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City Hall Insiders: ‘Mayor Furiously Lobbying’ to Bring Down Historic Bartlett House


VOICES-In a blatant case of political payback for a well-connected campaign donor, the Mayor’s office is exerting intense pressure at City Hall in an effort to facilitate the demolition of a landmark Los Feliz home, one of the two remaining single family residences by A. C. Martin Sr, the same architect who designed the iconic Los Angeles City Hall. 

According to City Hall insiders, staff members for Mayor Eric Garcetti have been furiously lobbying behind the scenes to scuttle a Historic-Cultural Monument nomination for a stunning Arts and Crafts residence known as the Bartlett House, which is located at 1829 N. Kenmore Avenue and was constructed in 1914 for Hamburger Department Store executive Oswald Bartlett. 

Master Architect Albert C. Martin, Sr. whose stellar career and legacy have had a significant influence upon Los Angeles’ built environment, also designed the May Company Wilshire building, the Million Dollar Theatre, The Inn at Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park, and Saint Vincent de Paul Church on Adams Boulevard. Martin’s family remains a pivotal player in Southern California architecture, designing such diverse projects as the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, ARCO Plaza in Downtown LA, and the New Wilshire Grand, a 1,100-foot-tall skyscraper currently under construction Downtown Los Angeles that will be the tallest building west of the Mississippi. 

With the help of Councilmember Tom LaBonge the Oswald Bartlett House has received a temporary “stay of demolition” until the preservation issue is re-heard in the Cultural Heritage Commission meeting, scheduled for Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. Agenda here.   

Yet despite this impressive legacy, the help and support from Councilmember LaBonge and the merits of the Bartlett House, Mayor Eric Garcetti has been working behind the scenes to prevent the nomination and allow developer Elan Mordoch to proceed with demolition of the home to clear the way for a small lot subdivision of six units on the one and one-half parcel lot. 

As one staffer for Tom LaBonge told community members at the City Council hearing September 10, she had never previously experienced anything like the pressure the Mayor’s office exerted in trying to allow the house to be destroyed. 

However, the road to redemption, or at least the temporary stay of demolition, was not an easy one to travel on. 

Council Member Tom LaBonge drafted a motion for Cultural Heritage Commission and City Council, which reads in part that “…The Oswald Bartlett House, located at 1829 N. Kenmore Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90027, appears to be a significant historic resource in the Los Feliz neighborhood and for the City at-large.” It further states that “…The Oswald Bartlett House contributes to the community in three ways: First, it is a rare example of a single-family residence designed by Master Architect Albert C. Martin. Second, it is a unique example of an Arts and Crafts movement, Colonial Revival style building. Third, it is a rare, significantly intact representative and reminder of the historic development and character of the neighborhood.”

On September 10, 2014 the Los Angeles City Council agreed unanimously to send the item back to the Cultural Heritage Commission to “... initiate consideration of the Oswald Bartlett Home …” and to “... instruct the Planning Department to prepare the Historic-Cultural Monument application for review and consideration by the Cultural Heritage Commission.” 

This resulted in members of the commission taking separate turns to tour the house and ultimately have Staff draft a Report that states in part “... Based on the facts set forth in the summary and application, the Commission determines that the application is complete and that the property may be significant enough to warrant further investigation as a potential Historic-Cultural Monument.” 

On Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 10:00 AM the Cultural Heritage Commission – whose members are appointed by Mayor Eric Garcetti – will decide whether or not to save the Bartlett House. 

Please take a moment to join members of the community at the meeting or submit your written comments to either or all people listed below in order to voice your support to protect this potential historic monument and to NOT allow the developer to send this architectural jewel to a landfill, to be replaced by another bland small lot subdivision, as that would be a tragic loss of Los Angeles’ history. 

● Nels Youngborg at [email protected] 

● Lambert Giesinger at [email protected] 

● Ken Bernstein at [email protected]  

(Subject line: Agenda Item 8: BARTLETT RESIDENCE, 1829 N. KENMORE AVENUE, CHC-2014-2904-HCM, CD 4)


(This story was first published on HNN-TV.  Ziggy Kruse is an activist and reporter for www.HNN-TV.com. [[hotlink]] She can be reached at [email protected].  Ms. Kruse views are her own and do not reflect opinions of either the staff or management of CityWatch.)






Vol 12 Issue 79

Pub: Sep 30, 2014

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