By Barbara Beckley, Member of the APG Board of Directors
In our ongoing efforts to promote and protect Alhambra’s historic assets, Alhambra Preservation Group is an active participant in the Los Angeles Heritage Alliance (LAHA). Created a few years ago by young, enthusiastic John Bwarie, LAHA brings together preservation leaders from throughout greater Los Angeles, who meet quarterly to brainstorm on new and effective ways to preserve the buildings that showcase Southern California’s rich history. I am proud to represent APG among like-minded participants including the Petersen Automotive Museum, Friends of Griffith Park, the LA Conservancy, Los Angeles Art Deco Society, the Culinary Historians of Southern California, Santa Monica Conservancy, Studio City Historical Society, Highland Park Trust, Association of Historical Societies of Southern California and the Long Beach Preservation Society.
APG’s activities often spark interest among the 30 to 40 participants and Alhambra’s long history makes our city – and APG’s work – well known to the attendees. At the Saturday, Feb. 2 meeting, Charlie Fisher, a well-known historian and active preservationist with the Highland Park Heritage Trust (he’s been on the cover of the Los Angeles Business Journal), stated that he was very familiar with Alhambra. “My mother grew up in Alhambra and I know all the beautiful homes Alhambra has and used to have,” he said. “Sadly, my mother’s home was razed years ago for apartments.”
Meeting people like Charlie, gives APG additional resources to promote our work and to benefit the membership as speakers at general meetings. In addition, the LAHA meets at historic venues throughout Los Angeles, which gives APG more choices for our bi-annual member field trips.
The February meeting was at the African-American Firefighter Museum (run entirely by volunteers) in an historic firehouse in downtown LA. The November 2012 LAHA gathering took place in the Breed Street Shul (synagogue) in Boyle Heights. Known as the Queen of the Shuls, it was Los Angeles’ most beautiful. Julius Schulman, legendary mid-century modern architectural photographer, attended this shul. It’s still impressive and is being restored by the Jewish Historical Society of Southern California. Both venues are open for tours, weddings and special events.
LAHA organizes the annual LA Heritage Day, in which APG traditionally features a popular display. More than 1,500 people attend from across Los Angeles. This year, LA Heritage Day will be April 14, 2013 in the El Pueblo historic district in downtown Los Angeles. Plan on attending and be sure to stop by APG’s table to say hello to our hardworking volunteers!
Photos courtesy of Barbara Beckley.