Larchmont’s own Jane Gilman celebrates a milestoneBy Helene Seifer and Larchmont Chronicle staff
On Jan. 13, 2023, Jane Gilman turns 90 years old. That’s a milestone worth celebrating for anyone, but especially so for a woman that many people credit with helping to turn Larchmont Boulevard and the surrounding neighborhood into the close-knit community we all know and love today.
Most of us recognize how important Jane has been in our area in historic preservation and community advocacy. Most, too, are familiar with the story of how Jane and her friend Dawne Goodwin started the Larchmont Chronicle in 1963, thus creating the glue that binds us together.
Few know, however, that Jane Gilman first planned to become a psychologist, or that she was a hat check girl in New York City, or how she met her husband, Irwin, who passed away in 2021.
Jane’s Early Years
Born in 1933 in Rye, New York, Jane graduated from Beloit College in Wisconsin, where she majored in English but also loved psychology.
“I was always interested in psychology,” she explains.
“It dates back to Girl Scouts when I did volunteer work
with children in the hospital. It was fascinating.”
One summer while in college, Jane worked as an assistant with psychiatric patients. “I escorted them to electric shock therapy and medical treatment.”
Although Jane enjoyed working in psychology, she decided that pursuing that vocation would require too much studying, and she turned her attention back to her major.
Perhaps it was inevitable that writing and publishing drew her interest because wordsmithing seems to run in her veins: Her older brother John was an adman responsible for the famous early tag
lines, “Wouldn’t you really rather have a Buick?” and “You can take Salem out of the country but you can’t take the country out of Salem.”
After graduating college in 1954, Jane sought work in the magazine industry in Manhattan.
New York stories
Recently, Jane has been writing short stories that document her many 1950s Manhattan adventures, including how her first post-college employment at the trade publication Air Transportation and her $50 a week salary there more than paid for her first Manhattan living situation in an all-women apartment building. Later,
she upgraded to a third-floor walk-up in Greenwich Village which she shared with two girlfriends for $33 per month each. Today’s young people often live on ramen noodles when starting out; in Jane’s day, she and her roommates ate lots of spaghetti and canned chili.
Jane’s lot improved a bit when she began working at Cosmopolitan magazine in the era before Helen Gurley Brown took it in a sexier direction. Jane Gilman’s job was to fact-check such things as Ed Sullivan’s golf score.
To earn extra money, Jane secured a second job as a hat check girl at an Italian
restaurant, where the tips were good, but, she says, “I was a non-entity, just a receptacle for some fedoras.”
Off to Germany
Parties, dating and a start in the literary world weren’t enough to satisfy the ever-active Jane, however, and she moved to Germany in 1956 to be the recreation director of a social service club for off-duty American soldiers.
“That’s where I met my husband,” she says with a laugh. “The odds were very good.” Their meeting merits telling. Jane was in the service club’s office when a local German staff mem-
The book lover’s dilemma: When to unpack my library?
My foot on that brake was more urgent than I intended. I jumped out of my Volvo and rushed to the boîte of the local Little Free Library. I popped open its tiny-hinged double doors — but my book was gone. My beautiful book by Maggie Keswick, “The Chinese Garden: History, Art and Architecture.”
I wanted it back.
I am eyeing my library. Yes, I am. At my age, it seems against the law of nature to pretend I can keep them all. They are on my shelves only barely touched by what Walter Benjamin, the pre-war German-Jewish critic, in his well-known 1931 essay, “Unpacking My Library,” called “the mild boredom of order.”
Can I imagine a life without “In the Land of Blue Poppies,” the collected plant hunting writings of Frank Kingdon Ward (1885-1958), first published in 1913, reissued in 2003? I gave it away. I want it back, too. His prose is crystalline.
These books are part of my history! I read the Keswick book for the first piece I wrote for the Los Angeles Times — in 2008 — about the then new Chinese Garden, Liu Fang Yuan, at the Hunting-
ton Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens. (The first new Chinese garden in the U.S. in a century!)
I read Frank Kingdon Ward when my interest in the prose of gardens was rising, rising, rising. That mountainside carpet of blue!
And therein lies the problem that most of us book-loving boomers and those who came right after us have: How to divest. How to lighten up. How to disperse decades of collected books and other materials.
I set a goal of giving away six books a day. It was easy, at first. But now I have cut too close to the bone. Divesting is one thing, but erasing the cultural capital of a still-breathing writer is quite another.
I had more luck in dispersing the contents of 10 or 12 boxes that belonged to my long-departed parents-inlaw, whose life archives began in 1930s Los Angeles. (I tried to engage the interest of the
three daughters, to no avail.) So, I dug in. Photographs, birth certificates, my father-in-law’s medical degree, University of Nebraska, 1933. His Purple Heart, earned in 1945 when a kamikaze plane crashed into his hospital ship, the USS Comfort, on which he was medical commander. An engraved dinner invitation from Admiral and Mrs. Chester Nimitz.
I reorganized the material into six boxes and shipped them to my nephew in Colorado, the family historian. This was easy! Time-consuming, but not intellectually or emotionally too fraught.
But back to the books.
“You have all heard of people whom the loss of their books has turned into invalids…” wrote Walter Benjamin in 1931. Well, no, but I daresay it is possible.
Among the categories in my library I cannot touch:
The books I read to write my unpublished novel set in 1932 Los Angeles.
The books I read when we lived in London.
Books on landscape and garden history.
The culinary archive, including everything M.F.K. Fisher published.
“[O]wnership is the most intimate relationship that one can have to objects,” wrote Benjamin. “Not that they
come alive in him; it is he who lives in them.”
And I stutter with shame to confess I just ordered replacement copies of Maggie Keswick’s book and “In the Land of Blue Poppies.” It is I who lives in them.
I suppose my copy of “The Oxford Companion to Food” will have to be pried from my cold hands in the end. Along with “The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary.” Both volumes.
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ber ran in from the crafts room, shouting “Toter Soldat! Toter Soldat!” which means “Dead soldier!” in German. Panicked, Jane raced to the crafts room and saw a solder awkwardly splayed out on the couch. It was Irwin Gilman. He wasn’t
dead, though — just dead tired. Irwin had come off guard duty and was so exhausted that he collapsed on the closest soft surface he could find.
Jane said dating in Germany was very romantic. She and Irwin enjoyed wine at the local castle, ate in beautiful restaurants and travelled to London and Vienna. “The scenery was
La Brea project on holdBy Suzan Filipek
Construction of a hotel-andresidential complex at 639 S. La Brea Ave. has been put on hold pending a better understanding of the present inflationary economy, a spokesman for the developer told us.
CGI+ Real Estate Investments acquired the property,
which is just north of the under-construction Wilshire / La Brea subway station, in 2017, and the eight-story project was set to begin construction in 2022.
“The project has been delayed due to rising construction costs,” said the developer’s spokesman.
incredible,” she remembers.
Marriage and a move to Los Angeles
After Irwin was out of the army, they married in Las Vegas and moved to Denver, Colorado, his hometown. On their honeymoon, they visited Los Angeles and San Francisco and immediately made plans to move to California.
In 1961, they drove their two beloved Volkswagens to Los Angeles and settled in West Hollywood.
A new day Dawnes
Irwin was a C.P.A., and Jane found work at an aerospace industry newspaper. That’s where she met her future partner-in-crime, Dawne Goodwin. They became friends.
“Dawne was a super salesman to trade newspapers. I
was in the editorial department.” When Goodwin left her job and Gilman was laid off, Jane suggested they start their own newspaper. She had experience with shopping center newspapers with a front page of articles and ads inside.
Dawne jumped at the idea and brought Jane to see Larchmont Boulevard. Initially skeptical (“Is there a May Company? A Sears?”), Jane soon was taken by the street’s charm. Jane explains, “It was just like my hometown with angled parking and stores.”
And thus the Larchmont Chronicle was born. Working in Goodwin’s home on Poinsettia Place, Dawne handled
advertising, her boyfriend did the production, Jane wrote the editorial copy, and Irwin did the accounting.
The first issue launched in September 1963 with approximately 12 pages and as many advertisers.
Jane retired after 52 years with the Chronicle, but her civic engagement never stops. She is still involved with the Wilshire Rotary Club, HopeNet, the Assistance League and the Ebell of Los Angeles, among others.
We thank you, Jane, for all you’ve done — and do — for our community, and we wish you a happy, happy birthday.
Jane Gilman Party!
John Lockhart, friend of our former publisher, wrote to us last week: “Jane Gilman, the famous newspaper publisher and hysterical historical Queen of Hancock Park, turns 90 on Friday, January 13.
“On Saturday, January 14, friends will gather for brunch to celebrate Jane . . . and readers of the Larchmont Chronicle are invited to attend! “Jane has all the crown jewels she needs, so she’s asking friends to not bring gifts and instead make a tax-deductible donation to her beloved Windsor Square Hancock Park Historical Society where she reigns supreme. Donate
“For the party, plan to bring a short story, poem or sonnet expressing your love for Jane. Dress like a rival publisher (think Dianne von Furstenberg at Cosmo, Katharine Graham at Washington Post and Newsweek, Jann Wenner at Rolling Stone and Us Weekly, Otis Chandler, William Randolph Hearst, whoever!).”
RSVP in care of Mr. Lockhart: email@example.com. If you can attend, the party planners will then share the secret, undisclosed location for Jane’s January 14 Birthday Brunch.
To drive, or not to drive? A look back from 1966 to todayBy Wendy Werris
I was 16 when I got my first driver’s license in 1966, waiting gamely in the DMV office in Hollywood with my mother, who was more confident of my driving skills than I was. I was nervous about taking the DMV tests — the written one and the driving one in my parents’ car with the instructor riding shotgun next to me.
I was the fifth person in line, and my nerves were jangled. I couldn’t keep still with the thought that I’d finally be a driver behind the wheel of my parents’ 1964 Olds Cutlass. Somehow, I passed both tests.
Two years later, Jimi Hendrix was in the DMV when I was there in 1968 — waiting in line like the rest of us to renew his license. I thought I would die! My mother didn’t understand what the fuss was.
I loved driving from the start, loved the freedom it provided me and the way it expanded my world as I drove around Los Angeles. It was a different city back then, with almost no traffic and calm, considerate drivers. There was very little to be afraid of when I was behind the wheel. No carjackings or speeding through red lights. When I became a sales rep, my terri-
tory kept expanding, taking me to parts unknown. When I got lost, the guys pumping gas were happy to give me directions to my next appointment in, say, Long Beach or Thousand Oaks. The freeway journeys were enjoyable.
But then, in the early aughts, the world started to go to war with itself in many ways. People were stressed out and anxious over the uncertainties in their lives. And many took it out on their driving and the outrageous traffic. I finally became one of them, yelling at the rude, dangerous drivers.
I acquired the ladylike habit of flipping people off if they tailgated or sped past me like maniacs. My blood pressure went up, and my patience dissipated. When I wasn’t shouting “Eff you!” at other drivers, I was probably crying.
This is not worth losing my mind over, I told myself one day after a particularly wicked drive from Venice to Pasadena.
I’d been driving for more than 50-plus years, and it was a huge part of my identity. Or was it?
I longed for a calmer approach to life in Los Angeles, and having a car was the antithesis of that. There were many options here for non-drivers: Uber, Lyft, the bus. Walking! The
more I thought about it, the better it seemed, including the allure of saving money.
I sold my car, gave the dealer the keys and grabbed an Uber home. At the time, it felt wonderful. I was a non-driver,
free of the anxiety attacks that once plagued me! This drastic lifestyle change made me creative about how to plan my days in the most financially astute ways. Third Street and its number 16 bus got me to
Ralphs, the nail salon and the dry cleaners. The “Next Bus” app became my best pal. There was no easy way to get to Gold’s Gym, so I joined a closer facility and walked a mere two blocks to get there. On occasion, I used Instacart or Amazon, but quickly realized they were overpriced.
I was in physical therapy during this time, twice a week. The bus route there and back was so complicated that I had to take Uber to get there and Lyft to get back home. I didn’t realize how crappy the city roads really were until bus rides felt like one-two punches as we hit unrelenting potholes. Then I became impatient with some of the Lyft/Uber drivers who either talked too much or were freakishly silent and glum. As I added up the cost of those new expenses, the money I thought I was saving as a non-driver was running neck and neck with my cash outlay.
I missed having a car so much that I dreamed about it. I was miserable. I felt trapped in my home, and claustrophobic. I longed to hear the news on NPR again while driving. After five months, I had to admit defeat. What have I done? Whose big idea was this? I
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Stunning Mediterranean Estate
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Community hub to house green dinosaur, theater and muralBy Suzan Filipek
A 400-seat theater, a green skeleton composite of the Diplodocus-like dinosaur, and a mural telling the city’s history from a Mexican perspective will be among features at the NHM Commons when the new wing and community hub opens in 2024 at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM).
A mere 150 million years old, Gnatalie will be the first green dinosaur skeleton mounted for display anywhere in the world.
In addition, the once censored 1981 mural by Chicana artist Barbara Carrasco, “L.A. History: A Mexican Perspective,” will stand opposite the skeleton in the Judith Perlstein Welcome Center.
The Welcome Center is part of a $75 million expansion and renovation project that will add approximately 60,000 square feet of indoor
and outdoor space to the museum. Designed by Frederick Fisher & Partners with landscape design by Studio-MLA, and new experiences designed by Studio Joseph, NHM Commons is part of a 10-year vision for increasing access and amenities for neighboring communities at both NHM and the La Brea Tar Pits in Hancock Park.
The reimagining of La Brea Tar Pits — the only active urban paleontological site in the world — is underway with the early stages of master planning being overseen by architectural firm Weiss/Manfredi.
At NHM, two advisory groups formed recently: the NHM Commons Native American Advisory Council and the NHM Commons Advisory Coalition.
“We envision NHM Commons as a community gathering place, and the collective influence of these
councils will help us deliver on that promise,” said Dr. Lori Bettison-Varga, NHM president and director.
NHM Commons will be on the southwest corner of the Natural History Museum, opening to the Coliseum and the under-construction Lucas Museum of Narrative Arts. The design includes a transparent glass façade that will allow visitors to see into the museum and its collections from the park, where gardens will provide shaded spaces and a plaza.
The 400-seat multipurpose theater will offer diverse programming, and there will be indoor experiences accessible to the public without a ticket, including the Judith Perlstein Welcome Center with the mount of the green dinosaur skeleton and Carrasco’s mural.
The mural tells the city’s history through a series of vignettes woven into the flowing hair of Reina de Los Ángeles (the queen of Los Angeles). A cafe with indoor / outdoor seating will be inside the Wallis Annenberg Lobby. Gnatalie
Gnatalie’s unique greencolored fossil bones were excavated from what was a riverbed 150 million years ago during the late Jurassic period.
The 70-foot-long skeleton’s unusual green color is due to bone infilling by the green mineral celadonite during the fossilization process. A
digital exhibition of images that show Gnatalie’s progress from “ground to mount’’ may be viewed already at gnatalie.
nhm.org. (The fossils were found in a quarry in the Badlands of Utah, where the buzz (Please turn to page 7)
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Disney and decorative arts on display at Huntington LibraryBy Nona Sue Friedman
“Disney is a global phenomenon that everyone can relate to,” is how exhibition curator Wolf Burchard of the Museum of Modern Art in New York started the tour of “Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts” during a press preview in December.
This exhibit is a collaboration between the Huntington Library, Art Museum and Botanical Gardens, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Wallace Collection in London and is on display at the Huntington, 1151 Oxford Rd. in San Marino, through Mon., March 27.
The exhibit links Walt Disney’s fascination with Europe, and specifically France, with the creation of his films and theme parks.
The Huntington’s most immersive exhibit to date feels like you are walking through a film. The walls are painted in saturated colors, Disney
(Continued from page 6) of gnats gave Gnatalie its name.)
“We are grateful to all the supporters who made our decade-long excavation possible and are making Gnatalie’s
theme songs play overhead, and actual backgrounds from Disney films are enlarged and affixed to several walls.
The three highlighted films are “Beauty and the Beast,” “Cinderella” and “Sleeping Beauty.” The original books containing the fairy tales that
display accessible without a ticket to help us inspire a new generation of scientists,” said a press release from Dr. Luis Chiappe, senior VP, research & collections, and Gretchen Augustyn, director and curator, Dinosaur Institute.
inspired the movies are displayed. Disney acquired these copies of the books on one of his many trips to Europe. He was also an avid collector of miniatures, which are also on display.
Over 50 intricate pieces of decorative art and multiple paintings from the 1700s, many from the Huntington’s own collection, fill the rooms. The decorative arts include sets of china, candlesticks, and porcelain figurines. There are numerous hand-drawn animation cells and several film clips from the Walt Disney
Archives. It’s clear that the films were initially inspired by art, created on paper and then transferred to the screen.
The centerpiece of Disney artifacts is the first large-scale bird’s-eye view of Disneyland. Created to raise money from New York bankers, the drawing was completed over a single weekend in the fall of 1953 by artist Herb Ryman, with Walt Disney hovering nearby. This image is not far from what was eventually
Another bit of trivia is that the audio introduction for this exhibit is the last body of work performed by Dame Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in “Beauty and the Beast.” Being a total professional, she did it perfectly in one take.
This is a wonderful exhibit that’s enjoyable for the whole family. Reservations are required for weekend visits. Tickets are available at huntington.orgVISITORS CAN CLEARLY SEE the intricacies of the French tower potpourri vases from the mid-1700s that are reunited for the first time during this exhibit, according to Huntington curator Melinda McCurdy (left). Photos by Nona Sue Friedman
Marion Davies will be remembered in honor of her 125th birthday on Sun., Jan. 22 at 2 p.m. at an event sponsored by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and Hollywood Heritage at Hollywood Heritage, The Barn, 2100 N. Highland Ave.
The vivacious comedic actress of the silent era, who worked on films into the 1930s, charmed movie audiences as well as her companion, newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.
The pair met when the 19-year-old Davies was a performer in the Ziegfeld Follies. Hearst was 53 and married.
Right in the Windsor Square neighborhood, a block from Getty House, the couple shared what is today called the Hearst Suite at the five-story Los Altos Hotel and Apartments,
4121 Wilshire Blvd. The 3,300-square-foot, two-story suite has four bedrooms. It was reportedly designed for Davies by Hearst’s architect, Julia Morgan. The couple’s neighbors included Bette Davis, Ava Gardner, Clara Bow
and Douglas Fairbanks, all of whom made the regal Los Altos their home.
Originally built in 1926, the Spanish Revival-style building was considered one of the most luxurious apartment homes of its time and is a list-
ed on the National Register of Historic Places and is City of Los Angeles Historic Cultural
Beyond the Los Altos, Hearst’s and Davies’ social life extended to Hearst Castle at San Simeon and Davies’ lavish beach house in Santa Monica, (partly saved as the Annenberg Community Beach House).
The Jan. 22 event will also cover Davies’ work as a philanthropist and advocate for children. A presentation and question-and-answer session will feature biographer Lara Gabrielle, author of the new biography, “Captain of Her Soul: The Life of Marion Davies,” and a screening of the 1925 film, “Zander the Great.” For tickets, visit hollywoodheritage.org.
Park La Brea Residents Association to meet Jan. 8
Members of the Park La Brea Residents Association (PLBRA) will hold the group’s annual meeting on Sun., Jan. 8, at 2 p.m. New City Councilmember for District 5, Katy Yaroslavsky, is scheduled to speak at the meeting, which is planned to take place in person in the Activities Center and Theater at 475 S.
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won’t feel human until I have a car and can rely on myself, rather than the mercy of strangers and the often questionable rides from A to B.
In the time that I could say “Nissan,” I’d bought another car, older and a bit shabbier than my last one, that I can call my own. I changed during the exodus from my old identity. I don’t rush anymore. I
Members will elect the new year’s board of directors, and a presentation by the apartment complex owner, Prime Group, is tentatively scheduled, said Robert Shore, PLBRA president.
The Park La Brea apartment complex includes 4,255 units in high-rise tower and garden apartments.
avoid freeways when possible. And driving at night, when the real crazies are out, is a thing of the past. I keep my obscenities to myself now. And deep breathing helps with any residual rage.
If you’re thinking about sacrificing your car, think twice. It might work for you, but it could also backfire as it did for me. The choice is yours.
Wendy Werris is a longtime local writer. She now lives in Park La Brea.
Santa came to town early for Wilshire Rotary toy driveBy Suzan Filipek
Hancock Park native Toni Hodgkiss decorated her home to host Santa and about 60 Wilshire Rotarians bearing unwrapped children’s gifts in time for Christmas.
The 25th annual Wilshire Rotary Club “Give a Gift to Santa” on Dec. 13 benefited
the underprivileged children served by the Salvation Army’s Red Shield Club in Downtown Los Angeles.
The festive event grew out of an idea by Rob Barnes, co-director of Wilshire Rotary Community Service, and then president Dan Hodgkiss to combine a party with
a toy drive for the children served by Wilshire Rotary’s long-standing partner, the Salvation Army.
Instead of the kids sitting in Santa’s lap and receiving a toy, Rotarians would present Santa with a gift for the children of the Red Shield.
“Dan was a great Santa [that first year], and the party itself was a hit, with a generous donation of toys,” Barnes said. “Give a Gift to Santa has been a holiday tradition, and we still come together as a club to toast the holidays, donate lots of toys (and money) to the Red Shield Club, and most importantly, demonstrate Rotary ideals while hopefully making the season a little happier for
those children served by the Red Shield Club.”
At this year’s event, local
Rotarian John Duerler was a wonderful Santa, one partygoer told us.
FIRE STATION 29 receives gift. The Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council granted First-In Fire Foundation a Neighborhood Purpose Grant (NPG) to purchase a freezer for Fire Station 29. The presentation took place at the fire station Dec. 12. L-R: front row: Firefighter Aaron Galvez, Apparatus Operator Ted Boyd and Firefighter Eric Tinoco. Standing: Julie Stromberg, chair, GWNC NPG Grants; Lyn MacEwen Cohen, president, First-In Fire Foundation; Capt. Frank Larez, Fire Station 29, LAFD; Engineer Chris Swailes; Owen Smith, past president, GWNC; and Conrad Starr, president, GWNC.
Happy Holidays & May the New Year
Ridgewood Place, a lost gem and overlooked subdivision
exploration of the undesignated historic districts of Greater Wilshire, our next stop is the SurveyLA identified Ridgewood Place Residential Historic District. This shady lane wedged between the Windsor Square Historic Preservation Overlay Zone (HPOZ) and the Wilton Historic District is a single-family residential neighborhood that includes lots on both sides of North Ridgewood Place, from just south of Beverly Boulevard to First Street. It is an overlooked remnant of the long-lost subdivision of Ridgewood Park, whose origins, like Windsor Square’s and Fremont Place’s, reach back more than a century.
Henry Hancock — 1865 Like many of the commu-
nities of Greater Wilshire, the story of Ridgewood Park begins in Alta California with the venerable Rancho La Brea, which was acquired by Major Henry Hancock in 1865. Nearly 10 years later, in 1874, the western portion of the rancho was sold to a Canadian sea captain, John Cornelius Plummer, who, with his wife Maria Cecelia and two sons John Jr. and Eugene, worked the 160 acres and lived in a fine Victorian cottage in what is now Plummer Park in West Hollywood.
Following Captain Plummer’s death, his sons — the self-styled Dons Juan and Eugenio — slowly sold off portions of the property as the city crept ever closer.
Enter Gilbert S. Wright, with real estate interests from downtown to Santa Monica,
On Preservation byBrian Curran
and whose firm Wright, Callender Andrews was based at the John C. Austin-designed Wright & Callender Building at 405 S. Hill St.
Wright set his eyes on obtaining a tract of land in the prime region west of Western Avenue along Wilshire Boulevard, an area that had been annexed by the city in 1909. Like the developers of Wilshire Crest, Fremont Place, Windsor Square and Country Club Park, Wright looked to capitalize on the westward migration of wealthy families from West Adams.
Gilbert Wright — 1911
In 1911, Wright purchased a tract in what had been called Plummer Square but then rechristened Ridgewood Park in a nod to adjacent subdivision Ridgewood Place (the heart of the current Wilton Historic District) which also had jettisoned the Plummer name. Ridgewood Park was bounded by Beverly to the north, Third Street to the South, Norton Avenue to the west and Ridgewood Place / Wilton Place to the east. As a sign of confidence in his new venture, Wright had architect Austin design a grand residence for him and his family at 237 N. Van Ness Avenue on three large lots at the corner of Van Ness and Beverly — now the site of Robert Burns Park.
Ridgewood Park was very
egalitarian in its planning, divided by three streets, each allowing for a different size of lot and home, with the grandest houses and most generous lots reserved for the center street, Van Ness, followed by narrower lots with two story houses on Norton. Along Ridgewood Place, lot sizes and homes were more modest still. The lots were slowly built upon between the period of 1911 to 1921. According to the SurveyLA findings “most houses (on Ridgewood) are constructed in the American Colonial Revival style; there are a few Craftsman, Tudor Revival and French Revival-style residences as well. Common architectural features include wood clapboard siding, side gable roofs and symmetrical facades.”
Architect F.M. Tyler
As with the Wilton Historic District, the architect who seems to dominate along Ridgewood is Frank M. Tyler. Tyler, originally from Kansas, worked with his three brothers and father at their firm, Tyler & Co., designing for their residential building company. Tyler, specializing in the Tudor and Craftsman styles, was a well established architect by the time he started receiving commissions along Ridgewood Place. His work is prominent in communities such as Victoria Park, West Adams, Harvard Heights (where he lived) and the now lost Berkeley Square.
Over time, as in many areas in Los Angeles, the names of original subdivisions faded as the streets and houses be-
came associated with larger neighborhoods by habit or by real estate interests. So it was with Ridgewood Park, where Norton and Van Ness slowly became more associated with New Windsor Square after 1920, eventually leaving only the name of Ridgewood Place as a last vestige of Wright’s Ridgewood Park subdivision.
It would take the threat of a 1972 government proposal to demolish six houses to widen and straighten Wilton to reignite the community’s pride of place. The street widening (and possible upzoning to multi-family R-3 zoning) project was successfully averted with the help of Councilman John Ferraro. In 1978, the Ridgewood-Wilton Neighborhood Association (RWNA) was formed to become a component neighborhood of the Wilshire Homeowners’ Alliance that was formed that same year. The next act of the RWNA was to advocate for a Wilton Historic District to preserve the historic buildings in the future by the placement of the district on the National Register of Historic Places. The streets between First and Third along Wilton Place, Wilton Drive and South Ridgewood Place would become Los Angeles’ second historic district in 1979.
A little over a decade later, a motion was introduced by Councilman Ferraro to create the Plummer Square HPOZ, which would have encompassed the areas of the (Please turn to page 11)
Small business owners may apply for a legacy grant
The Los Angeles Conservancy has launched a Legacy Business Grant Program to support eligible small businesses that have operated and contributed to their community’s history and/or identity for at least 20 years.
Up to 10 longtime small businesses within Los Angeles County will be awarded
$5,000 grants, thanks to funding from Wells Fargo. There are two rounds of funding with five grants awarded in each round. While the first round has closed, the second round opens on Wed., Feb. 8 and closes Wed., March 8. Visit laconservancy.org/grant for more information.
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RWNA and neighboring St. Andrew’s Place, some 92 acres of John C. Plummer’s original land holdings. However, a majority of homeowners did not support the effort, and it floundered.
With the failure of the Plummer Square HPOZ and the establishment of the Windsor Square HPOZ in 2007, Ridgewood Place would find itself surrounded by historic districts associated with its development and history, yet it remained a lone two blocks left without the protections and benefits available to its neighbors to the east, west and south. When SurveyLA evaluated Ridgewood Place in 2014, it found a street with, “significant concentration of period revival (mainly American Colonial Revival) residential architecture in the Wilshire area, with high quality design and craftsmanship conveyed by individual homes.” SurveyLA provided a name for the newly identified historic district as the Ridgewood Place Residential Historic District.
In the past, I would have made the argument that the Windsor Square HPOZ should be expanded to include Ridgewood Place, as the original
have HPOZs; red neighborhoods may be eligible.
two western streets (Norton and Van Ness) of Wright’s subdivision of Ridgewood Park are now situated there. But, because of the city’s interpretation under former city attorney Mike Feuer of Senate Bill 330, which prohibits sub-
jective design standards, all new HPOZs have been halted until at least 2030. (Perhaps new city attorney Hydee Feldstein Soto can revisit this!) Ridgewood Place’s options for preservation protections are either the arduous process
of joining the Wilton Historic District or the simpler and cleaner creation of an independent National Register District.
Either way, Ridgewood Place needs to be preserved for the enhancement of our
communities and to provide the vital historical and geographical links between the existing Windsor Square and the existing Wilton Historic District, as well as the historical Ridgewood Park and Plummer Square.
Make candy jewelry and gratitude jars; watch a puppet show LIBRARY CALENDAR
Toddlers & Kids
Create a puppet: Design your own puppet, then perform a story in the puppet theater Tues., Jan. 17, at 4 p.m. All materials provided.
Kids & Teens
Candy labs: Learn the basics of jewelry making with designer Seville Michelle. Create your own designs out of candy and upcycled materials Tues., Jan. 17, at 4 p.m.
Adult literacy: Walk-in tutoring sessions are back! Come get questions answered about English spelling, pronunciation and conversation. First come, first served Mondays from 3 to 4:30 p.m.
Computer comfort class: Familiarize yourself with keyboards, a mouse and executing a search on the internet. Participants can use a library computer or bring their own. Class takes place every Monday from 1 to 2 p.m
Book Sale: Browse used
books every Wednesday from noon to 4 p.m. All sales support the library branch.
Babies & Toddlers
Story time: Come to the library Wed., Jan. 4, and Wed., Jan. 25, from 10:30 to 11 a.m. to hear stories and sing songs with your friends.
Animals of the Chinese zodiac: Draw one of the 12 Chinese zodiac animals with oil pastels on Thurs., Jan. 19, from 4 to 5 p.m.
Teens & Adults
Henna tattoos: Have a henna artist make a simple or intricate tattoo using organic henna paste on Tues., Jan. 17, from 4 to 5 p.m. Space is limited. Sign up early at jcfrmt@ lapl.org or call.
MEMORIAL LIBRARY Kids
Story time in the park: Drop in to listen to stories and sing songs in Memorial Park adjoining the library every Wednesday in January from 10:30 to 11 a.m.
Reading to the rescue: Is your child in love with dogs? Do you want your child to read more? She can read aloud to an adorable rescue dog on Wed., Jan. 11, from 4 to 5 p.m.
SnookNuk and the Robot Puppet Show: Watch a singing, dancing robot puppet perform next to a colorful LED rocket ship on Tues., Jan. 31, at 4 p.m.
Kids & Teens
Drop-in tutoring with Steve: Need a refresher on some academics? Stop by Thursdays this month from 3 to 5 p.m. for one-on-one assistance with any subject or drop in to make a future appointment.
Teen council: Get involved with the community and learn leadership skills on Sat., Jan. 14, at 2 p.m.
Architectural model workshop: A special guest will guide you through creating your own architectural model on Thurs., Jan 19 at 4 p.m.
Game day: Bring your friends for some fun with games on Thurs., Jan 26, at 4 p.m.
FAFSA workshop: Calling all seniors. Need help from a professional to fill out your free application for federal student aid (FAFSA)? Or just need a quiet place without distractions? Come here Sat., Jan. 28, at 11 a.m. Bring your paperwork and a laptop if possible.
First Friday book club: Discuss “The Sanatorium” by Sarah Pearse on Fri., Jan. 6,
161 S. Gardner St. 323-936-6191
JOHN C. FREMONT 6121 Melrose Ave. 323-962-3521
MEMORIAL 4625 W. Olympic Blvd. 323-938-2732 WILSHIRE 149 N. St. Andrews Pl. 323-957-4550
Mon. and Wed., 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Tues. and Thurs., noon to 8 p.m., Fri. and Sat., 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Closed Mon., Jan. 2, for New Year’s Day and Mon., Jan. 16, for Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
at 1 p.m. The February book is “Movie Land” by Lee Goldberg.
Art class: Color or paint with peers every Wednesday from 3 to 5 p.m.
All ages Chess club: Every Friday, from 3 to 5 p.m., play chess or learn how.
Book sale: Buy your next favorite read at this sale every Tuesday 12:30 to 5 p.m. The last Tuesday of each month hours are 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. The sale is every Saturday from 4 to 5 p.m. All proceeds support the library.
Babies, Kids & Teens Story telling and reading (STAR): Beloved STAR volunteer Frances will be at the library to read to you or to be read to every Saturday this month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Story time: Read stories, sing songs and stretch up to the stars with Sybil on Fri., Jan. 6, at 10:30 a.m.
Kids & Teens
Gratitude jar: Join artist Amy Muscoplat to decorate jars you can then fill with memories of good times on Thurs., Jan. 19, from 4 to 5 p.m. All supplies provided.
Yoga for kids: Do some easy yoga poses with the author of “The ABCs of Yoga for Kids” on Tues., Jan 24 at 4 p.m. Parents welcome too!
Teens & Adults
CORE Center visits: Staff from Connecting to Opportunities for Recovery and Engagement (CORE) will provide information and resources to help families talk about drug and alcohol abuse with loved ones. The
organization will be here the first and third Tuesday of the month from 2 to 4 p.m. No appointment necessary. Adults
Container gardening: Learn how to make use of unusual containers around your home to grow plants. A master gardener will teach different techniques to yield greater success on Sat., Jan 14, at 1 p.m. Free plants will be available for participants, while supplies last.
Margaret Wertheim will sign copies of her new hardbound book, “Value and Transformation of Corals” at Craft Contemporary on Sat., Jan. 7 at noon.
The book tells of the world’s largest art-and-science project and the worldwide response to disappearing living reefs. It also highlights the creative power of collective human action. The book includes essays as well as 200 pages of photos.
The Crochet Coral Reef Project was established in Los Angeles and has exhibited at the Venice Biennale and elsewhere. The book catalogues last year’s exhibit at Museum Frieder Burda in Baden-Baden, Germany.
To RSVP for the free book signing and talk, to take place at 5814 Wilshire Blvd., visit cafam.org.
‘Value of Corals’ told in new book; signing is Jan. 7
P-22 memorialized at Natural History Museum
With the passing of Los Angeles’ most famous wildcat, a P-22 exhibition has opened at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. The exhibit is a place for visitors to write down, post and share their memories or condolences.
“His passing is a painful moment, but we are so thankful for how he created a better understanding of the coexistence of urban wildlife, humans and L.A.’s biodiversity,” said Miguel Ordeñana, NHM senior manager of community science.
The mountain lion, suspected of having several injuries, was captured and examined last month. After it was determined that the 12-year-old cat (elderly for a mountain lion) suffered from several ailments, he was euthanized.
P-22 first was spotted by Ordeñana in 2012, and the cat continued to be documented via cameras placed throughout Griffith Park. P-22 lived as a solitary mountain lion, marooned in eight square miles
of the park, surviving on mule deer mostly, plus coyotes and raccoons. His life inspired the design of the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing that began construction in April 2022 and is expected to be finished in 2025. It will be part of the largest wildlife corridor in the United States.
NHM is at 900 Exposition Blvd.
Greatest puppet show on earth performsBy Nona Sue Friedman
The greatest puppet show on earth will kick off Bob Baker Marionette Theater‘s (BBMT) 60th year with “The Circus” Sat., Jan. 14. It continues through Sun., March 26 at this one-of-a-kind theater at 4949 York Blvd. in Highland Park.
This circus-related show started in 1948 as window displays at Milliron’s Department Store in downtown Los Angeles. Over the years, it
evolved into a traveling puppet show. Now it’s been lovingly preserved to present in the theater.
This puppet version of a circus features more than 100 marionettes, including tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, seals with magical balls, silly clowns and trickster clowns. The audience will delight with intricate practical effects.
Tickets to the show can be purchased at bobbakermarionettetheater.com.
WWII Italian Jews remembered at commemoration
The eve of Holocaust Remembrance Day will include a commemoration ceremony in collaboration with the Consulate General of Italy at the Holocaust Museum LA, 100 The Grove Dr.
The Italian Cultural Institute in Los Angeles will also be represented at the remembrance on Thurs., Jan. 26 at 3 p.m.
Director James Cameron dives deep in ‘Pressure’By Nona Sue Friedman
Not only is James Cameron an award-winning filmmaker (with “Avatar: The Way of Water” recently released), he
also is a record-breaking deep sea explorer. He’s the only person to solo dive to the deepest point on Earth.
On display at the Natural
History Museum is the vessel he used to plunge to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. This pop-up exhibit, “Pressure: James Cameron into the Abyss,” is on display through Mon., Feb. 20.
At the exhibit, short films show Cameron during the dive, collecting samples and
photographing creatures literally at the bottom of the ocean. Cameron submerged almost seven miles. That’s about 1,000 times standard atmospheric pressure.
The exhibit is included in the price of admission to the museum. Visit nhm.org for additional information.
Names of some of the 8,000 Jews that were deported from Italy during World War II will be read, and selected short films will be screened at the event honoring the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
To RSVP for the free program visit holocaustmuseumla.org.
Construction site burglar arrested; lock your car! POLICE BEAT
The most prevalent crimes for the area for the past month have been residential burglaries and car break-ins. Don’t forget to lock both your home and your car! Activate alarms, and let your neighbors know when you will out of town. As for car thefts specifically, remember the motto: Lock it, hide it, keep it!
BURGLARIES: A suspect smashed a rear, upstairs bedroom door around 9 p.m. to gain access to a home on the 100 block of North June Street on Dec. 3. The suspect fled the home through the front door. It’s unknown what was taken.
A male suspect used a tool to smash the door of a home on the 300 block of South Lucerne Boulevard on Dec. 9 between 5 and 10 p.m. A watch and clothing were taken.
A side glass door was shattered by a male suspect between 5 and 10 p.m. on
Dec. 9. It’s not known what was taken, but the incident occurred on the 400 block of South Lucerne Boulevard.
A suspect entered the garage of a home on the 600 block of South Arden Boulevard. The burglary occurred overnight, between Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. and 6:30 a.m. on Dec. 16. Multiple tools and miscellaneous other items were taken. No suspect information is available.
Jewelry and a watch were taken from a home on the 300 block of North Lucerne Boulevard. The male suspect entered the home by smashing the sliding glass door with a tool. He took the property and fled through the residence around 6 p.m. on Dec. 14.
BURGLARIES FROM VEHICLES: A vehicle airbag was stolen from a grey Honda Civic on Dec. 11 at 7:30 p.m. The theft occurred on the 400 block of North Orange Drive.
A catalytic converter was stolen from a blue Toyo-
Captured house burglar arraignedBy Nona Sue Friedman
One of three suspects in a burglary that occurred Thanksgiving Day on the 300 block of South Irving Boulevard in Windsor Square was to be arraigned on Fri., Dec. 23 after the Larchmont Chronicle went to press. Anthonee Banks is one of the three people shown in security camera videos during the
Banks was out on bail before the arraignment. Authorities believe the three suspects are the same men who were casing other homes in the area.
The police have not caught the other two burglars.
According to the Irving Boulevard homeowner, detectives continue to work on the case.
Furnished by Senior Lead Officer
Joseph Pelayo 213-793-0709 email@example.com
Twitter: @lapdolympic ta Highlander on Dec. 15 at 2 a.m. on the 300 block of South Detroit Street.
Another catalytic converter was stolen between 5 p.m. on Dec. 17 and 10:30 a.m. on Dec. 18 from the 500 block of North Sycamore Avenue.
BURGLARIES : An unknown suspect smashed the rear door of a home on the 800 block of South Norton Avenue. The suspect stole money, jewelry and a backpack at 6:15 p.m. on Dec. 2. Unknown property was tak-
Package thieves prey on victims this time of yearBy Nona Sue Friedman
While you’re ordering a steady stream of gifts online, porch package thieves are lurking around the area looking for an easy victim. Reported cases for our neighborhood include the 300 block of North Orange Drive, the 200 block of Muirfield Road and the 200 block of North Arden Boulevard. These criminals, also known as “porch pirates,” prey on easy targets. Here are some tips so that you and your household don’t fall victim to the crime.
Rerouting your package is a great way to avoid having them left on your porch. Consider having deliveries sent to your office, a UPS store or an Amazon locker. If none of these is an option for you, think of requiring a signature upon delivery.
Furnished by Senior Lead Officer Dave Cordova
213-793-0650 firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @lapdwilshire
en from a home on the 400 block of South Irving Boulevard on Dec. 3 between 11 a.m. and 9 p.m. The suspect entered the home via a rear balcony glass door.
A Black male entered a construction site on the 100 block
of North Ridgewood Place at 1 p.m. on Dec. 9. He damaged and stole property. He was pointed out to the police and was arrested.
Jewelry, cameras and food were stolen when a suspect entered an apartment on Dec. 9 between 5:30 and 10:30 p.m. The suspect gained access to the apartment through the rear balcony.
Unknown suspects entered an apartment through an unlocked window and stole a handgun on Dec. 13 between 7:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on the 700 block of South Gramercy Place.
Older woman brutally attacked twice on Eighth StreetBy Nona Sue Friedman
Out for one of her two daily walks, minding her own business, a 72-year-old female resident of Windsor Village was brutally attacked by a male transient around 7:30 a.m. on Sat., Dec. 10, on Eighth Street near Plymouth Boulevard.
The victim saw the attacker from across the street. He called her an expletive. Feeling uneasy, the woman quickened her pace. Unfortunately, the man came after her, tackled her to the ground, where she hit her head, and punched her multiple times in the face and stomach. Luckily, she was able to escape from him.
Blood was gushing from her face as she ran away from him. She met up with a woman walking her dog who helped her and continued to walk with her, calling the police.
Then, the assaulted woman noticed the attacker follow-
ing them. While screaming, she tried to flee from him, but couldn’t outrun him. He caught her again and again punched her.
Another good citizen, who was driving by, saw the woman being attacked and intervened. He and another resident were able to hold down the man while the woman got away.
By this time, numerous neighbors had witnessed the happenings and had also called 911. Within minutes, two police cars and an ambulance arrived. The woman was taken to the hospital. She received 15 stitches in her face.
The assailant was arrested. He is in jail and awaiting arraignment on elder abuse.
In years past, the woman made holiday cookies that she handed out to homeless people she encountered on her walks. She’s not doing that this year, she said.
Resolving to add a few stylish bits of lingo to your repertoire in 2023? Looking to give the teens and 20-somethings in your life a taste of their own mumbo jumbo? Teach those whippersnappers a thing or two by sharing the centuries-old antecedents of their favorite slang words.
cringe adj. 1. so embarrassing, awkward, etc. as to cause one to cringe, as in, “This photo is cringe, but I think he’s cute,” as a friend of mine recently prefaced when she showed me the professional headshot-esque profile photo of someone she matched with on a dating app.
Familiar to most of us as an intransitive verb, (“I cringed when I saw the photo”), the syntactic function of “cringe” has expanded into modern slang in recent years as an adjective describing that which one perceives to be clumsy or oblivious (in this case, the photo itself).
The word in all its forms traces roots to the Proto-Germanic krank, meaning “to bend or curl up,” which led to the 1570s “cringe,” or “to
bend or crouch, especially with servility or fear.” Behavior that we deem “cringe,” as some use the term today, may still incite the telltale bodily symptoms of secondhand embarrassment: a desire to make ourselves physically smaller or avert our eyes from the uncomfortable actions of another... or simply to swipe left.
gas·light·ing n. 1. psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time that causes the victim to question the validity of his or her own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories.
Much ink has been spilled on the significance of this term in recent weeks — it was Merriam-Webster’s 2022 Word of the Year — especially regarding its relevance during an era of increased misinformation and media distrust, as well as its overuse and dilution (e.g. using the term to describe minor instances of dishonesty). “Gaslighting” isn’t exactly slang, but its widespread adoption among a younger generation prone to hyperbolic language (re-
member when we all had to bid adieu to the exactitude of the word “literally”?) gives it an of-the-moment inflection.
The colloquialism comes from the title of the 1938 British play “Gas Light” (and its 1944 film adaptation “Gaslight” starring Ingrid Bergman) in which a husband attempts to steal from his wife by making her believe she’s going insane. The method? The husband — “Gregory” in the film version — orchestrates a plan wherein he makes suspicious noises in the attic and causes the home’s gaslights to dim when his wife, Paula, believes she is home alone. Gregory insists to Paula that she is imagining the lights
dimming and that she can’t trust her own perceptions. Though the term “gaslighting” itself is not mentioned in the screenplay or film, the association with gaslights and this particular variety of deception lingered on, entering the English lexicon in earnest in the mid-2010s.
me·ta adj. 1. showing or suggesting an explicit awareness of itself or oneself as a member of its category. All multibillion-dollar technology conglomerates aside, “meta” is an informal term used to describe self-referential works of art (think Diego Velázquez’s enigmatic 1656 masterpiece “Las Meninas,” in which the painter portrays himself looking outward, face-to-face with the viewer), film (which I personally witnessed several months ago at a double feature screening of Gaspar Noé’s “Lux Æterna” and Pier Paolo Pasolini’s “La Ricotta,” both fictionalized depictions of the slow descent
into chaos that is producing a film), and countless other media. Derived from the Ancient Greek meta, meaning “of sequence or succession,” or “beyond,” “after” or “behind,” fourth wall-breaking works in the meta category have been blowing minds and expanding our consciousness since well before we finally came to understand the premise of “The Matrix.”
When writing this month’s column, I dared to search my phone to see how frequently I had used each of the aforementioned words in my thumb-typed communications. I came to find that the language used in my personal life does little to betray my positioning in the exact median of the millennial generation. As if lifted directly from a New York Times article about overtherapized young people, a lovers’ quarrel with my boyfriend from a few years back included the word “gaslight.” So cringe.
taking a package off a porch.
(Continued from page 14)
Advertise a security system, even if you don’t have one. Put stickers and signs in strategic areas. This might make a burglar think twice before approaching your porch.
If you are headed out of town or even if you will just
Duckler book launch at ICA
be gone for the day and know that a package is coming, enlist a neighbor to check your house.
If you are home and having packages delivered, check the front door regularly.
A book launch of the visual record of the Heidi Duckler Dance Company’s works from 2016-2021 will take place Sat., Jan. 14, from 3 to 5 p.m. Duckler and artist James Robie will sign books at the event, which will be set within the innovative architecture of the lobby of the Insitute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICA LA), 1717 E. 7th St., DTLA.