Cast Your Vote – Help Save the Formosa Café!

West Hollywood’s Formosa Café is one of twenty-five projects on historic Main Streets across the country competing in the Partners in Preservation: Main Streets Program. This program provides funding for rehabilitation work, determined by popular vote, with the online voting portal hosted by National Geographic. The beloved Formosa Café, which opened in 1925 on Route 66, will be rehabilitated if funding is received, preserving an icon for future generations. Located across the street from a major movie studio, the Formosa was a favorite of numerous celebrities, as well as mobsters. Threatened by development pressures, places like the Formosa Cafe are exceedingly rare today. This project will help its owners keep the building alive. Log on and cast your vote daily between now and October 31, to help the Formosa, shuttered since December, win much-needed funding!

Photo credit: Formosa Café by Sue Hwang.

 

Historic Angels Flight Railway Back in Business

Los Angeles’s beloved 1901 Angels Flight funicular is once again ferrying passengers up and down Bunker Hill. Mayor Eric Garcetti and civic leaders celebrated by taking the first ride. Originally located beside the Third Street tunnel, Angels Flight was dismantled and went into storage in 1969, finally reopening in its present location in 1996. During the 1995-96 restoration process, HRG provided treatment recommendations and assisted with maintaining authenticity in materials and finishes. As part of the recent repairs and rehabilitation, HRG worked with the new operator, ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc., and KC Restoration to provide specific treatment recommendations and historic paint analysis. HRG’s recent work on the project provided for a reunion with John Behnke and John Welborne who continue to play a large part in the ongoing restoration and operation of Angels Flight.

Large image: Angels Flight on a test run in August 2017.
Small image: Historic paint analysis matching for Angels Flight performed by HRG, 2017. 

 

Greystone Mansion Master Planning

Greystone Mansion was designed in 1929 by master architect Gordon Kaufmann for Ned Doheny, son of oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny. The City of Beverly Hills purchased the property in 1965, and maintains the property as a park and event venue. In 2007, HRG worked with the City to complete a rehabilitation and marketing strategy document (titled “Historic Greystone: A Vision for the Future”). The core concern was how to preserve the historic integrity of the site while providing for increased demand and changing needs. Recognizing the need for a comprehensive approach to maintenance, the City contracted with HRG in 2016 to produce the “Doheny Greystone Mansion Master Plan for Maintenance and Restoration,” which provides a comprehensive list of tasks so the City and Friends of Greystone are better equipped to continue to restore and maintain this historic property. One of the first tasks undertaken as part of the implementation of the Master Plan is an in-depth investigation of the wood and finishes at the grand hallway, under the leadership of Williams Art Conservation and with funding support from the Friends of Greystone.

Images: Restoration of wood features according to “Doheny Greystone Mansion Master Plan for Maintenance and Restoration” at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.

 

Cultural Landscape Reports Recognized

The protection of historically significant landscapes has expanded substantially over the past two decades in response to growing awareness of the need to safeguard sites important to our collective cultural heritage. As part of this effort, HRG recently prepared Cultural Landscape Reports for two significant landscapes in Southern California: The Gamble House in Pasadena and the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia. A Cultural Landscape Report documents the history and evolution of various types of historic landscapes, as well as providing documentation of existing conditions, and analysis and treatment recommendations. A comprehensive Cultural Landscape Report provides a blueprint for the ongoing care and interpretation of historically important landscapes.

Recognizing the imperative that good stewardship must address not only the house, but also the site and setting, Gamble House staff embarked on years of planning and fundraising to commission The Gamble House Cultural Landscape Report, which examines the history of the National Historic Landmark’s site and its evolution, identifying and documenting significant landscape features, and developing appropriate treatment and maintenance recommendations. HRG worked closely with Gamble House staff, landscape architects Korn Randolph, and a team of advisors to create the cultural landscape report.  

The Cultural Landscape Report and Treatment Plan for the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden provides an in-depth analysis of the 127-acre site’s complex history, initially part of Hugo Reid’s rancho, through its metamorphosis into a botanic garden, and as a contemporary public amenity enjoyed by 500,000 visitors annually.  At the arboretum, HRG once again teamed with Korn Randolph to produce the report, with guidance from staff and local stakeholders.

Both Cultural Landscape Reports are recipients of 2017 California Preservation Foundation Preservation Design Awards in the Cultural Resources Studies/Reports category. The CPF Preservation Design Awards are held annually to honor outstanding projects throughout California. This year’s event will be held October 13th at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.

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Photograph documenting existing conditions at The Gamble House, 2013.

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Early photograph of the Gamble House landscaping, from a page in the Gamble Family album. Courtesy of the Greene and Greene Archives.