Tuesday, June 28, 2011


The Legacy: From Gary Graham to Shaka Sankofa.

The film is about 3 generations of an African American family trapped by poverty, despair and prison and their struggle to break the cycle. Director Micki Dickoff and Co-Producer Christie Webb have been involved with this particular family for many years. But The Legacy is a broader story about our collective responsibility to help make the future better for all the children and families who live in conditions like this, for their sake and for our society's greater good. What will it take to make a difference for Gary Graham's grandchildren, and other young people like them, as they move into adulthood?
Please take a look at the introductory 3 minute film clip on the Kickstarter page; there are also 8 minutes of raw clips where you will learn more about the story of the Graham/Hawkins children. There is also posted 1 1/2 minute and 5 minute updates, so click on the Update Tab on the Kickstarter page too.
Kickstarter.com is all about grassroots filmmaking, where many small contributions, even of only $10.00 can make the film possible. People can pledge any amount and will get incentives in return at each level of giving. If we don't raise our goal of $15,000 by July 8, then no one's credit card is charged, and we don't get any of the money pledged. If we meet our goal, all the money pledged will go to film production to enable us to make a trailer to use for applying for larger grants.
So, if you think the film is worthy, please contribute and send the below link and story along to your contacts and post the link where you can.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Well not quite...

However, several families will be gathering to hold a yard sale on July 2 from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM on 7th Avenue.
If you too, would like to clean out your garage and participate, contact Anne Tait via email and bring your goods to 7th Avenue. Any of our Avenues are welcome to participate.

And if you don't feel like selling your own items, come pick up a bargain or two from your neighbors.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WayBack Wednesday = Hattie McDaniel

A SPECIAL THANK YOU to fellow historian Ed Trosper who pointed out some errors in last Wednesday's WayBack on Haggarty and the Haggarty Castle. Keep those eyes sharp and we welcome any historical information you might have about your neighborhood.

Hattie McDaniel lived in West Adams, first at 2173 W. 31st Street in Jefferson Park. It was the purchase of her long-time home at 2203 S. Harvard Boulevard on which we focus.

McDaniel’s Harvard Boulevard home was a white two-story, seventeen-room house. The house included a large living room, dining room, drawing room, den, butler's pantry, kitchen, service porch, library, four bedrooms and a basement. McDaniel had a yearly Hollywood party. Everyone knew that the king of Hollywood, Clark Gable, would be faithfully present at all of McDaniel's Movieland parties. Today the location is used by a non-profit organization, Families for Families.

The photographs were obtained from the Los Angeles Public Library Digital Archive, USPS, and Wikipedia.


Hattie McDaniel was born (1895) in Wichita , Kansas to Henry and Susan McDaniel. Her father was a freed slave who have become a Baptist minister; her mother was a gospel singer. McDaniel's father organized her and her brothers and sisters into a singing troupe to earn money.

In 1931 McDaniel moved to Los Angeles , where her brother got her a part on a radio show called "The Optimistic Do-Nuts." She was soon the star. She started in films as an extra. When work was not available, she worked as a domestic, a cook, or a washerwoman. Hattie McDaniel got her first speaking part - as a maid - in 1932 in "The Golden West." From the first she was typecast as a black maid by the racist attitudes of Hollywood in that period. But she made the most of it. This path extends into the greatest role of her career, Mammy in 'Gone With The Wind' (1939) starring Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, for which she won the Oscar as Best Supporting Actress, the first African American to win an Academy Award. Hattie McDaniel was often quoted as saying she would rather play a maid than be one.

In February 1940 at the Academy Award ceremonies at the Ambassador Hotel's Coconut Grove the loudest ovation of the evening went to Hattie McDaniel as she won the Oscar.

Hattie McDaniel--while in West Adams--was a leader in organizing against racial segregation in her neighborhood.

From Time magazine, December 17, 1945:
     Spacious, well-kept West Adams Heights still had the complacent look of the days when most of Los Angeles' aristocracy lived there. In the Los Angeles courtroom of Superior Judge Thurmond Clarke last week some 250 of West Adams' residents stood at swords' points.

     Their story was as old as it was ugly. In 1938, Negroes, willing and able to pay $15,000 and up for Heights property, had begun moving into the old eclectic mansions. Many were movie folk—Actresses Louise Beavers, Hattie McDaniel, Ethel Waters, etc. They improved their holdings, kept their well-defined ways, quickly won more than tolerance from most of their white neighbors.

     But some whites, refusing to be comforted, had referred to the original racial restriction covenant that came with the development of West Adams Heights back in 1902 which restricted "Non-caucasians" from owning property. For seven years they had tried to enforce it, but failed. Then they went to court ...

     Superior Judge Thurmond Clarke decided to visit the disputed ground—popularly known as "Sugar Hill." ... Next morning, ... Judge Clarke threw the case out of court. His reason: "It is time that members of the Negro race are accorded, without reservations or evasions, the full rights guaranteed them under the 14th Amendment to the Federal Constitution. Judges have been avoiding the real issue too long." ---

It was McDaniel, the most famous of the black homeowners, who helped to organize the black West Adams residents that saved their homes. Loren Miller, a local attorney and owner/publisher of the California Eagle newspaper represented the minority homeowners in their restrictive covenant case. In 1944, he had won the case Fairchild v Rainers, a decision for a black Pasadena, California, family that had bought a non-restricted lot but was sued by white neighbors anyway.

McDaniel died at age 57 from breast cancer, in the hospital on the grounds of the Motion Picture House in Woodland Hills, on October 26, 1952. She was survived by her brother, Sam McDaniel, a film actor. Thousands of mourners turned out to remember her life and accomplishments.

McDaniel wrote: "I desire a white casket and a white shroud; white gardenias in my hair and in my hands, together with a white gardenia blanket and a pillow of red roses. I also wish to be buried in the Hollywood Cemetery". The Hollywood Cemetery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood was the resting place of movie stars such as Douglas Fairbanks, Rudolph Valentino, and others. The owner, Jules Roth, refused to allow her to be buried there, because they did not take black people. Her second choice was Rosedale Cemetery, where she lies today.

In 1999, Tyler Cassity, the new owner of the Hollywood Cemetery, who had renamed it Hollywood Forever Cemetery, wanted to right the wrong and have McDaniel interred in the cemetery. Her family did not want to disturb her remains after the passage of so much time, and declined the offer. Hollywood Forever Cemetery instead built a large cenotaph memorial on the lawn overlooking the lake in honor of McDaniel. It is one of the most popular sites for visitors.

The whereabouts for McDaniel’s Oscar are still a mystery. It was reported by the Washington Post that McDaniel's Oscar was donated to Howard University's Drama Department to be displayed for future generations of students; McDaniel had been honored by the students of Howard University with a luncheon after winning her Oscar. However, the statue may have disappeared during racial unrest on the Washington, D.C., campus in the late 1960s.

She was the first black Oscar winner honored with a stamp. The 39-cent stamp was released on January 29, 2006. This stamp features a 1941 photograph of McDaniel in the dress she wore when she accepted her Academy Award in 1940.

Sources: Leslie Evans for West Adams Heritage Association; Time magazine; Wikipedia

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Movies In The Park


Once again, Council Member Herb Wesson and your neighborhood council, United Neighborhoods Neighborhood Council are bringing you "Movies in the Park" for another year.

Spend the evening with your family under the stars in your neighborhood park while enjoying hot dogs, popcorn and prizes! All for free and all for all. Mark your calendars, bring out your blankets and trek to your local park to experience a new kind of "drive in."

JUNE 24, 2011
5401 Highlight Place

The supervillain Megamind finally conquers his nemesis, the hero Metro Man... but finds his life pointless without a hero to fight. 

JULY 1, 2011
2803 Reynier Avenue

Two young wolves at opposite ends of their pack's social order are thrown together into a foreign land and need each other to return home, but love complicates all.

JULY 8, 2011
1240 West Boulevard

When a criminal mastermind uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, he finds their love is profoundly changing him for the better.

JULY 30, 2011
2413 Second Avenue

A hapless young Viking who aspires to hunt dragons becomes the unlikely friend of a young dragon himself, and learns how to live and let live.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WayBack Wednesday

One of the many lost treasures of West Adams: Castle York, also known as the Haggarty Castle.  It was replete with oriental rugs, Tiffany windows, torchieres, urns, and its own resplendent pipe organ.

The castle was at 3330 W. Adams Blvd, and we include some historical references describing the owner, and the house itself.  It was at the foot of Fourth Avenue, where the Holman parking lot is now. It suffered a major fire in 1951. The main building was torn down in 1971, but the underground portion (garage and stables) was still there 25 years ago.

The photographs of the castle were obtained from the USC Digital Library, which is worth an online visit, as well as the online photo collection of the Los Angeles Public Library - another fabulous collection of historical photographs.

HAGGARTY, JOHN JOSEPH, Merchant, Los Angeles, California, was born in London, England, May 25, 1864.  He is the son of John Haggarty and Elizabeth Ann (Atkinson) Haggarty, and married Bertha M. Schnider at St. Paul, Minnesota, August 24, 1901.
Mr. Haggarty remained in his native England until he had passed his majority, receiving his education and business training there before he crossed the Atlantic to seek his fortune in the United States.  He attended the public schools of London, later attending a private boarding school situated in Richmond, Yorkshire.  This finished his actual schooling and at the age of nineteen he was well equipped for a business career.

He preferred to learn a special line, however, and so in 1883 apprenticed himself to William Bryer & Company, a large drygoods establishment in King William street, London.  He served there four years and in that time became exceptionally proficient in the business, which he had taken seriously from the start and which he had studied in its every detail.

Upon the completion of his apprentice term Mr. Haggarty sailed for America, arriving in 1887.  His first engagement in the New World was with Nugent Brothers, a large drygoods concern of St. Louis, Missouri.  He remained with the firm for about four years, principally as buyer in the garment department, in which he was a specialist.

Mr. Haggarty left the Nugent Brothers to accept a better position with Scruggs, Vandervourt & Barney, another large house, who appointed him assistant buyer for the firm.  He only held the position two years, however, for at the end of that period of time, or in 1893, he went to Duluth, Minnesota, as a buyer for the Silverstein & Bondy Company of that place.  He remained in Duluth for nine years, during which time he established himself firmly in the business life of the city.  In 1902 the promise of Southern California appealed to him, so he severed his connection with the Duluth house and located in Los Angeles.  He immediately became associated with Jacoby Brothers of that city, as buyer and manager of their garment department.

During his three years and a half connection with the Jacoby firm Mr. Haggarty built up a tremendous business in his particular line and, incidentally, saved enough money to go into business for himself on a small scale.  He began by securing a building on Broadway, in the center of the Los Angeles business district, and there laid the foundation for one of the most successful businesses in the commercial history of the city.  He called his store the New York Cloak and Suit House, an incorporated institution, in which he was President and chief stockholder.  The business was started on a comparatively small investment, but within a short time it had leaped to a leading position in the business life of the city and at the present time Mr. Haggarty estimates that the transactions of the house exceed a million dollars annually.

When his first venture had proved a success, due in large measure to his expert knowledge of the business, Mr. Haggarty determined to extend his activities and, accordingly, purchased a controlling interest in another large house known as the Paris Cloak and Suit House.  This company is on a par with his first establishment and also does a tremendous business.  Into it he brought, besides capital, the wide experience and natural business ability which had made him a success in life.  He is regarded today as one of the shrewdest business men in the Southwest and one of the most accomplished buyers in the foreign and domestic markets.
Mr. Haggarty devotes his personal attention to the management of his stores and notwithstanding the fact that he goes to the New York markets four times a year, makes an annual trip to the fashion centers of Europe.  This latter he considers absolutely necessary in order that he may keep in close touch with the famous designers and originators, especially those of Paris.  He has made his business a life study and is regarded in the United States and Europe as an authority.

In addition to his own affairs, Mr. Haggarty is a close student of world politics and of business conditions in general and an accurate reader of the effect of current events upon business.

He is of an optimistic temperament and a thorough believer in the prosperity of the country which he has adopted for his home.
Mr. Haggarty, in addition to being a successful merchant, is a man of artistic inclinations and has surrounded himself with the best of literature, paintings and music.  After settling permanently in Southern California he began to plan a magnificent home for himself.  This ideal home is in the fashionable West Adams section of Los Angeles.  He has christened the place Castle York, and it will long stand as one of the most magnificent private residences on the Pacific Slope.  The building is of Norman Gothic architecture, after the style of the Fourteenth century, and cost more than $100,000.  It is surrounded by spacious grounds, with sunken gardens and a conservatory of rare plants as two of its most beauteous exterior features.

The interior of the Castle is in keeping with the artistic feelings of the owner, arranged in excellent taste and with excellent regard for those refinements that are to be found in the home of gentlefolk.  In order to enjoy the classic music to which he is a devotee, Mr. Haggarty has caused to be built in the home a magnificent pipe organ, one of the most perfect instruments of its kind privately owned in the United States. Haggarty also built a house in Palos Verdes Estates in 1928. The mansion there was never occupied, as Mrs. Haggarty reportedly preferred to stay at the family estate on Adams. The Palos Verdes Estates house is now the Neighborhood Church (bought by them in 1950).
Mr. Haggarty was a member of the Gamut Club and Los Angeles Athletic Club, but was really not a clubman, his inclinations being towards domesticity. Haggarty died in 1935.

Transcribed 1-13-09 Marilyn R. Pankey. Source: Press Reference Library, Western Edition Notables of the West, Vol. I,  Page 177, International News Service, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta.  1913. © 2009 Marilyn R. Pankey. 
From this website: http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~npmelton/lahagg.htm

Thursday, June 9, 2011

As Seen On TV


HGTV's hit new renovation show "Professional Grade" is searching for savvy homeowners in the Historic Arlington, West Adams, Jefferson Park neighborhoods who think they can renovate a room cheaper and better than a contractor.

In the show, homeowners are challenged by our host Matt Blashaw (who is a contractor) for a chance to win BIG CASH! It's a throw down! 

The goal for homeowners is to source high–end materials on the cheap, take on the bulk of the labor themselves and manage their subcontractors to get the best quality work at below market prices.  When the renovation is done, their experts price out the job based on the quality.  If their estimate is higher than what the homeowners spent, the homeowners pocket the cash difference.  Their BIGGEST winner took home $40,000. This could be a great opportunity for someone who is gearing up to renovate a room in their home.  It's a win win for homeowners...a chance to be on TV and have your renovation paid for.

For an application candidates should email Generalcontractor@highnoontv.com.  Auditions are going on now.  If you have any question about show, contact Ronica Harris 303-872-8708.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Incredible Resources


Or bookmark them into your browser for easy and constant access:

Call 311.  You will need the address of the property, and a description of what the violation is.  Or go to this web address to report a single family residence:
or to this address to report a multi-unit building:

look up the address on the Property Activity Report: https://www.permitla.org/ipars/The_nonscript_index.cfm
This includes Mills Act info, as well as local, state and federal incentive programs:

Go to Department of City Planning website, click on "Meetings and Hearings" in the left column, click on West Adams Terrace, click on "Agendas".

call  311 or go to this web address:

NEUTER FERAL CATS FOR FREE: Call Fixnation; 818 524-2287.  They provide free cages, training, surgery, and shots.  Web address: http://fixnation.org 
Another resource for free neutering, free for the pets of low-income and seniors:

BUREAU OF STREET SERVICES:  Call 311, or (213) 996-2489, or fill out an online request form: http://bss.lacity.org/request.htm USE THIS FOR:  reporting potholes, tree trimming, alley cleaning, street sweeping, broken sidewalks, downed palmfronds etc.  Some patience required due to budget issues…

FREE BULKY ITEM PICKUP (call two working days ahead of normal trash pickup):
1-800-773-2489.  Couches, appliances, mattresses etc.  If pickup is Monday, call on previous Wednesday or Thursday.

RENTER? HOUSING CODE VIOLATIONS? Call 866-557-RENT to report, or file online at this web address: http://cris.lacity.org/cris/informationcenter/code/index.htm 

TELEPHONE NUMBER OF ACTUAL CITY OFFICIALS AND DEPARTMENTS: http://cityfone.lacity.org/department_drilldown.cfm?SECT=a

STREET LIGHTING REQUEST FORM: (this includes graffiti on street poles, and damaged and broken lights) http://bsl.lacity.org/serv_req.htm 

BROKEN TRASH CONTAINER: Order another one using this form:

ILLEGAL DUMPING AND REMOVAL: Want to report illegal dumping, or have dumped items picked up by the city?

Need a list of what you can recycle at the curb?




SOUTHWEST POLICE DEPARTMENT: Call 213-847-5800 or website


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Meeting Reminder for Wednesday


The last meeting of West Adams Avenues Association before breaking for the summer, is tomorrow, Wednesday, June 8 at 7PM. Be sure to show up for this meeting to hear year-end updates and provide your input for items to focus on for the remainder of 2011 and going into 2012. You’ll also hear about great family activities that will be happening in our community this summer.

And, to start things swinging for the summer…after the meeting we’ll be treated to a Hot Dog Bar and Ice Cream Treats. See you there and BRING A NEIGHBOR!

Wednesday June 8, 2011 7PM
West Adams Avenues Monthly Meeting
3425 West Adams (corner of 5th and Adams)