A Brief Summary of Southwest Museum/Autry National Center Issues

**Some readers of this blog live outside the Los Angeles city limits, and are probably not familiar with the issues surrounding the merger of the Southwest Museum and the Autry National Center. This post is intended to serve only as a very brief summary. **

Ground was broken for the Southwest Museum on November 16, 1912. The museum was the dream of Charles Lummis.

“Lummis had constructed a home for himself in Arroyo Seco, which he named El Alisal. It became a personal museum where Lummis began to accumulate his own collection of artifacts and research materials. When site selection [for the Southwest Museum] began in 1905, various locations were considered, some with great financial inducements, but Lummis was adamant that the only choice could be the hillside property visible from El Alisal, with a commanding view of Arroyo Seco and far beyond. The 38-acre site was located on a transportation line between Pasadena and Los Angeles; accessible by the yellow car line and also by auto along Pasadena Avenue (later renamed Figueroa Street).” (Text from Autry’s Southwest Museum Rehabilitation Study)

However, as the 20th century drew to a close, the Southwest Museum, the oldest museum in Los Angeles, had fallen on hard times. Damage from the 1994 Northridge eathquake had not yet been repaired. Roof leaks needed attention.

In 2003, The Autry National Center merged with the Southwest Museum. The Autry’s stated intent was to preserve the Southwest Museum buildings, and protect the collection. (The Autry National Center was originally founded as The Musuem of the American West, by Gene Autry, a legendary recording and movie star.)

Both sides in the controversy agree that the Southwest Musuem buildings are in need of repair and renovation. Reports estimate the repair and renovation costs at $40 million.

Both sides in the controversy agree that the Southwestern American artifacts originally collected by Charles Lummis are unique and priceless, and must be preserved for future generations.

But here is where the trails diverge:

The Autry Center wants to erect a new musuem building in Griffith Park, and move the priceless collection there. Reports estimate the cost of the new building at $100 million.

Northeast Los Angeles locals want the collection to remain in its original home, atop Mount Washington, and visible from the grounds of El Alisal, as Lummis envisioned it.

Further questions arose when it became evident that Autry’s funding for the Southwest Museum was coming, not from liquid assets, but from an inheritance pledge.

And then, this week, the Los Angeles Community College District quietly agreed to use money from its $3.5 billion bond issue on the Nov. 4 ballot to renovate the Southwest Museum and use it as a satellite campus. Note a “campus“. Not a “museum“.

More reading:

Los Angeles Times from 2006: http://articles.latimes.com/2006/jun/26/entertainment/et-southwesta26

Los Angeles Times from 2001: http://articles.latimes.com/2001/jun/02/entertainment/ca-5351

The Autry’s side: http://www.swmfuture.org/

From Ron Kaye, L.A., journalist and activist: http://ronkayela.com/2008/08/la-story-part-one-the-stench-o.html

From Mark Kenyon, community activist: http://blackhatblog.wordpress.com/

Arroyo Seco Journal breaks story on Community College funding: http://www.asjournal.net/localnews.html

Reminder: Peace in the Northeast March Aug 16


<br />

The Churches of NorthEast LA present:

PEACE in the NorthEast Community March and Resource Fair

Saturday, August 16 10a-5p

Gather: 10:00am Highland Park Senior Center,

6152 N Figueroa St

March: 11:00am

York Blvd

just below

Figueroa St

Resource Fair: 12:00noon – 5:00pm Victory Outreach

4160 Eagle Rock Blvd


Lead by the Churches of NorthEast LA the community will meet to march against violence in the streets. The march is down

York Blvd to

Eagle Rock Blvd

and then down

Eagle Rock Blvd

to the Resource Fair. Snacks and bottled water will be served at the staging area. Bottled water will be available along the march route. Along with the Resource Fair there will be free food and Jarritos, live and DJ music and a Mini Car Show.

Continue reading “Reminder: PEACE in the NorthEast Community March and Resource Fair” »

395 East Columbia Avenue, Pomona

<br />

A rare heirloom treasure. This Classic Craftsman home is located in the historic Lincoln Park District of Pomona, built in 1908, with over 3,000 square feet. It features hardwood floors, high-ceilings, a large fireplace, period light fixtures, and all original woodwork. There are 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, plus sunroom, enclosed sleeping porch, sewing room, a wrap-around river rock front porch, plus workshop and basement.

1027 San Pascual Avenue, San Pascual Valley

<br />

This handsome traditional home is located in the San Pascual Valley, adjacent to South Pasadena. Close to parks, golf course, and the beautiful riding/hiking trails of the Arroyo Seco. 2 bedrooms, plus sunroom. Central heat and air. Hardwood floors throughout. 2 car attached garage, plus plenty of additional driveway parking. Easy care garden lush with fruit trees and roses borders a private patio. NOTE: Subject to short sale approval of first & second mortgage lenders.

The $100 Dollar Sale at Avenue 50 Studio


The 100 Dollar Sale

– A fundraiser for Avenue 50 Studio –

Frank Romero, 2008 silkscreen

One-of-a-kind small works by established and up-coming artists:

Abel Alejandre, Linda Arreola, Chaz Bojorquez, Kay Brown, Irene Carranza, Peter Carrillo, Mita Cuaron, Raoul De La Sota, Judith Duran, Margaret Garcia, Pat Gomez, CiCi Segura Gonzalez, Daniel Gonzalez,Yolanda Gonzalez, Emelda Gutierrez, Roberto Gutierrez, Cidne Hart, Kevin Hass, Peter Hess, Leo Limon, Jose Lozano, Don Newton, Poli Marichal, Kathy Mas-Gallegos, Stephanie Mercado, Andres Montoya, Howard Swerdloff, Frank Romero, Sonia Romero, Victor Rosas, Herbert Siguenza, Hector Silva, Richard Valdes, Linda Vallejo, J. Michael Walker, Barry Wolfred & many others

Opening event:  Saturday, August 16, 2008 from 7-10 pm

*all proceeds will benefit the Avenue 50 Studio as it rebuilds its operations

Avenue 50 Studio, Inc.
a 501(c)(3) non-profit art gallery
131 North Avenue 50
Highland Park, CA  90042


Also posted at http://www.Localism.com

August Events at Avenue 50 Studio

Saturday, August 16, 2008 starting at 7:00 pm

— A fundraiser for the Avenue 50 Studio featuring one-of-a-kind small works by established and up-coming artists:

Abel Alejandre, Linda Arreola, Chaz Bojorquez, Karen Bonfigli, Kay Brown, Irene Carranza, Peter Carrillo, Mita Cuaron, Raoul De la Sota, Judith Duran, Kathy Mas-Gallegos, Margaret Garcia, Cidne Hart, Kevin Hass, Salomon Huerta, Pat Gomez, CiCi Segura Gonzalez, Yolanda Gonzalez, Emelda Gutierrez, Roberto Gutierrez, Peter Hess, Leo Limon, Jose Lozano, Don Newton, Poli Marichal, Stephanie Mercado, Andres Montoya, Jose Orozco, Howard Swerdloff, Frank Romero, sonia romero, Victor Rosas, Herbert Siguenza, Hector Silva, Richard Valdes, Linda Vallejo, J. Michael Walker, Barry Wolfred & many others………………..

August 16 through September 6, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008 starting at 7:00 pm

The Black/Brown Dialogues:  Inspiration House PoetryChoir  Curated by Peter J. Harris, artistic director, Inspiration House

Featuring Music by:  Maria Elena Gaitan, cello; Nailah, vocals; Curtis Robertson, Jr., guitar; & Spoken Word by:  Peter J. Harris; Amalia Ortiz; Bryan Sanders

Saturday, August 23, 2008 starting at 7:00 pm

This event is the third of four Inspiration House PoetryChoir events and is free to the public

The Black/Brown Dialogues are supported in part by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan Chase, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Southwest Airlines through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts.

Also posted at http://www.localism.com

6044 La Prada Street, Highland Park

<br />

Probate Sale – Independent Administrator. Lots of potential here! Situated on a wide, parklike street. This clean & practical starter home is set far back from the street on an extra large lot, zoned RD1.5-1 per the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety Parcel Report. The home has 2 bedrooms, 1 bath on the upper level. The bonus lower level is finished (without permit) into 3 rooms plus kitchenette and bath.

5860 Benner Street, #106, Arroyo Seco Village

<br />

Great 1st floor condo with view balcony in award winning Arroyo Seco Village. Sits on a 7+ acre hilltop community with gorgeous landscaping in a safe, gated community.  Updated kitchen and baths, lots of closets and storage, secure parking. Outside common area amenities include pool, spa, new BBQs in BBQ area, sauna, picnic areas, recreation room, extra on-site laundry room, koi pond, fountain, large grassy areas, trees, gated children’s play area, sport court, elevators, and visitor parking.

5034 Monte Vista Street, Highland Park

<br />

Historic Highland Park District: Spanish Colonial Revival exterior with Mission influenced interior. Pampered by one owner for over 50 years. Beautiful hardwood floors, original cherry oak wood crown molding and trim. Exquisite batchelder tile fireplace. 2 bedrooms plus cozy light filled study, formal dining room plus large separate breakfast room. Basement, covered patio, 2 car garage.

NELA People: Charles Fletcher Lummis

Lummis Journalist, poet, traveler, outdoorsman, newspaper and magazine editor, historian, archaeologist, folklorist, photographer, American Indian rights activist, librarian, preservationist, museum founder, and prodigious lover of dozens of women, Charles Fletcher Lummis is celebrated as one of Northeast L.A.’s most colorful founding fathers.

In 1884, at the age of 25, Charles Fletcher Lummis was working for a newspaper in Cincinnati when he was offered a job with the Los Angeles Times.

Lummis decided to make the 3,507 mile journey from Cincinnati to Los Angeles on foot. He set out from Cincinnati in September wearing knickerbockers and a duck coat. The journey took 143 days, and all the while Lummis sent weekly dispatches to The Los Angeles Times chronicling his trip. His writing gained a national following and in 1892, his chronicle of the journey was published as a book, A Tramp Across the Continent.

In 1897 Lummis began construction of his home, near the banks of the Arroyo Seco, in the Northeast L. A. community now referred to as Sycamore Grove. Lummis named the home “El Alisal ” (“Place of the Sycamore”). The house with built with his own hands, from stone and boulders he collected out of the Arroyo Seco, and was finally completed in 1910. Lummis stated his home was built to “last for a thousand years.”

Charles Lummis died in 1928. El Alisal was declared an Historical Monument and is now owned by the Department of Recreation and Parks of the City of Los Angeles. It is administered in partnership with the Historical Society of Southern California.





Here are links to a few well known Lummis works in Google Books:

Tramp Across the Continent

The Land of Poco Tiempo

The Land of Sunshine

Avenue 50 Studio: Black/Brown Dialogues

Saturday, August 9, 2008 from 7-10 pm

Universal Struggle” — Nathanial Bustion

Blackbrown_2 Continuing with our Black/Brown Dialogues: “Lives at the Intersection” art opening

Mely Barragan · Nathaniel Bustion · Pamela Davis · Jan Jackson · Jacobo Ramirez · Oscar Sanabria

Curated by Dr. Gerda Govine Ituarte, Ed.D.

Opening Night Reception: Saturday, August 9, 2008 from 7-10 pm

The Avenue 50 Studio is proud to present “Lives at the Intersection,” an exhibit featuring multi-media works of art by six Los Angeles artists. The works are as diverse as the artists. Many of us live at the intersection of bi-racial, bi-cultural, intra-cultural and immigrant realities. Black/Brown relationships are stretched across a racialized domestic and international landscape sprinkled with preconceived stereotypes. Our exhibit focuses on a “value added” (strength and benefit) perspective regarding the spaces created at that intersection. Each artist created a space for conscious dialogue exploring commonalities and possibilities. They capture moments shaped by their experiences and truth, and invite the audience to consider the multi-faceted opportunities.

Sponsored by: Myra Booker, Ph.D.; Sandy Bleifer, Artist; Lisa Boags, Documentary fillmaker (Tuskegee Airmen); Eleanor Brownn; Christina and James Cook, M.D.; Joann Edmond; Ruthie and Attorney Joe Hopkins (Publishers of the Pasadena San Gabriel Valley Journal); Lara Larramendi; Alex and Jaylene Moseley; Attorney Angela Oh; Rebecca S. Rojas, Ph.D.; Linda Rose, Ph.D. (Cerritos College); Shirley Spencer; Professor Jack Turman, Ph.D. (USC); Attorney Carolyn Williams; and COFAC.

The Black/Brown Dialogues: Lives at the Intersection is also supported in part by the Ford Foundation, JP Morgan, Chase, The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and Southwest Airlines through a grant from the NALAC Fund for the Arts.

A Very Brief History of Mount Washington

It is said that Mount Washington was named for Colonel Henry Washington, who came to Southern California in 1855 to survey the state’s base lines. He spent a great deal of time in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties, and is credited with surveying the Los Angeles River.

Originally a part of the huge, sprawling Rancho San Rafael, the area was only sparcely settled owing to its initial lack of accessability. Panoramic views were not a consideration in those days, and often only the bases of the hillsides were dotted with residences. A school was built, however, in 1906, near the top of the hill, to accommodate students from a wide area of hillside territory. When the school first opened for instruction, the first through eighth grades were taught in the building of Mission style architecture. There were two teachers.

The turning point for Mt. Washington came in 1908, long after the land boom of the 1880’s, with the construction of The Mt. Washington Inn. Built near the 1,000 foot summit of the hill to take advantage of the panoramic vista, it flourished during the early years, and catered to the more affluent members of society. One of the greatest tennis matches played at the time occurred on the 4th of July, 1910, on the cement courts of the hotel. May Sutton, former tennis champion of the United States and England, defeated, in a thrilling sea- saw battle, Hazel Hotchkiss, the current champion of the United States. More than 3,000 spectators filled the grandstands to over-flowing, and completely surrounded the playing field. (The Self Realization Fellowship purchased the Inn and grounds in 1925, for use as its international headquarters.)

The hotel was easily reached by a Incline Railway, franchised by the Los Angeles & Mt. Washington Railway Company, which operated two cars named Florence and Virginia.

Land developers hoped that people would ride the trolley from downtown and get off at Avenue 43 and Marmion Way, then ride the Los Angeles & Mt. Washington Incline Railway to the summit of Mount Washington, where they would experience the breathtaking view, resulting in the purchase of a lot.

The ploy worked; Mt. Washington became an exclusive and highly desirable hilltop residential site for those who wished to experience the abundant array of vegetation and wildlife and the unsurpassed view in all directions. From the summit one an see the ocean, Catalina Island, and the beauty of the San Gabriel Mountains.