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Arts and Entertainment

Project Aims to Tell the "Untold" History of West Adams

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It's a common lament: Los Angeles is so vast that it's too easy for tourists, transplants and even native Angelenos to overlook the hidden gems in the city—even if it's just a neighborhood or freeway away.

Photographer and TV director Jett Loe said he stumbled upon West Adams by accident when he was apartment-hunting. Almost immediately, he fell in love with the neighborhood and its gorgeous architecture but he was dismayed to learn that few others (that he knew, anyway) shared his passion or knew anything about its long history. Now he's launched a Kickstarter project called "Untold LA" to document the history past and present of its residents. Loe writes:

Many people think they know LA, but there is one extraordinary district that seems forgotten to all but a few: West Adams. Home to the greatest architectural treasure West of the Mississippi of Victorian, Queen Anne, Beaux Arts, Egyptian Revival, Mission and Craftsman homes, the stories of West Adams are just as wild as the houses.

Loe said he wants to create a high-quality, beautifully produced iPad app (and a website for the rest of us) about the neighborhood that includes shots of the neighborhood from the outside and from its interiors. He wants to interview the residents who live there, including some of its "intentional communities." The neighborhood was once the enclave of wealthy whites during the late 19th and early 20th century. Blacks were barred from living there, but a court decision changed all that and it later became the enclave of wealthy and famous blacks, including Hattie McDaniel, Little Richard and Ray Charles. (We wonder if this project will talk about its contemporary rep as a black, gay hood, which was noted by Jasmyne Cannick and echoed by Leimert Park Beat.)So far the project has already raised over $5,000 of its $7,000 goal. Loe says if he gets even more money, he'll put more time into the project and even turn it into a book.

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Neighborhood Project: West Adams

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