By David J. Barboza
It’s hard to believe, but MyHistoricLA.org is just about one year old. Developed as a collaboration between SurveyLA and MindMixer, the site is a way for people to share ideas for overlooked historic places in the City of Los Angeles. Through text, links, pictures and video, people have already shared over 200 suggestions for such places. That information doesn’t just sit on the internet. It goes directly out into the field with survey teams so that they have the fullest possible story on every place you suggest as they document our historic resources. At the end of the day, the goal is to ensure that SurveyLA is an effective planning tool that empowers people to make thoughtful decisions about Los Angeles’ historic resources.
MyHistoricLA.org is true social media: two way online communication. You can be social on it by commenting on other historic place suggestions or “seconding” ideas you like. This not only helps to refine ideas, but also allows for increased awareness of our past and community building as people share their passion for places that are special to them. Although SurveyLA can’t use every idea submitted (usually because the place is outside the City of Los Angeles or already has a historic designation), we appreciate the effort that goes into every entry on the site.
Here’s a flavor of how it works.
The screenshot above shows an entry for a series of houses along Escalon Drive in Encino. This is a great entry not just because it meets the basic tests of being in the City of LA and not already having historic designations, but also because it includes three photographs and a short but clear explanation of why the area may be historically significant. To top it all off this entry sparked a lively discussion in the comments section and got a comment from a member of a field survey team: “Thank you for your submission! The survey field team is starting work in Encino now and loved seeing this neighborhood yesterday. If you have any additional information we hope that you will post it here.”
MyHistoricLA.org has 11 questions (and counting) to help jump start your thinking about Los Angeles’ historic resources. Our most popular is the catch-all “What is your favorite historical place in Los Angeles?”, but the second most popular is the “What is your favorite food-related historical place in Los Angeles?” question (pictured above). Rachel B’s suggestion for Antonio’s Mexican Restaurant even got picked up in a KPCC news piece.
We’re so happy when you make historic place suggestions that we’ve even devised some prizes. All you have to do to claim a prize is get enough participation points and check out our Rewards Store. Also, if you have an idea for a prize we could offer (keeping in mind our budget for this is pretty limited) or if you have a prize to donate, please let us know by leaving a comment.
At the end of the day, all of the fancy technology in the world can’t live up to its potential without your help. In a city as vast as Los Angeles, no single person knows everything there is to know about our historic resources. Thanks so much for sharing the historic places that are important to you, and we look forward to hearing about more of them!