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Is Leimert Park the most significant neighborhood in Los Angeles? Katie Horak thinks it might be. “I don't think there's any neighborhood in the city that tells so many different important stories about our history as a city, and that really has the integrity to still tell that story,” she says in this episode of Save As. A USC alum, principal at A…
 
Last month, about ninety volunteers spent a weekend excavating the former hospital site at Manzanar, a World War II incarceration camp about 225 miles north of Los Angeles. Some of those volunteers were students in Mary Ringhoff’s Cultural Resource Management class. One of those students was Save As producer Willa Seidenberg, who interviewed people…
 
As a kid, Laura Dominguez would sit under the kitchen table during tamale season, listening to family stories as the grownups handed her corn husks to play with. Now she’s one of the people setting a new table for heritage conservation, with community as the centerpiece. In this episode, Laura shares the personal roots of her professional path, her…
 
You may know that Greater Los Angeles has the largest Armenian population outside of Armenia. But you might think it’s concentrated in the city of Glendale and Hollywood’s Little Armenia. Recent alum Erik Van Breene found pockets of Armenian Americans throughout the county while researching his thesis, Not So Little Armenia: Conserving Armenian Her…
 
Robert A. Kennard, FAIA (1920 - 1995) led an extraordinary life as an architect, mentor, and humanitarian. The son of a Pullman car porter, Kennard defied steep odds to build a successful career, design more than 700 structures, and create one of the longest-running African American-owned architecture firms in the western U.S. He “believed that peo…
 
Cemeteries mean many things to many people. In this episode, we talk with alum Rachel Trombetta about her thesis, Beit Olam: A Home Everlasting--The Jewish Cemeteries of East Los Angeles. Rachel shares the history of Jewish congregations in Los Angeles, how they moved away from the central city over the years, and what that means to the burial grou…
 
We need to hear from you! Please take 180 seconds to let us know what you think about Save As: Click here to take the Save As survey It means so much to your friends who work hard to share the future of heritage conservation with you. And you can enter to win a highly collectible, limited-edition Save As mug! Thank you thank you thank you! Take the…
 
San Francisco is a preservation-minded city, but as we hear in this episode, not all parts of the city get the same amount of preservation love. Alum Andrea Dumovich Heywood talks with us about her research into Clement Street, a diverse neighborhood in the city’s Inner Richmond area, that is considered the city’s second Chinatown. You’ll hear what…
 
At the Alcoholism Center for Women (ACW), women regain their lives and claim their space in the world. They also take care of two century-old homes in one of L.A.’s oldest neighborhoods. Brenda Weathers founded ACW in 1974 to give women—primarily lesbians, mainly women of color—a place to heal. Miracles have taken place there for nearly half a cent…
 
In this grab bag of SoCal history, we talk with alum Sian Winship, an architectural historian with her fingers in many, many pies. She explored the world of modernist tract homes in her master’s thesis, Quantity and Quality: Architects Working for Developers in Southern California, 1960-1973. Quantity and quality also characterize this wide-ranging…
 
When M. Rosalind Sagara entered the world of heritage conservation, she brought along a deep passion for, and background in, community organizing. At USC, she researched heritage advocacy through the lens of two contentious campaigns -- both led by local stakeholders working not just to save places, but to build power and community. Hear what Rosal…
 
In 2003, the majority of the beloved Holiday Bowl in L.A.’s Crenshaw district was demolished. Although the bowling alley--a big box profoundly important to the community--was lost, the coffee shop--a Googie gem designed by Armet and Davis--remains standing and is now a Starbucks. Today's guest Katie Horak analyzed the efforts to save the Holiday Bo…
 
At the turn of the last century, Black entrepreneur Arthur L. Reese convinced developer Abbot Kinney to hire Black workers for Kinney’s seaside resort and amusement park, Venice of America. Reese had a hard time recruiting Blacks to the area because, even though Venice was one of the few neighborhoods without racially restrictive covenants, no one …
 
Should the Brady Bunch House be in the National Register of Historic Places? Why not? asks alum Jonathan Kaplan. In his master’s thesis, the TV writer-turned-heritage conservationist makes a case for designating sites specifically for their use in movies and TV shows. Along with literary precedent dating back to Chaucer, Jonathan cites the deep mea…
 
As a teenager, Ingrid Peña saw a struggling part of Pasadena morph into the poster child for the revival of historic business districts in Southern California. Little did she know that years later, she’d revisit this period for her USC master’s thesis, Saving Old Pasadena: Where Locals Took on City Hall and Won. The story of Old Pasadena is the sto…
 
How do you preserve the heritage of a place you have to leave? Find out from Ani Mnatsakanyan, who just finished her master’s thesis on the Central Valley town of Yettem. Armenian for “Garden of Eden,” Yettem is a tiny town with a huge impact. Learn how it came to be, how it helped Armenians rebuild their lives after fleeing genocide in their homel…
 
As L.A.’s Watts neighborhood reeled from the 1965 Rebellion against systemic injustice, Black architects and civil rights activists Art Silvers and Robert Kennard designed a place of healing and hope. The Watts Happening Cultural Center opened in 1970 as the home of the Mafundi Institute (“mafundi” is Swahili for artisans or craftspeople), which pr…
 
Bunker Hill looms large in the collective memory of Los Angeles. Once a tony enclave of Victorian homes, the downtown neighborhood became a vibrant and diverse community before being razed in the urban renewal/removal of the 1950s. Much has been made of the architectural loss. But who were, and what came of, the thousands and thousands of people di…
 
Alumna Sara Delgadillo grew up in the working class ethnic enclave of Pacoima in the San Fernando Valley. The heart of the community, the Van Nuys Boulevard commercial corridor, is home to several legacy businesses that serve as centers of community and cultural continuity. In this episode, journey with us to this corner of Los Angeles and see it t…
 
The allure of abundant work and fertile soil drew many to California, and in particular, the rich rural areas of the state. Punjabi workers came in small numbers to Yuba City in the early 1900s, but after Indian independence in 1947 when Punjab was split in two, that trickle became a steady stream. Now this rural area known for its peach orchards i…
 
In mid-century Los Angeles, public housing was designed to house the many workers flooding to the city seeking jobs in the booming industrial economy. Taking advantage of the climate, the various developments used the popular garden apartment model and employed some of the area’s most prominent architects. A lack of maintenance and serial disinvest…
 
The decade-long civil war in Syria has decimated the country’s infrastructure, killed more than 400,000 Syrians, and created the world’s largest displaced population of around 13 million. Heritage sites play a big role in war as targets of destruction, and they're typically an early focus of rebuilding efforts. With an optimistic take on a devastat…
 
What comes to mind when you think of Compton? If it’s gangs and rap, think again. This small city is one of the oldest in L.A. County, with a history of agriculture, self-reliance, and resilience. It has a farm, a space-age civic center, the tennis court where Venus and Serena learned to play, and more (including, yes, cowboys). Compton’s history m…
 
How did a 1960s master-planned suburb use its century-old rancho heritage to form a new vernacular? The story of Mission Viejo spans so many issues--the founding families of modern Southern California, the transformation of our built environment, historical romanticism and cultural appropriation, the overlooked heritage of Orange County, and the ne…
 
In 1974, Brenda Weathers came across a century-old home in Pico-Union, an early Los Angeles neighborhood that had seen better days. She decided to use the rundown residence to help people like her: lesbians with alcoholism. Ever since, the Alcoholism Center for Women has served as a treatment center for women in recovery--most of them lesbian; many…
 
Pandemics, climate change, natural disasters, inequity, the perils of urbanization: cities worldwide are working to build resilience against these and other existential threats. Resilience planning may include protecting historic places, but it typically overlooks the role of heritage conservation in helping communities prepare for, and recover fro…
 
How can heritage conservation help end homelessness? USC grad students in heritage conservation, architecture, and urban planning sought to find out. Using the city of Pasadena as their laboratory, the students and their instructor worked closely with Union Station Homeless Services and Pasadena Heritage. These partners came away with creative stra…
 
Los Angeles has a rich LGBTQ heritage that's been largely hidden. Recent graduate Rafael Fontes talks with producer Willa Seidenberg about why sites of LGBTQ significance are relatively hard to find, research, and designate. He discusses three case studies from his master's thesis, Gaining a Foothold: Conserving Los Angeles's Queer Eden(dale): the …
 
Have you ever considered sound a character-defining feature? Musician and recent USC grad Kasey Viso Conley certainly has. She knows why Nat King Cole, Janis Joplin, Van Halen, and countless other recording artists insisted on using specific studios to get a certain sound. It’s the physical environment of the studio, from acoustic tiles to echo cha…
 
In this year of racial reckoning, our first Save As interview explores sites of violence against people of color. "Lurking beneath empty lots, nondescript intersections, and even this city’s most stately landmarks are stories of strife and oppression, largely invisible," wrote recent graduate Jackson Loop in his master's thesis about preserving sit…
 
Racial violence. Urban resilience. Acoustic heritage. Heritage conservation students at the University of Southern California are tackling some of the most important and innovative issues in the field, and we’re bringing their groundbreaking work to you. In this inaugural episode of Save As, the dynamic duo of Trudi Sandmeier and Cindy Olnick discu…
 
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