 10:30 a.m. for an 11 a.m. sharp departure from the park at the intersection of 3rd Avenue and West 25th Street in West Adams. There is street parking in the neighborhood. Watch for red zones and park legally.

Visit http://www.esotouric.com/adams-6-23-07 to sign up and/or get more information.

The tour is planned to end just as WAHA's Annual Preservation Meeting begins, one block away (yep, you can leave your cars parked where they are.)

3). CELEBRATE JULY 4th WITH WAHA Wednesday, July 4

1-4 p.m. The Stearns-Dockweiler Residence, 27 St. James Park (North of Adams, west of Chester Place/Mount St. Mary's, between Figueroa and Hoover)

Please join your West Adams friends and neighbors at WAHA's annual 4th of July picnic. Everyone is welcome! This year's star-spangled afternoon of patriotic fun will be held once again at the home of Jim and Janice Robinson on the lawns of their lovely landmark Victorian-era Colonial Revival mansion.

If you are new to West Adams, this event is the one to attend! Lots of new neighbors to meet, and lots of fun for the kids.

Once again, we'll have live music to entertain us. We'll enjoy tours of the historic mansion, and other fun activities. We'll have a variety of "Wa-hot dogs" on the grill. Cold drinks are on the house, and the POTLUCK theme is summertime picnic - please bring salads, main dishes, desserts, or fruits (enough to feed at least 10 people, please! And, let's avoid food that will melt on a summer day) to share.

In addition, please bring a snapshot of your historic house to share (we are planning a fun activity around the house photos!) Just a small (3X5 or 4X6) photo will work.

We are also trying to get a head's up on the head count (so we can have plentiful cold beverages and hot dogs on hand.) Please let us know if you plan to attend by e-mailing WAHAholiday@aol.com, or just hit reply to this e-mail.

Thank you all so much, and hope to see you on the 4th!


We are still accepting nominations for WAHA's annual paint and garden contest(s). But you need to turn in the nomination right away!

WAHA is looking for the best exterior paint finishes and most spectacular gardens in the West Adams area. Have you recently painted your home in new, perfect colors? And how does your garden grow? Is it an extraordinary cottage garden, or a prime example of drought-resistent beauty?

Here are the simple contest rules: To qualify, you must be a WAHA member in good standing (yes, that means if you haven't paid your dues yet, or are unsure of your status, you certainly need to contact Candy Wynne, WAHA's membership director, at candywynne@yahoo.com.) Either another WAHA member or you yourself may nominate your paint job or garden. Just e-mail a photo to EdTrosper@aol.com. Label the e-mail subject line "WAHA Paint and Garden" and write up a brief description of the project, the owners' names and property address. The photo itself should be named with the property address.

Please send in your last-minute nomination(s) no later than tomorrow (Thursday, June 21). We will display the photos of the nominees at the annual 4th of July picnic.


Saturday, June 23
11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.
Heritage Square Museum, 3800 Homer St. (Highland Park)

This Saturday, KABC TalkRadio 790 will be broadcasting live from Heritage Square Museum, at the Well Done: The Story of Cookbooks and Commerce exhibit! WAHA member (and Heritage Square board member) Mitzi March Mogul will be interviewed about the exhibit and the museum. Admission is free that morning, compliments of KABC, but if you're not able to join in the festivities in person, please listen on the radio, and be sure and tell all your friends! The Well Done exhibit continues on view through July 15. Heritage Square is located off the 110/Arroyo Seco Parkway (Pasadena Freeway) at Avenue 43. It is an open-air, living history museum dedicated to telling the story of the development of Los Angeles and, as you probably know, features vintage houses that have been saved from demolition and moved to this site for future generations to enjoy. The Heritage Square Museum hosts a variety of exhibits and fundraising activities, including a vintage fashion show also this Saturday, at 3 p.m. For more information visit www.heritagesquare.org or call 323-225-2700 ext. 222.


Sunday, June 24
(most Sunday afternoons)
12 to 4 p.m.
Peace Labyrinth and Gardens at the Guasti Villa (Busby Berkeley Estate), 3500 West Adams Blvd.

One of West Adams' most notable landmarks is the Guasti Villa, famed for its beauty and its association for a period with film director Busby Berkeley. Today the estate is known as the Peace Labyrinth and Gardens at the Guasti Villa, and as those who have visited previously know, the gardens are as spectacular as the Beaux Arts mansion itself.

You are now invited to experience the historic mansion and gardens on Sunday afternoons, when the property - a true oasis in the city -- is open for public touring. Walk the labyrinth, spend time in the beautiful meditation garden, and take in the city views from the upper terrace gardens.

Refreshments (including organic coffee and tea, plus homemade sweets and savories) are for sale during the Sunday tour hours - and, from time to time, expect some entertainment such as harp playing, or a singer/song writer may share their music, perhaps some background piano. For more information, contact 323-737-4055 or programs@peacelabyrinth.org.


We welcome your contributions to the WAHA E-News and West Adams Heritage Association's monthly publication, "West Adams Matters." Please understand that we do have deadlines. Material for the print newsletter should be submitted no later than the 1st of the prior month (i.e.: April 1 for the May issue). If your event is scheduled for early in a month, we suggest you request coverage for the prior month (i.e.: May issue for a June 3 event), because it's entirely possible that not all of our members will have received their newsletter by then (we do try hard…). We reserve the right to edit submitted material. For the WAHA E-News, we prefer to only send it out once or twice a month. Please don't wait until two days before an event to let us know about it. It may not be sent out.

EXCEPTION: If you suddenly hear of an important city hearing or other public meeting that is important to West Adams, we will endeavor to send out a special bulletin.

Submit your material to Laura Meyers, editor, lauramink@aol.com.