«Historic Resources Survey Report Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area Prepared for: City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning Office of Historic ...»
Historic Resources Survey Report
Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area
City of Los Angeles
Department of City Planning
Office of Historic Resources
Galvin Preservation Associates
El Segundo, CA
Table of Contents
Project Overview 2
SurveyLA Methodology Summary 2
Project Team 3
Survey Area 4 Designated Resources 9 Community Plan Area Survey Methodology 9 Summary of Findings 10 Summary of Property Types 10 Summary of Contexts and Themes 11 For Further Reading 23 Appendices Appendix A: Individual Resources Appendix B: Non-Parcel Resources Appendix C: Historic Districts and Planning Districts SurveyLA Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area Project Overview This historic resources survey report (“Survey Report”) has been completed on behalf of the City of Los Angeles Department of City Planning’s Office of Historic Resources (OHR) for the SurveyLA historic resources survey of the Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area (CPA). This project was undertaken from September 2011 to May 2012 by Galvin Preservation Associates (GPA).
This Survey Report provides a summary of the work completed, including a description of the survey area; an overview of the field methodology; a summary of relevant contexts, themes and property types; and complete lists of all surveyed resources. This Survey Report is intended to be used in conjunction with the SurveyLA Field Results Master Report (“Master Report”) which provides a detailed discussion of SurveyLA methodology and explains the terms used in this report and associated appendices. In addition, a Survey Results Map has been prepared which graphically illustrates the boundaries of the survey area and the location and type of all resources identified during the field surveys. The Master Report, Survey Report, Appendices, and Results Map are available at www.surveyla.org.
SurveyLA Methodology Summary Below is a brief summary of SurveyLA methodology. Refer to the Master Report discussed above for more information.
Field Survey Methods Properties surveyed for SurveyLA are evaluated for eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, California Register of Historical Resources, and for local designation as City Historic-Cultural Monuments (HCM) or Historic Preservation Overlay Zones (HPOZ), commonly known as historic districts.
Field surveyors cover the entire area within the boundaries of a CPA. However, only resources that have been identified as significant within the contexts developed for SurveyLA are recorded.
Consultants making resource evaluations meet professional qualification standards in Architectural History, History, or a related field.
Surveys focus on identifying significant resources dating from about 1850 to 1980.
All surveys are completed from the public right-of-way (from vehicles or on foot as needed).
Digital photographs are taken of all evaluated resources.
SurveyLAHarbor Gateway Community Plan AreaField Surveys do not include:
Individual resources and historic districts (including HPOZs) that are already designated (listed in the National, California or local registers).
Community Redevelopment Area (CRA) surveys conducted within the last five years.
Industrial properties, which will be surveyed as a group in a later phase of SurveyLA.
SurveyLA Resources Types SurveyLA identifies individual resources, non-parcel resources, historic districts and district contributors and non-contributors. Each of these is described below. Appendices A, B, and C are organized by resource type.
Individual Resources are generally resources located within a single assessor parcel such as a residence or duplex. However, a parcel may include more than one individual resource, if each appears to be significant.
Non-Parcel Resources are not associated with Assessor Parcel Numbers (APNs) and generally do not have addresses. Examples include street trees, street lights, landscaped medians, bridges, and signs.
Historic Districts are areas that are related geographically and by theme. Districts may include single or multiple parcels, depending on the resource. Examples of resources that may be recorded as historic districts include residential neighborhoods, garden apartments, commercial areas, large estates, school and hospital campuses, and industrial complexes.
District Contributors and Non-Contributors are buildings, structures, sites, objects, and other features located within historic districts. Generally, non-contributing resources are those that are extensively altered, built outside the period of significance, or that do not relate to historic contexts and themes defined for the district.
Planning Districts are areas that are related geographically and by theme, but do not meet eligibility standards for designation. This is generally because the majority of the contributing features have been altered, resulting in a cumulative impact on the overall integrity of the area that makes it ineligible as a Historic District. The Planning District determination, therefore, is used as a tool to inform new Community Plans being developed by the Department of City Planning. These areas have consistent planning features – such as height, massing, setbacks, and street trees – which warrant consideration in the local planning process.
Project Team The Harbor Gateway CPA survey team included the following personnel from GPA: Teresa Grimes, Principal Architectural Historian; Ben Taniguchi, Historian II; and Elysha Dory, SurveyLA Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area Architectural Historian II. Reconnaissance survey work was conducted by Teresa Grimes, Principal Architectural Historian; and Ben Taniguchi, Historian II.
Survey Area The Harbor Gateway CPA served as the boundaries of the survey area for this project. The CPA is long and narrow with a mostly irregular shape, and is located in the southern portion of the City of Los Angeles. It is represented by Council District 15.
The CPA consists of two long, narrow geographic areas offset from each other. The northern boundary of the CPA is formed by 120th Street. The eastern boundary is Figueroa Street between 120th Street and Victoria Street; between Del Amo Boulevard and Sepulveda Boulevard, the eastern boundary is Normandie Avenue. The eastern boundary between Victoria Street and Del Amo Boulevard is irregular and varies between Vermont Avenue and Hamilton Avenue. The western boundary is Vermont Avenue between 120th Street and 182nd Street; the western boundary is Western Avenue between 182nd Street and Sepulveda Boulevard. The southern boundary is formed by Sepulveda Boulevard.
The Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area encompasses 8,580 parcels. Roughly 8,007 parcels within the CPA were surveyed by the SurveyLA team. As mentioned above, properties not surveyed include parcels zoned for industrial use, buildings constructed after 1980, and resources previously designated under local, state and/or federal programs. There are no individual properties and no historic districts within the CPA that have been previously designated. Furthermore, there are no CRA areas within the CPA.
The Harbor Gateway CPA is located in the southern portion of the flat plain of the central Los Angeles Basin, which falls to the south of the Santa Monica Mountains. The topography of the area is generally flat. There are no major land formations or waterways that define the area. A tributary of the Los Angeles River runs through the CPA, but does not influence its geography or layout in any significant manner.
Rather, the CPA is bounded and shaped by man-made features, including freeways and boulevards. The streets throughout the CPA are laid out in a grid that follows a north-south axis, save for a small number of streets that run at a diagonal through the CPA, including Albertoni/182nd Street, Victoria/190th Street, Torrance Boulevard, and Sepulveda Boulevard.
SurveyLA Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area SurveyLA Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area The CPA is intersected by three freeways. These include Interstate 110 (Harbor Freeway), which generally bisects the northern portion of the CPA; State Route 91 (Artesia-Gardena Freeway); and Interstate 405 (San Diego Freeway). Interstate 110 is sited above grade throughout much of the northern portion of the CPA. It transitions to below grade north of Redondo Beach Boulevard, with ramps set above the freeway. State Route 91 is set above street level, as is Interstate 405. Interstate 105 (Glenn Anderson Freeway) is located just north of the CPA. It is sited above grade. The freeways create numerous overpasses and onramps with a physical and visual impact on the neighborhoods throughout much of the northern half of the CPA.
Many of the major thoroughfares in the CPA are wide avenues and boulevards that functioned historically as automobile and streetcar routes. These transportation routes were instrumental in the historic development of the neighborhoods within the CPA.
Commercial corridors developed along major routes, and later residential and commercial development also took advantage of these routes. The major east-west thoroughfares in the CPA are (from north to south): 120th Street, El Segundo Boulevard, 135th Street, Redondo Beach Boulevard, Alondra Boulevard, Frontage Road/162nd Street, Victoria Street/190th Street, Del Amo Boulevard, Torrance Boulevard, Carson Street, 223rd Street, 228th Street, and Sepulveda Boulevard. The major north-south arteries within the CPA are (from west to east): Normandie Avenue and Vermont Avenue.
Harbor Gateway was originally part of Rancho San Pedro. The land was annexed into the City of Los Angeles in 1908 so that Los Angeles could be connected to its harbor in San Pedro. At the time, the area was known as the “shoestring strip” or the city strip.
The annexation of the shoestring strip was set into motion by what came to be known as the “Great Free Harbor Fight.” The growth of Los Angeles in the last two decades of the 19th century made it increasingly necessary for the city to have its own harbor. The debate centered around where the harbor serving the Los Angeles region should be established, and it lasted seven years.
San Pedro had become an established harbor by the 1890s, but it could not handle the growing volume of trade without improvements. In 1890, Congress appropriated $4 million to build a breakwater for a port for the City of Los Angeles. Other cities realized that the creation of a port within their borders would be extremely profitable for both them and the railroads that served them, but San Pedro and Santa Monica were the primary cities under consideration for the improvements. The Southern Pacific Railroad, headed by chairman Collis Huntington, realized the opportunity. He began purchasing large amounts of land along the Santa Monica waterfront and constructed his own wharf into the bay in 1892, which he named the Port Los Angeles. Although San Pedro was the preferred location for a port due to its protected location, Huntington’s influence at first prevented San Pedro from securing the port location. It was not until 1897 that San Pedro secured the port location for the City of Los Angeles and money for the breakwater improvements.
With the money for improvements at the San Pedro harbor secured, Los Angeles began seeking to consolidate the town in order to gain access to a port. It consolidated SurveyLA Harbor Gateway Community Plan Area Wilmington and San Pedro in 1909. In preparation for the consolidation of Wilmington and San Pedro, which would provide the city with access to a port, it annexed the shoestring strip by way of a special election in 1907. The citizens of Wilmington, who held that it prevented their city from expanding to the west, contested annexation of the strip. The challenge to the annexation of the strip was brought before the California Supreme Court.
Annexation was upheld and declared legal in 1908.
Even after annexation, the shoestring strip remained sparsely populated for the most part.
In the 1940s, the area was still mostly rural with homes interspersed. It was not until World War II, when the population of Los Angeles grew rapidly, that the population of the shoestring strip increased and the pace of development began to speed up. Factories began moving into the area during this period, and the population rose as workers moved into the area. Residences, mostly single-family residences and duplexes, were constructed to answer the need for housing, and the development of the area increased.
The strip was often confused with neighboring Torrance or Gardena, separately incorporated cities and not part of the City of Los Angeles. Residents of the area often had a Torrance address and felt more closely connected to Torrance or Gardena rather than Los Angeles. Torrance was planned as a model industrial city in 1911 by Olmstead & Olmstead.
Gardena originated in the 1880s, but was not incorporated until the 1930s when the communities of Strawberry Park, Moneta, and Western City merged. Torrance and Gardena were both stops on the Pacific Electric Railway on lines running to from Los Angeles to San Pedro and Redondo Beach.
Populations that moved into the area in the decades following World War II included Japanese Americans, Hispanics, and African Americans. Prior to World War II, the strip was home to a small Japanese and Japanese American population. As in neighboring Gardena, they were mostly farmers or operated nurseries in the area. The post-war era saw the growth of a thriving Japanese American community in the strip, as well as in Torrance and Gardena. Today, the area has a diverse mix of Anglo American, African American, Hispanic, and Japanese American populations.
The area was not given the name Harbor Gateway until 1985; prior to this it was known as simply the shoestring strip. The area’s councilwoman at the time felt that it would give the area more cohesion and its residents a sense of place and pride that they lacked since the area felt like more an extension of Torrance and Gardena than its own entity. Institutions in Harbor Gateway continue to be linked more closely with Gardena or Torrance, however;
the area, due to its geography, continues to function more as an extension of surrounding areas than its own cohesive neighborhood.