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Will Cornelius Johnson’s Olympic Oak live long enough to become a Los Angeles landmark?
August 2, 2022 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Join Esotouric, L.A.’s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for the second in an occasional series of free webinars exploring timely historic preservation issues and how YOU can get involved.
Our guest is distinguished horticulturist Dr. Donald R. Hodel.
When Dr. Hodel published “Exceptional Trees of Los Angeles” (1988), he wasn’t aware of the oak sapling presented to Olympic gold medalist Cornelius Johnson at the 1936 Berlin Games, which has grown to maturity behind his parents’ modest West Adams bungalow. If he had been, it would certainly have been included.
Now, the Olympic Oak is in the race of its life—owned by a developer who wants to demolish the house and chop down the tree, but also under consideration as a protected city landmark.
The campaign to preserve Cornelius Johnson’s oak and family home has attracted local and national attention, with a feature story in the New York Times. The Cultural Heritage Commission has been supportive. But even a series of yes votes by the CHC, PLUM Committee and City Council may not be enough to save Cornelius Johnson’s Olympic Oak.
In this webinar, we’ll go down to the vacant Johnson home at 1156 South Hobart, just north of Pico Boulevard, to do an endangered tree status check from over the fence. You’ll hear Dr. Hodel’s expert opinion on the grim state of this historic tree, and what needs to happen immediately if it’s going to live long enough to be named a city landmark.
Learn more about this special tree and Dr. Hodel’s prescription to save it.
Then we’ll take your questions about the landmarking process and the special problems and opportunities posed when a living piece of cultural history suffers from potentially fatal neglect. This is an opportunity for the City to step up and take an active role in protecting this threatened (almost) landmark, before it’s too late.
Watch this short webinar when it airs at 7pm on August 2 (or later, on demand), then tune in and call in on August 4 at 10am, when the Cultural Heritage Commission meets to vote on landmarking the Johnson Oak and family home. We’re asking people who care about this piece of Los Angeles and Olympic history to help amplify Dr. Hodel’s prescription for saving this beautiful tree, through public comment and by spreading the word.
This webinar is an illustrated lecture that will bring the history and future of this landmark structure to life, while inspiring you to look around your own community for ways you can help to keep old places around with fresh new uses. 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. So tune in and discover the incredible history of Los Angeles, with the couple whose passion for the city is infectious. Can’t join in when the webinar is happening? You can tune in later, though you’ll miss the opportunity to ask questions in the chat.
So tune in and discover the incredible history of Los Angeles, with the couple whose passion for the city is infectious. Can’t join in when the webinar is happening? You can tune in later, though you’ll miss the opportunity to ask questions in the chat.
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 another 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 even deeper into the secret heart of the city they love.
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