Share Your 'Hood's Historic Landmark-Worthy Places At MyHistoricLA.org
You've always thought that cool Craftsman house at the corner never gets is due street cred. And that local art house movie theater with its Art Noveau architecture two blocks from your childhood home? You probably think it's something special, too. If you've got an eye for pre-1980s, historical-landmark-status-worthy places in your community, the City of L.A. wants to hear from (and reward!) you.
Á la Foursquare but with less over-sharing and stalking potential, The new MyHistoricLA.org is Facebook- and Twitter-friendly, and it rewards members for throwing in their two cents on their neighborhood's important places.
The website is "a virtual town hall...about places that matter to Angelenos," Ken Bernstein, Manager for the City of L.A.'sOffice of Historic Resources, told LAist. By engaging citizens online, the site allows the city to connect with people in a way it hadn't been able to do before.
"Often, it's difficult to reach a full cross-section (of people) across all ages and backgrounds," he said. The website will track the locations of places suggested by users, allowing his staff to see what areas and communities are the most active, as well as where they need to improve outreach.
Idea submissions will get you 10 points, and you'll earn even more points for giving feedback on other ideas or commenting on current topics, which include "Post-WWII Suburbia" and "Agricultural History of the San Fernando Valley". In true social media fashion, the site features a Leaderboard of the most engaged users who've earned the most points by submitting or voting for ideas. Location ideas with the most votes get a chance at historic landmark status, and users with the most points get a chance at earning rewards. The rewards will include tickets to historic tours, programs and other events, said Bernstein, and the full details will be announced in the next few weeks.
So far, there have been 25 to 30 places that have been suggested, including a remnant 1920s garden in Echo Park, "a place that wasn't on our radar at all," said Bernstein, and the Ogamdo Cafe building, a brick Spanish-style structure in the Miracle Mile area that was purportedly once Ozzy Osbourne's recording studio.
The city is not only looking for buildings of architectural significance, but that of social and historical importance as well, said Bernstein. Meeting places of women's clubs, labor union halls, Freemasons and other organizations "are so part of the social fabric of the city," said Bernstein.
The site is part of the Office of Historic Resources' SurveyLA project, which seeks to identify and preserve the city's historic properties. According to office's website, 85% of the L.A. has never been surveyed, leaving many buildings and locations with social and historical significance unprotected from demolition. By identifying potential historical landmarks, the city may benefit from federal financial aid programs set aside for conservation. They'll also be able to provide a more comprehensive list of locations for tourism purposes, film shoots, city zoning and more.
The city also rolled out a similar website last fall for transit ideas with LA/2B, where citizens can share their ideas of how to improve L.A.'s transportation system. There are 500 registered members on the website, and Bernstein said the city has already "gotten hundreds of new ideas related to transportation policy" through LA/2B.