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Join us for #GivingTuesday!

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GivingTuesday logo

#GivingTuesday is a growing global movement that aims to make charitable giving a holiday tradition.

You don’t have to contend with the crowds. You won’t have to scour the Internet for the best deal.

On this day dedicated to generosity, there are many ways you can support the Conservancy.

How will you spend #GivingTuesday?

Get Involved, website triptych, volunteers, docents, tour


  • Come to a Conservancy event – our Holiday Party on Sunday, December 7 is a great way to get to know us!
  • Volunteer – be a docent, join our program or fundraising committee, or tell us how you’d like to contribute to our work online or by sending email to
  • Share a story about a historic place in Santa Monica or a photo of yourself at your favorite historic place by sending email to us or by sharing it on our Facebook page.
  • Forward this to friends and family so that they can learn more about the Conservancy and sign up to receive the Conservancy newsletter.

Why is it important to make the Conservancy part of your Giving Tuesday?

Your generous contribution sustains our popular tours of the Annenberg Community Beach House and weekly historic downtown walking tours, as well our educational programs, events in historic homes and neighborhoods, and an annual lecture series – each of which brings residents and visitors in closer touch with Santa Monica’s historic places. Your support enables us to make historic preservation a key objective in City plans, which benefits homeowners who preserve historic structures and strengthens our advocacy and work to save threatened buildings.

Our City’s historic places help make Santa Monica a uniquely attractive beachside community, but we can’t take the survival of these special places for granted. Decisions are made every day that put them at risk.

Together, we’ll keep our historic places a vibrant part of the life of our city. Thank you so much for your support!

Posted in Santa Monica Conservancy | Tagged |

September 2014 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 of our newsletter you will find:

  • Fall Salon at the Bundy House
  • Mills Act Strengthened
  • Landmark Courtyard Apartments Threatened
  • Shotgun House in Miniature + Progress Report
  • More News, Reports, and Event Listings

The newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members get mailed a copy of each new issue. Not a member? Join today!

Click here to download the current issue.

Posted in Mills Act, Preservation Resource Center, Santa Monica Conservancy, Santa Monica Conservancy Newsletter, Santa Monica Preservation Report Card, Shotgun House |

Building a Neighborhood Curriculum Receives Grant

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“Building a Neighborhood” Curriculum receives 2nd grant from Edison International

The Conservancy was pleased to receive a $5000 grant supporting the development of our “Building a Neighborhood” Curriculum.  The curriculum, brainchild of Board Member and former Landmarks Commissioner Nina Fresco, uses the Third Street Historic District as a learning laboratory to teach youth how a community develops over time.  The program, which we hope to roll out to a small number of classrooms as early as 2015, is targeted to meet curriculum requirements for the third grade but is readily adaptable to youth of various ages.

SCE-NFresco andMOlsonNina Fresco reviews the teacher’s guide for Building a Neighborhood with Mark Olson, Regional Public Affairs Officer of Southern California Edison.

This is the second Edison International grant sponsored for the Conservancy by Mark Olson, Regional Public Affairs Officer of Southern California Edison.  In 2013 the Conservancy received $5000 — funding that was evenly divided between the rehabilitation of the Shotgun House and development of “Building a Neighborhood.”

SCE Grant CheckNina Fresco, Carol Lemlein, and Mark Olson display a ceremonial “check” recognizing the $5000 grant.


Posted in Building A Neighborhood, Preservation Resource Center, Santa Monica Conservancy |

Shotgun House Rehabilitation Progressing

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The Shotgun House restoration and rehabilitation is making progress.  The rear addition has been framed and enclosed and steel columns have been inserted to seismically reinforce the front façade. Electrical work is now in progress, finish carpentry is underway, and new windows – replicas of the one surviving window – are ready to be installed.


The north pop-out, which was thought to have held a closet or a Murphy bed, was examined for clues as to its original use.  Unfortunately, no convincing traces were detected that could shed light on its use 100 or more years ago.

Next steps – sheathing the roof in plywood in preparation for shingles and pouring the porch foundation.  After that, reconstructing the porch and tenting for termites.

All are welcome to come to the corner of 2nd Street and Norman Place to take a look. Completion of construction of the Conservancy’s new Preservation Resource Center is expected later this Fall.


Posted in Preservation Resource Center, Shotgun House |

The Shotgun House Returns Home to Ocean Park

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On Saturday, March 29 at approximately 8 am, Santa Monica’s 1890s shotgun house moved to its new permanent location on Second Street across from the Ocean Park Library, ending more than a decade in storage.  

Shotgun House on the move
Moving Day

The public is invited to witness the house as it is towed on a flatbed trailer from 16th and Colorado to its final destination at 2nd Street and Norman Place. Click the link Moving Flyer for a map of the route.

A Teaching Moment

The Conservancy has put together an activity guide for local schoolchildren that uses our “Moving Day” to help students think through the process of a house moving and changes in the local community.  The activity booklet was created to teach children about historic preservation and sustainability. The guide describes the importance of the Shotgun House, how it will be moved, and how to prolong a structure’s lifespan through reuse.  Click here to view the activity guide:  House on the Move Guide.

A House on the Move 

Fourteen years ago a largely unaltered 1890s shotgun house was nearly demolished and with it an important part of Santa Monica history. But due to the combined efforts of concerned residents, the former Ocean Park Community Organization (OPCO), the Church at Ocean Park, the Santa Monica Conservancy, and the City of Santa Monica, the house was saved and designated a landmark. Now, after more than a decade in storage, the house will move to its permanent site on Second Street across from the Ocean Park Library where it will soon become the Conservancy’s Preservation Resource Center. It will take its place among a cluster of other historic buildings, including the California Heritage Museum, Merle Norman Cosmetics office, the Carnegie branch library, and the Third Street Neighborhood Historic District.

The transformation of the Shotgun House into a Preservation Resource Center is supported by a $1.6 million fundraising campaign that includes hiring the Conservancy’s first executive director and expanding programming and community education. The Resource Center will be a clearinghouse for practical, user-friendly information about historic resources in Santa Monica and the methods and benefits of preserving older buildings while serving as a model for how older structures can serve contemporary needs.

Shotgun Houses on the Beach

About the Shotgun House

Click here to learn more about the history of the Shotgun House.

Those Who Have Helped Us Get This Far

Foundations + Grants

Ahmanson Foundation                                                     Mesa West Foundation
Dudley T. Dougherty Foundation                                  National Trust for Historic Preservation
Friends of Heritage Preservation                                  Ralph M. Parsons Foundation
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors,
3rd District

In-Kind Contributions

Brummitt Energy Associates, Inc.                               John Merchak Painting
The City of Santa Monica                                               Mary Effron Landscape Design
Cox Paint                                                                            Merrihew’s Sunset Gardens
Crown Disposal Co, Inc.                                                  Minardos Group
Engineering Economics, Inc.                                         Nels Stemm, Fairview Partners
Fonda-Bonardi and Hohman Architects                    Scott Christiansen + Associates
GBWORKS/Zinner Consultants                                    Smith Pipe Supply Inc.
Harding Larmore Kutcher and Kozal                          Snyder Diamond
Historic Resources Group                                              Spectra Company


Armbruster, Goldsmith + Delvac, LLP                       Levin + Associates
Charmont Partners LTD/The Sovereign                   Morley Builders
Restoration Partners                                                      Southern CA Edison
Harding Larmore Kutcher + Kozal, LLP

 Major Individual Funding Partners

Anonymous                                                                       Nina + Rob Fresco
AM Allen                                                                            Tom Fuller + William Kelly
Margaret + Danilo Bach                                                Ruthann + Bob Lehrer
Barry + Sharla Boehm                                                    Carol Lemlein + Eric Natwig
Joel Brand + Kristina Deutsch                                     Mary Marlow + Mark Kreher
Ken Breisch + Judy Keller                                             Steve + Christy McAvoy
Sara + Robert Cannon                                                    Susan + Kevin McCarthy
Tom Cleys                                                                          Carole + Sid Meltzner
Mike Deasy                                                                        George Minardos
Willam Delvac                                                                   Neary Family
Kaitlin Drisko + Bob Knight                                          Nancy O’Neill
Clare + Jim Ellinger                                                         Laurel Schmidt + Dunford King
Leah + Sam Fischer                                                        Barbara Whitney + Kate Whitney Schubb
David + Barbara Kaplan                                                Rolfe Wyer + Doris Sosin
Sherrill Kushner                                                              John Zinner

Additional support was contributed by many generous businesses and individuals who will be recognized at the grand opening of the Preservation Resource Center.


Have you made a donation?  Click here to make your contribution today! Your gift – of any amount – will help make the Preservation Resource Center a success, educating the community about the why, the how, and the benefits of historic preservation!




Posted in Preservation Alerts, Shotgun House, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , |

Santa Monica Conservancy Announces 2014 Preservation Awards

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The Santa Monica Conservancy recognized exemplary contributions to the preservation of Santa Monica’s architectural and cultural heritage by honoring individuals, building owners and architectural firms at its Annual Meeting on Sunday, February 9, 2-4 pm at the historic Hotel Casa Del Mar located at 1910 Ocean Way in Santa Monica.

“The Conservancy’s Annual Preservation Awards serve two purposes” said Carol Lemlein, President of the Board of the Conservancy.  “We are delighted to showcase the accomplishments of those who have made significant investments in the revitalization of our historic resources, and by telling their stories, we hope to inspire others to do the same.”

Brecht House

BrechtPhoto courtesy of DUB Architects

The landmark Brecht House on 26th Street provides an outstanding example of the rehabilitation of a landmark combined with compatible new construction meeting the needs of a 21st century family. This distinct American Foursquare style home, built in 1921, has unique cultural significance as the home of exiled German playwright Bertolt Brecht from 1942-1947. Owner David Golubchik, working with dub Studio, restored the exterior of the landmark and expanded the living space with a contemporary addition linked to the landmark with a second-story bridge.

Brecht House 2Photo courtesy of DUB Architect

W.P. Herbert House

San LorenzoPhoto courtesy of India Bushnell

Owners Kendra Sosothikul and Jonathan Ang received an award for their comprehensive restoration of 620 San Lorenzo Street, designed and built by noted Santa Monica architect John Byers in 1926. The home, also known as the W.P. Herbert House, was the first home completed in the Santa Monica Land and Water Company’s Santa Monica Canyon Mesa.


Camera Obscura

camera obscura Photo courtesy of India Bushnell

The City of Santa Monica’s Community and Cultural Services Department received an award for the restoration of the distinctive signage of the historic Camera Obscura in Palisades Park. Santa Monica’s Camera Obscura dates back to 1889 and was originally installed on the beach, where it was a popular tourist attraction. It was moved to Palisades Park in the early 1900s and was incorporated into a new public recreation building in Palisades Park in 1955.

Two projects which took place before the founding of the Conservancy in 2002 will receive awards for adaptive reuse with strong elements of restoration as well as several decades of stewardship.

Berlant Home and Studio

Berlant 1 Photo courtesy of Tony Berlant

The Berlant home and studio, a modest two-story, vernacular commercial building built in 1910, served as a neighborhood market for more than 60 years and was considered a tear-down when purchased by artist Tony Berlant in 1976.

Berlant 2Photo courtesy of India Bushnell

Working with the architectural firm of Appleton/Phelps, the interior was reconfigured as a studio and residence, an addition was constructed to the south, and the authentic features of the exterior – the large store-front windows, signage, siding materials and trim details – were preserved. “From the time of his move-in to the present day, Berlant and his wife Helen Mendez Berlant have been exemplary stewards of this wonderful little building, which lends character, texture and presence to its Santa Monica neighborhood,” noted Awards Committee member Margaret Bach.


Hotel Casa Del Mar

Casa del Mar 2Photo courtesy of Hotel Casa Del Mar

The Club Casa Del Mar building was designed by Los Angeles-based architect Charles F. Plummer and completed in 1926 as one of the City’s grandest beach clubs.  After the Club’s closing, the building was occupied by the Synanon Foundation and then by the Pritikin Longevity Center.  Edward Thomas Company acquired the property in 1996 and, after working with Historic Resources Group on an extensive renovation costing more than 50 million dollars, reopened it as Hotel Casa Del Mar in 1999.   The property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. As one of the only remaining examples of the 1920s beach clubs that once dominated Santa Monica’s coast, the Hotel Casa Del Mar represents an important link to the City’s past.

Volunteer Award

Volunteers Dwight Flowers and Ursula Kress received the 2014 Volunteer Service Awards.  Both Flowers and Kress have volunteered since the earliest days of the Conservancy. “They both are always ready to lend a helping hand on some of the less glamorous but necessary work for the Conservancy, from preparing for an event to helping with research for a tour,” says Ruthann Lehrer, Program Committee Chair.

Talk and Tour

The Conservancy’s Annual Meeting is free and open to the public.  In addition to the awards presentations, the program included an illustrated talk about the early history of the Santa Monica beachfront by historian Ernest Marquez, author of numerous books including Santa Monica Beach, a Collector’s Pictorial History, as well as the election of board members and a review of 2013.

For more information about the Conservancy visit

Posted in Preservation Awards |

Update: Conservancy Seeks Beach House Docents – March 29 Deadline

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Would you like to join the enthusiastic and dedicated group of volunteers who have been offering guided tours of the Annenberg Community Beach House since it opened in 2009?

For the first time in several years, the Santa Monica Conservancy is opening a new training class for volunteers interested in being a docent at the Annenberg Community Beach House.

Become a Beach House Docent and learn about the three major people connected to the site – William Randolph (WR) Hearst, Marion Davies, and architect Julia Morgan – as well as stories of Hollywood in Santa Monica and the history of the Gold Coast beach.

Marion DaviesPhoto courtesy of Brian Thomas Jones

Docents are expected to work two three-hour shifts per month, offering tours of the Marion Davies guest house and the site. Interested candidates are advised to visit the Beach House and take a tour if they have not already done so. Trainees will attend three lectures in April, followed by on-site training. Prior experience as a docent is not required; one only needs an interest in interacting with people.

Docent training lectures will include the following program:

  • April 5: Writer Cari Beachamp on WR Hearst; historian Marc Wanamaker on Hollywood in Santa Monica and the glory days of Hearst and Davies.
  • April 12: Consultant Christy McAvoy on the history of the ACBH site; architect John Berley of Fred Fisher and Partners Architects, on the transformation of the site.
  • April 19: Film historian Elaina Archer will present her documentary on Marion Davies; docent Kay Pattison will discuss Marion and her relationship with Hearst.

The lectures will be held at Ken Edwards Center, 1527 4th Street from 2 – 4 pm. Parking is available on site as well as at Santa Monica Place. While the lectures are free for docent trainees, the public may attend for a donation of $10 per lecture or $25 for the 3 lecture series.  Space is limited.

The deadline for applications is Saturday, March 29.

To apply, click Docent Application for a form.  Once completed, mail your application form to Santa Monica Conservancy, P.O. Box 653 Santa Monica, California 90406-0653.  For additional questions, please contact




Posted in Uncategorized |

Update: The Georgian’s 80th Anniversary Raises $7200 for the Conservancy

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The landmark Georgian Hotel commemorated its 80th anniversary with a gala Old Hollywood-themed event benefiting the Conservancy on Wednesday, October 16, 2013. During this celebration, the hotel launched a unique fundraiser encouraging hotel guests to contribute to the preservation of historic properties in Santa Monica and raised $7200.

Georgian Celebration
“We wanted to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of the Georgian Hotel with more than just a party and we felt that the important work being done by the Santa Monica Conservancy needed to be celebrated as well,” explains Juan Viramontes, general manager of the Georgian Hotel.

Georgian Guests

Guests were transported back in time with a nostalgic 1930s-style cocktail hour.  The party continued downstairs in the Georgian’s authentic prohibition-era speakeasy, where it is said that Bugsy Siegel, Al Capone, Clark Gable, Carol Lombard and “Fatty” Arbuckle once sought out exclusivity and seclusion.

Georgian Music

About the Georgian Hotel:  The Georgian’s story began as the coastal expansion of the late 1920s was reaching its peak.  Business woman Rosamond Borde hired architect Eugene Durfee to create a posh resort as an intimate hideaway catering to Los Angeles’ high society.  The Georgian, an art deco masterpiece completed in 1933, was one of the tallest and most prominent buildings in Santa Monica for decades. The oceanfront veranda provided a stage for martinis and jazz. The hotel was considered to be one of the most modern facilities of the time, featuring a beauty parlor, barber shop, playground and dining room.

The Georgian remained a favorite vacation residence after prohibition ended. Rose Kennedy spent several summers there in the 1960s entertaining Hollywood royalty, politicians and journalists. It continues to attract Hollywood celebrities such as Oliver Stone and Robert DeNiro.

The hotel was designated a City of Santa Monica landmark in 1995 and is featured on the Conservancy’s historic walking tour of Downtown Santa Monica.


Posted in Uncategorized |

March Newsletter Now Available Online

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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.

The newsletter is published four times per year. Conservancy members get mailed a copy of each new issue. Not a member? Join today!

Click here to download the current issue.

Posted in Uncategorized |

Santa Monica Conservancy Participates in Giving Tuesday

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The second-annual #Giving Tuesday – a national day of giving back during the shopping and the spending of the holiday season – may have passed, but it is not too late to participate in the spirit of giving during this holiday season.

#Giving Tuesday shows that the holidays can be about both giving and giving back.  It celebrates giving…about ways to give more, give smarter, and put personal philanthropy back into the giving season.

Together, we’ll work to keep our historic places a vibrant part of the life and attractiveness of our city.

There are many ways you can support the Santa Monica Conservancy’s work on Giving Tuesday!


  • Sign up to receive Conservancy news in email.
  • Come to a Conservancy event – our Holiday Party on December 7 is a great way to get to know us.
  • Offer your time as a Conservancy volunteer – be a docent, join our program or fundraising committee, or tell us how you’d like to contribute to our work.
  • Share a story about a historic place in Santa Monica: send email to us at  or share it on Facebook.  Share a photo of yourself at your favorite historic place.
  • Share this with your friends and family so that they can learn more about the Conservancy.

The Conservancy was founded to promote understanding and appreciation of the benefits of historic preservation by offering educational programs, assistance and advocacy. We are known for our popular and informative docent-led tours of the Annenberg Community Beach House and weekly historic downtown walking tours, as well as events in historic private homes and neighborhoods, and an annual lecture series – each of which brings residents and visitors in closer touch with Santa Monica’s historic places.  We also work to ensure that historic preservation is a key objective in City plans, that owners receive incentives to preserve their historic structures, and that threatened buildings are saved and adapted for modern needs.

Our City’s historic places make Santa Monica a uniquely attractive beachside community, but we can’t take the survival of these special places for granted.  Decisions are made every day that put them at risk.

Thank you so much for your support!

Posted in Uncategorized |

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