Historic Angels Flight Railway Back in Business

Los Angeles’s beloved 1901 Angels Flight funicular is once again ferrying passengers up and down Bunker Hill. Mayor Eric Garcetti and civic leaders celebrated by taking the first ride. Originally located beside the Third Street tunnel, Angels Flight was dismantled and went into storage in 1969, finally reopening in its present location in 1996. During the 1995-96 restoration process, HRG provided treatment recommendations and assisted with maintaining authenticity in materials and finishes. As part of the recent repairs and rehabilitation, HRG worked with the new operator, ACS Infrastructure Development, Inc., and KC Restoration to provide specific treatment recommendations and historic paint analysis. HRG’s recent work on the project provided for a reunion with John Behnke and John Welborne who continue to play a large part in the ongoing restoration and operation of Angels Flight.

Large image: Angels Flight on a test run in August 2017.
Small image: Historic paint analysis matching for Angels Flight performed by HRG, 2017. 


Greystone Mansion Master Planning

Greystone Mansion was designed in 1929 by master architect Gordon Kaufmann for Ned Doheny, son of oil tycoon Edward L. Doheny. The City of Beverly Hills purchased the property in 1965, and maintains the property as a park and event venue. In 2007, HRG worked with the City to complete a rehabilitation and marketing strategy document (titled “Historic Greystone: A Vision for the Future”). The core concern was how to preserve the historic integrity of the site while providing for increased demand and changing needs. Recognizing the need for a comprehensive approach to maintenance, the City contracted with HRG in 2016 to produce the “Doheny Greystone Mansion Master Plan for Maintenance and Restoration,” which provides a comprehensive list of tasks so the City and Friends of Greystone are better equipped to continue to restore and maintain this historic property. One of the first tasks undertaken as part of the implementation of the Master Plan is an in-depth investigation of the wood and finishes at the grand hallway, under the leadership of Williams Art Conservation and with funding support from the Friends of Greystone.

Images: Restoration of wood features according to “Doheny Greystone Mansion Master Plan for Maintenance and Restoration” at Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.


Cultural Landscape Reports Recognized

The protection of historically significant landscapes has expanded substantially over the past two decades in response to growing awareness of the need to safeguard sites important to our collective cultural heritage. As part of this effort, HRG recently prepared Cultural Landscape Reports for two significant landscapes in Southern California: The Gamble House in Pasadena and the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden in Arcadia. A Cultural Landscape Report documents the history and evolution of various types of historic landscapes, as well as providing documentation of existing conditions, and analysis and treatment recommendations. A comprehensive Cultural Landscape Report provides a blueprint for the ongoing care and interpretation of historically important landscapes.

Recognizing the imperative that good stewardship must address not only the house, but also the site and setting, Gamble House staff embarked on years of planning and fundraising to commission The Gamble House Cultural Landscape Report, which examines the history of the National Historic Landmark’s site and its evolution, identifying and documenting significant landscape features, and developing appropriate treatment and maintenance recommendations. HRG worked closely with Gamble House staff, landscape architects Korn Randolph, and a team of advisors to create the cultural landscape report.  

The Cultural Landscape Report and Treatment Plan for the Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden provides an in-depth analysis of the 127-acre site’s complex history, initially part of Hugo Reid’s rancho, through its metamorphosis into a botanic garden, and as a contemporary public amenity enjoyed by 500,000 visitors annually.  At the arboretum, HRG once again teamed with Korn Randolph to produce the report, with guidance from staff and local stakeholders.

Both Cultural Landscape Reports are recipients of 2017 California Preservation Foundation Preservation Design Awards in the Cultural Resources Studies/Reports category. The CPF Preservation Design Awards are held annually to honor outstanding projects throughout California. This year’s event will be held October 13th at the InterContinental Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco.


Photograph documenting existing conditions at The Gamble House, 2013.


Early photograph of the Gamble House landscaping, from a page in the Gamble Family album. Courtesy of the Greene and Greene Archives.


Painted Desert Community Complex Gets its Day in the Sun

April 19, 2017 marked the National Historic Landmark Designation and Oasis Storefront Celebration for the revitalized Painted Desert Community Complex in the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. Originally opened in 1965 as part of the National Park Service’s Mission 66 program, the complex was designed by celebrated modernist architects Richard Neutra and Robert Alexander in a style compatible with the surrounding desert landscape.

Alterations, the harsh desert climate, and lack of maintenance funds had taken a toll on the complex’s 36 steel, glass, and masonry buildings. HRG assisted the Park Service by providing technical expertise in the restoration process, and Principal John LoCascio, AIA, was on hand to celebrate the restoration of the gleaming Oasis Building storefront and dedication of the National Historic Landmark plaque.

Image: Park Superintendent Brad Traver cuts the ribbon, officially re-opening the Oasis Storefront to park visitors. HRG Principal John LoCascio, AIA, third from right. Photo credit: Jacob Holgerson, NPS.


Painted Desert Community Complex, 1963. Photo credit: NPS.


Painted Desert Community Complex, 2017. Photo credit: Jacob Holgerson, NPS.


Paul Williams Apartments Groundbreaking Ceremony

April 22, 2017 marked the ground-breaking for a rehabilitation and adaptive re-use project at the Angelus Funeral Home, designed in 1934 by Paul R. Williams. The former mortuary, now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, was one of the most successful African American-owned businesses in Los Angeles. After the original business moved to another location in the 1960s, the Angelus Funeral Home was left vacant and suffered from neglect. The visionary adaptive reuse of the building is being undertaken by Hollywood Community Housing Corporation (HCHC) and will include seven affordable housing units and resident amenities in the historic building, and new construction with an additional 34 units of affordable housing. HRG provided guidance during the design process to ensure compliance with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, enabling the project to qualify for Federal Rehabilitation Tax Credits. HRG will continue to monitor the progress throughout the construction phase. 

Image: Rendering of the new Paul Williams Apartments, courtesy of Hollywood Community Housing Corp.