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Santa Monica Conservancy Receives LA Conservancy Award

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The Santa Monica Conservancy will be recognized by the Los Angeles Conservancy with a Preservation Award at its 36th Annual Preservation Award luncheon at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel on May 3. The Conservancy’s rehabilitation of the Shotgun House was cited as a “fantastic example of grassroots advocacy and reuse for educational purposes” by Adrian Scott Fine, Director ofAdvocacy for the Los Angeles Conservancy.

This is the third award the Conservancy has received for our shotgun house rehabilitation, demonstrating outstanding achievement in historic preservation, adding to recent awards given by the California Preservation Foundation and the Office of the Governor.

“It is a testament to the perseverance and dedication shown by the community and very committed Conservancy volunteers in making this project a reality and hopefully, an inspiration for others to find creative and sustainable ways to use our historic structures,” said president Carol Lemlein.

The Los Angeles Conservancy’s Preservation Awards are selected by an independent jury of distinguished architects, preservation professionals, and business and community leaders. This year 22 applications were received and 8 were selected for awards.

Posted in Preservation Resource Center, Santa Monica Conservancy | Tagged |

Call for Docents

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“Oh! The places you’ll go!” exclaimed Dr. Seuss in his well-known children’s book…and the Conservancy wants to take you there, but we need more volunteers to lead the way.

Tour docents will guide visitors at two historic, award-winning venues in our city: the Annenberg Community Beach House and our Preservation Resource Center. Docents will be trained by knowledgeable historians and will be asked to commit to three-hour shifts twice per month.

Meet interesting locals and visitors, learn about Santa Monica’s history and architecture, and share your knowledge of the wonderful places that make our city unique.


Annenberg Community Beach House
415 Pacific Coast Hwy, Santa Monica

This iconic destination was originally the home of Marion Davies: actress, philanthropist, hostess, and companion of media tycoon William Randolph Hearst. Learn about the history, people and evolution of the Beach House. The Santa Monica Conservancy, in partnership with the City of Santa Monica, has offered docent tours at the Guest House since 2009. For more information about the Beach House, click here.

Docent orientation & schedule: Complete three Saturday training sessions on April 22, April 29 and May 6 from 3 – 5 pm at the Santa Monica Main Library. Prospective docents are encouraged to visit the Guest House and take a docent-led tour. Docents will be asked to work two shifts per month during operating hours, Friday through Monday, from 11 am – 2 pm, with expanded hours during the summer.



Preservation Resource Center at the Shotgun House
2520 2nd Street (near the Ocean Park branch library)

Our little Shotgun House, built circa 1899, was saved from demolition in 2002 and endured a long journey before eventually being relocated to this permanent site. The Conservancy rehabilitated and transformed it into the Preservation Resource Center, where visitors can see how early Santa Monicans lived while accessing practical, user-friendly information about historic resources in Santa Monica as well as learning about the methods and benefits of preservation. For more information about the Preservation Resource Center, click here.

Docent orientation & schedule: Complete two Saturday training sessions on May 13 and 20 from 9 am – 12 pm at the Preservation Resource Center. Docents will be asked to work two shifts per month during operating hours, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday, from 11 am – 2 pm.


The application may also be downloaded and mailed to the Santa Monica Conservancy: 2520 2nd Street, Santa Monica, CA 90405  If you have any questions, please send an email to Thank you!


Posted in Volunteer | Tagged , , , |

March 2017 Newsletter Available

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The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition:

  • Upcoming Annual Meeting & Preservation Awards
  • Shotgun House Receives LA Conservancy Award
  • Celebrating California’s First Female Architect, Julia Morgan
  • Buildings at Risk
  • One-Year Anniversary of the Preservation Resource Center
  • New Online Preservation Resource Directory
  • Two New Landmark Commissioners
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

Download the March 2017 Newsletter or view past issues here.

Our newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members receive a copy of each new issue in the mail. If you’d like to become a member, please join today!

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy Newsletter |

Santa Monica Conservancy Achieves LEED™ Gold

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The Santa Monica Conservancy has earned LEED™ Gold certification, demonstrating that even a small, 100-year-old shotgun house can be rehabilitated and adapted for sustainable, contemporary use.

“We are extremely pleased with the LEED™ Gold certification,” said Conservancy president Carol Lemlein. “We made sure that the rehabilitation was done not only in a historically sensitive way but also sustainably under the leadership of Conservancy board vice president John Zinner, principal of Zinner Consultants, and his partner Glen Boldt.”

LEED™ has both prerequisites and credits, which earn points in categories such as water and energy efficiency, resources and materials, and indoor environmental quality. Most notably, the Shotgun House earned points for its reuse of 95% of the original building as well as recycling 95% of its construction waste. Additionally, the Shotgun house features a drought-resistant, water-efficient garden.

As a leader in sustainability, Santa Monica has over 50 LEED certified structures. “We are delighted the Santa Monica Conservancy has added yet another to our growing list and applaud its accomplishment in meeting the challenge of achieving the Gold standard for an historic property,” noted Mayor Ted Winterer.

A display describing the LEED™ rating is now part of the educational program at the Preservation Resource Center. The Conservancy thanks Engineering Economics, Inc (EEI), Brummitt Energy Associates, Carbon Solutions Group, Recology and the team at Zinner Consultants.

Posted in Preservation Resource Center, Santa Monica Conservancy, Shotgun House | Tagged , |

Call for Nominations: 2017 Preservation Awards

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Do you know a project, person, structure or group you would recommend for a 2017 Award? Every year the Conservancy celebrates the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage by honoring exemplary projects and contributions with Preservation Awards.

Since 2004, award-winning projects have included residences, commercial and institutional buildings, from small to large, ranging from restoration, renovation, rehabilitation, and adaptive reuse to contemporary additions to historic buildings and homes. Awards are also presented to individuals for their stewardship of historic properties as well as for community service contributions as volunteers and advocates of preservation.

The awards presentation will be held at the Conservancy’s 2017 Annual Meeting. Don’t miss this spectacular event as we celebrate, recognize, and are inspired by the people and the projects that bring preservation to life in Santa Monica. A complete history of the Preservation Awards can be found here.


2424 Fourth Street, Brecht House, Horation West Court. Photos courtesy of DUB Architect and Brian Thomas Jones.

Past winners: Horatio West Court, John and Anna George House, and Brecht House. Photos courtesy of DUB Studios and Brian Thomas Jones.


Nominate a person, structure or group for a 2017 Award! Send an email to by Friday, February 3 and include:

  1. A brief description of the individual, organization or project, and why you believe it warrants an award. A specific award category can be included in your proposal, but is not mandatory.
  2. Your contact information (name, address, phone number).
  3. A photo of the site if possible.


Preservation Awards Guidelines:

You don’t need to specify what category you think fits your nomination, but the definitions below may be helpful:

Restoration: work to bring a building back to its historically authentic condition.

Rehabilitation: a broad term meaning bringing a historic resource back into service.

Renovation: includes remodeling and renewing, and can include the addition of contemporary design elements to a historic structure.

Adaptive Reuse: the adaptation of a historic structure to a new use, ideally with minimal impact on the structure’s character-defining features.

Stewardship: long-term care and maintenance of a historic building or place.

Volunteer and Service: recognition for outstanding contributions by individuals and groups in preservation efforts with the Santa Monica Conservancy.

President’s Award:  recognition for an outstanding contribution by an individual or group that exemplifies excellence in commitment to preservation, stewardship, and/or promoting Santa Monica’s history.

David G. Cameron Preservation Award: an exceptional honor, named in memory of one of Santa Monica’s pre-eminent preservationists, presented only when the occasion merits – “to individuals or organizations in recognition of their outstanding accomplishments in preserving Santa Monica’s unique heritage, and for promoting the value of historic preservation in the City.”

Posted in Preservation Awards |

December 2016 Newsletter Now Available

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The latest Conservancy newsletter is now available online, as well as past editions. Our newsletter covers upcoming preservation events, preservation issues, features on the people and places of historic Santa Monica and much more.

In the current edition:

  • Upcoming Annual Holiday Party
  • Shotgun House Receives Governor’s Award
  • Shotgun House Welcomes 1,000th Visitor
  • The New California Incline
  • Fall Salon Afterglow
  • Call for 2017 Preservation Award Nominations
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

Download the December 2016 Newsletter or view past issues here.

Our newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members receive a copy of each new issue in the mail. If you’d like to become a member, please join today!

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy Newsletter |

Santa Monica Conservancy Receives Governor’s Preservation Award

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The Santa Monica Conservancy has received one of twelve prestigious Governor’s Historic Preservation Awards. On the heels of receiving a Preservation Design Award from the California Preservation Foundation (CPF), this makes two awards for the Preservation Resource Center at the Shotgun House. The Governor’s Award is presented annually to projects, individuals and the organizations whose contributions demonstrate exception achievements in historic preservation.

Left to right: Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Jenan Saunders, City of Santa Monica Director of Community & Cultural Services Karen Ginsberg, Mario Fonda-Bonardi, AIA, Santa Monica Conservancy President Carol Lemlein, Director of California State Parks Lisa Mangat.

Left to right: Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Jenan Saunders, City of Santa Monica Director of Community & Cultural Services Karen Ginsberg, Mario Fonda-Bonardi, AIA, Santa Monica Conservancy President Carol Lemlein, Director of California State Parks Lisa Mangat.

The Governor’s Office presented the award to Conservancy President Carol Lemlein in appreciation of the rehabilitation of the Shotgun House, deemed “an outstanding example of community participation in the preservation of a treasured California resource . . . Unlike other preservation awards, this one emphasizes involvement by community groups; and it recognizes a broad array of preservation activities, from building rehabilitation to archaeology, education, and preservation planning.”

Preservation Resource Center. Photo credit Stephen Schafer.

Established in 1986, these awards are presented under the sponsorship of the California Office of Historic Preservation (OHP) and California State Parks, in the belief that the history of California is embodied in its buildings, structures, sites, and objects that provide tangible links to the people and events that shaped the state’s growth and development. Since its inception, more than 200 projects have been awarded.

Posted in Preservation Resource Center, Santa Monica Conservancy |

New Mills Act Contracts Approved 

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At the October 25th City Council meeting, Santa Monica’s most important preservation incentive was granted to the owners of two designated city landmarks, 504 Pier Avenue and 305 Alta Avenue, and six contributing structures within the San Vicente Boulevard Courtyard Apartments Historic District.  A Mills Act contract enables a property tax reduction for owners who commit to an approved plan of restoration and maintenance.

EJ Vawter House, Mills Act Contract, 504 Pier

The properties represent a diverse selection of Santa Monica’s recently designated structures. The two-story E.J. Vawter house at 504 Pier is a rare hybrid example of Queen Anne and American Foursquare styles. It was designated a City Landmark in September 2014 based on its unique architecture, association with the locally prominent Vawter family, and exemplary representation of the shift from rural to urban culture in Ocean Park during the early 20th century.

The two-story Mel Uhl house at 305 Alta is a Mediterranean/Classical Revival-styled single-family residence. It was designated in August 2015 as an embodiment of the early development of the Palisades Tract and as an excellent example of its architectural style.

The San Vicente Historic District was designated in December 2015 as Santa Monica’s most significant and cohesive concentration of architecturally noteworthy courtyard buildings constructed between 1930 and 1953 featuring abundant open green space and harmonious scale.  The contributing buildings represent a variety of architectural styles on San Vicente Blvd.:

  • 150-156, Overcliff Manor, a Mid-Century Modern apartment complex
  • 212, the only Streamline Moderne-styled apartment complex in the district
  • 234, Villa Vicente, a Mid-Century Modern apartment complex
  • 302-312, The Nida Apartments, one of the few American Colonial Revival-styled complexes in the district
  • 437-441, a Minimal Traditional apartment complex
  • 614-618, an apartment complex combining American Colonial Revival style with Hollywood Regency elements in a stylistic courtyard setting

These properties bring the City’s total number of Mills Act contracts to 71, with the reduction in the City’s property tax receipts for these six properties estimated at $34,745 beginning in FY 2017-2018.  The actual amount of the property tax reduction will be set by the County Tax Assessor’s office, which must determine the value of the historic property based upon its current net operating income, rather than upon the traditional assessed valuation method, resulting, in most cases, in a property tax reduction.

Posted in Mills Act |

Conservancy Celebrates Milestones: 1000th Visitor & Preservation Design Award

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Last week the Santa Monica Conservancy welcomed its 1000th and 1001st visitors, Mike and Megan Lampkin of Santa Monica, to its Preservation Resource Center in Ocean Park. The Lampkins are originally from the Bay area, and although they are neighbors and have walked the neighborhood many times, this was their first visit to the Shotgun House. The couple was presented with a book about shotgun houses.


Mike and Megan Lampkin. Photo by docent Shannon Ryan.

Since opening in January, the Preservation Resource Center has been visited by local residents as well as guests from other states and countries (Australia, Germany and Colombia to name a few). One visitor, former resident Karen Noonan, shared her experiences of actually living in this Shotgun House in the 1960s, nearly 60 years before it was rehabilitated and re-purposed by the Conservancy.

A primary goal of the Center is to assist property owners and the community with information about the methods and benefits of preservation. This year at least five homeowners were assisted in understanding the requirements for formal designation of their historic properties and two are now preparing applications. “Providing such assistance demonstrates the value of our Center as a readily accessible resource for preservation help,” notes Conservancy president Carol Lemlein.

Adding to its recent milestone, the Conservancy will receive a Preservation Design Award from the California Preservation Foundation (CPF) at its gala on September 29th. The award is for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the 1890s Shotgun House as a Preservation Resource Center. The 25 winning projects are recognized for their exemplary work in historic preservation, restoration, rehabilitation, sustainability, studies, reports and other significant categories in the preservation field and showcase preservation design excellence.

The Preservation Resource Center is open to the public from 11 am to 2 pm every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday as well as by appointment.

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy |

Help Santa Monica’s Historic Resource Inventory

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The City of Santa Monica is currently updating its Historic Resources Inventory (HRI), a database which lists existing and potential historic resources throughout the City and provides an important foundation for the implementation of the Historic Preservation Program. Two professional consulting firms, Architectural Resources Group and Historic Resources Group, will survey structures built through 1977 and develop historical context statements describing neighborhood, architectural, cultural, and social history. The new survey is expected to be released in spring 2017.

Your participation helps ensure that the HRI takes the broadest possible look at our built environment and the places that illustrate important aspects of Santa Monica’s history! Learn more at Click here to contribute what you know about the architectural, cultural and/or social history of your own neighborhood and other parts of the City. You can also download a mailable form.


Photo credit Marcello Vavala.

Photo credit Marcello Vavala.


For example, this building on 20th Street in the Pico Neighborhood was designed in 1937 by esteemed architect Paul Williams for the first African-American physician to live and work in Santa Monica. It has not yet appeared on the Historic Resources Inventory. If designated as a landmark, it would be protected from inappropriate alterations and become eligible for benefits and incentives such as:

  • Potential property tax savings through a Mills Act Contract
  • Waiver of Building Plan check and permit fees
  • Priority plan check processing
  • Application of California State Historical Building Code to alterations, which can often avoid unnecessary additional construction costs to bring properties up to current codes

Email to be added to the mailing list for the City’s outreach meetings and other updates. Follow the City’s progress via @historicsamo and #historicsamo on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. To view a list of FAQs, click here.

Posted in Preservation Alerts | Tagged |

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