By David J. Barboza
When you think of historic resources in Southeast Los Angeles what comes to mind? Perhaps the Watts Towers, Simon Rodia’s stunning collection of 17 structural steel sculptures built with nothing but simple tools. Maybe the Ralph Bunche House, home of the African American Nobel laureate, scholar, and diplomat during a period when he was working his way through grade school and UCLA. But do you think of late 19th and early 20th century residences in styles as diverse as Queen Anne, Shingle, Craftsman, Prairie Box, Spanish Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial Revival, and more? What about Streamline Moderne public buildings, air raid sirens, palm trees planted when Teddy Roosevelt was president, and a cactus as big as a large tree? SurveyLA has documented all of these things in Southeast LA.
Since SurveyLA is an ongoing project, not all of its results have been finalized and published yet. But there are draft reports for the areas that were covered in year 1, including Southeast LA. SurveyLA divides up the City of Los Angeles geographically by using Community Plan Areas (CPAs). These are divisions that come from the City Planning Department and are used for the 35 local land use plans that together make up the Land Use Element of the City’s General Plan. Click here for a map of the Southeast LA CPA (pdf). The map is color coded to indicate some historic preservation information like the locations of Historic-Cultural Monuments.
What follows is a slideshow of some of the interesting things SurveyLA has documented in Southeast LA. You can use the “left” and “right” buttons to cycle through or the “stop” button to hold a photo in place and read the caption.