Historical Preservation
How To Apply for Historical Monument Status

Living room of one of the Kelton duplexes. Note the Art Deco fireplace, just one of the many fascinating architectural touches found in the Janss Investment Co. homes from the Westwood Hills development. Photo by Ken Lee.

Historic Monuments Application
The Cultural Heritage Commission is a body that decides historic monument status for the LA City Cultural Affairs Department. Their phone number is (213) 473-7700. Go to their web site (
http://www.culturala.org) and follow the links to the Historical Monuments Application. This application can be downloaded. Some items that the applicant must fill out include very specific architectural details of the structures, black and white photos, when the house was built, and other information, some of it requiring research. The application is mailed in with the pictures. The Cultural Heritage Commission gets together to determine whether it is worthy of a site visit to the properties. After the site visit, they meet again to determine whether the properties are worthy of historical monument status. The idea here is to build a case for the house being in original condition, rarity, and historical significance.

Unless you have some knowledge in architecture and research, the next step is to get some help and advice. We contacted the following organizations, who were extremely helpful in providing information to us at all stages of our battle for historical preservation of the homes:

Art Deco Society of Los Angeles

LA Conservancy

Be sure to see "How To Save Historic Buildings" on the LA Conservancy web site.

If possible, try and set up a meeting between people in the neighborhood, historical preservationists such as the Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, the neighborhood council, and your local district office. We set up a meeting between all the tenants, two members of the
Art Deco Society of Los Angeles, and the Planning Deputy from the Fifth District, Jack Weiss' office. Probably like any other District office, Jack Weiss' office is very busy. They hear complaints constantly. Nevertheless, if you want someone to call back, it frequently takes persistence and lots of calls. We found that leaving lots of messages in the evening as well as during the day seemed to be effective in generating a call back from the office.

Councilman Jack Weiss of District Five
weiss@council.lacity.org (310) 289-0353

How to find out what district the homes are in:

Filling Out the Historic Monuments Application
The application, as mentioned previously, requires specific architectural details of the building, photos, when the house was built, and other information. It takes time and research. Try to divide up the tasks among several reliable people in your group.

Architectural Details
Because we needed to note many architectural details on the application but were not experts in architecture, we made an appointment with Celeste, who is a member with the
Art Deco Society, to visit the homes again. I followed her around with a clipboard, scribbling information down as she pointed out architectural details in all three properties. We gained an even greater appreciation of the beauty of the homes that we lived in that evening. A couple of us took photos of all the details.

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)

Historical Monuments Application
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