Home Page for Kelton Homes Historical Preservation
These three homes have since been sold to owners interested in preserving them (as of February 2007). Realizing that these were the only "How To" pages on historical preservation in Los Angeles, I decided to keep these pages intact as a resource for others. Partially due to this, I became one of the recipients of the Governor's Historic Preservation Awards (California), November 12, 2003.
The owner of three historic 1930s Mediterranean buildings wants to tear them down; residents are trying to block the move. Helpful information on preserving historic properties in Los Angeles and how we are battling to save the homes.
|This is one of several properties on the 1800 block of Kelton Avenue that was given historical monument status by the Cultural Heritage Commission. Despite this status, these homes are still in grave danger of being destroyed. Photo by Ken Lee.|
I've been living in a lovely 1920s Mediterranean style duplex on Kelton Avenue in Westwood, CA for several years. It's the only home that I've felt privileged to live in. I love this home like a dear friend. About six months ago, our landlord sold her property to a developer, Isaac Cohanzad (Wiseman Management). The developer also purchased two other properties next door, obtaining three properties in a row in a single negotiation and purchasing them for cash. Their stated intention was to demolish these properties and build a 24-unit condominium building, destroying the middle homes that exist in a string of seven.
We felt sickened that this could happen, and knew that there were hardly any of these homes left anywhere near us. We didn't know of any other string of houses left anywhere near us that existed. We are not historical preservationists, but felt passionate about preserving these homes. We knew that we would be served eviction notices eventually and need to move, but that wasn't our motivation. It was simply to preserve the houses that we love and cherish and know to be rare.
That said, we were successful in our approach thus far. The Cultural Heritage Commission unanimously voted to designate the three Kelton properties as historical monuments. Our group has also received the prestigious Governor's Historic Preservation Award for 2003 from the Office of Historic Preservation.
Historic Homes Still In
Danger of the Wrecking Ball
However, in Los Angeles, this does not guarantee the safety of the properties. This is just half the battle. Incredibly, the developer can still destroy the building even though it has been designated a historical monument.
I am just one of a group of residents battling for historical preservation here on Kelton Avenue. Our effort has quickly taken on a life of its own, snowballing as more join in and contribute hours and hours of time. Lawyers, publicists, teachers, historians, descendants of the architects, professors, an astrologist, and many others have worked feverishly to try and preserve these beautiful homes.
The following is a description of the steps you might find useful and what worked for us, and should not be considered legal advice. The information about historical preservation is reliable but not guaranteed. You should definitely verify this information for yourself. There is also a section on how you can help save the Kelton homes.
I'd also like to emphasize that you have the power and the right to historically preserve a home or building. You have it. Your neighbors have it. We all have it.
Thanks for reading. I hope this is of help and interest to you! I hope that you will help us save the homes.
- Ken Lee
Articles and radio shows on
Los Angeles Times article March 6, 2003
Westsider article 1 March 5, 2003
Westsider article 2 March 12, 2003
KCRW February 26, 2003
KCRW April 16, 2003
Governor's Historic Preservation Award 2003
Our group has also won the the Governor's Historic Preservation Award, the only official preservation award presented by the State of California to worthy recipients in recognition of outstanding achievements in the field of historic preservation.
Application for Historic Monument Status
The Cultural Heritage Commission Review Process
Building Neighborhood Support
Arguments that a Developer May Make Against Historical Preservation
Next Steps After Properties Have Been Designated Historical Monuments
The Kelton Homes Now (September 2009)
Kelton Historical Preservation
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Contact photographer/musician Ken Lee