Esotouric Celebrates Los Angeles Historic Preservation, 1900s-1980s On Demand Webinar

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Almost as long as Los Angeles has been a city, Angelenos have worried that it is changing too fast and its landmarks being lost. The threat to historic places has never been greater than in today’s climate of relentless development and political corruption. And yet, this is also a golden age for preservation activism, with powerful digital tools that let citizens organize, communicate and often succeed in saving the places they love.

Every 21st century L.A. preservationist stands on the shoulders of giants—so let’s get to know them.

Join Esotouric, L.A.’s most eclectic sightseeing tour company, for a virtual celebration of the preservation people of Los Angeles from the 1900s through the 1980s, telling the stories of the passionate, colorful and just plain cranky folks who took a stand for our shared history and left the city better than they found it. You’ll also learn about the public policy wonks who shaped one of the nation’s earliest and strongest preservation ordinances, ensuring that some very special landmarks and landscapes were preserved.

Your hosts Kim Cooper and Richard Schave are Los Angeles cultural historians, and passionate preservationists, having worked on such varied campaigns as landmarking the Los Angeles Times buildings and writer Charles Bukowski’s East Hollywood bungalow, spearheading restoration of Sheila Klein’s dismantled streetlight sculpture Vermonica and restoring Angels Flight Railway to service. Learn more about their preservation work.

The webinar will reveal:

  • How author and civic booster Charles Fletcher Lummis rallied Edwardian Angelenos to form the Landmarks Club and fund restoration of California Mission buildings whose adobe walls were on the verge of melting into mud.
  • How single mother Christine Sterling worked relentlessly to halt demolition of L.A.’s oldest house, the Avila Adobe, and to transform the seedy surrounding neighborhood into the abiding small business district and tourist attraction, Olvera Street.
  • How City Planner Calvin Hamilton brought the Indiana model of preservation to Los Angeles in the 1960s, and created a public policy framework for designating and protecting significant landmarks.
  • How the Cultural Heritage Board under Carl Dentzel created Heritage Square, where significant houses were moved from redeveloping neighborhoods like Bunker Hill.
  • How the citizens of Angelino Heights restored their landmark Victorian homes, buried unsightly modern electrical wires and advocated to become the city’s first Historic Preservation Overlay Zone.
  • How preservation nonprofits like Hollywood Heritage, Keep Old Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Conservancy became a powerful force in shaping preservation policy.

Special guests will include Margaret Bach, founding president of the Los Angeles Conservancy, and Jean Bruce Poole, the first curator of El Pueblo, sharing insights into their work preserving and interpreting the historic built environment of Los Angeles. Plus, Bunker Hill native son Gordon Pattison will talk about how his family’s Bunker Hill Victorians were the first buildings moved to Heritage Square, and the tragic tale of their loss to fire.

This webinar is an illustrated lecture packed with rare photos and ephemera that will bring the history of preservation in Los Angeles to life on your digital device. 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 presentation, you’ll have a chance to ask questions, so get ready to be a part of the show.


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.

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.

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