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7 L.A. sites are added to National Register

Buildings deemed to be historically significant to the African American community were chosen after a yearlong study of 4,000 parcels. Three are designed by Paul R. Williams.

June 12, 2009|Bob Pool

Seven Los Angeles buildings that experts say have played significant roles in the lives of local African Americans have been placed on the National Register of Historic Places, authorities have announced.

The listing follows a yearlong study of some 4,000 parcels in South Los Angeles by consultants hired by the city's Community Redevelopment Agency. The survey is said to be the first "historical thematic study" ever undertaken in California of buildings that were integral to the African American community.

The newly designated landmarks include three buildings designed by Paul R. Williams, who in the 1920s is said to have been the only licensed black architect in the western U.S. The seven are:

* 28th Street YMCA, 1006 E. 28th St., designed by Williams and one of the few places where blacks could swim when it was built in 1926.

* Second Baptist Church, 1100 E. 24th St., also designed by Williams. It was considered the "most elaborate" Baptist church on the West Coast when it opened in 1926.

* The old Angelus Funeral Home at 1010 E. Jefferson Blvd., now empty, designed by Williams and built in 1934.

* Lincoln Theater, 2300 S. Central Ave., nicknamed the "West Coast Apollo" because of its shows from Harlem following its opening in 1926.

* Fire Station 14, 3401 S. Central Ave. It replaced an old city firehouse and was one of two all-black firehouses when it opened in 1949.

* Fire Station 30, 1401 S. Central Ave. Now home of the African American Firefighter Museum, it was built in 1913.

* Prince Hall Masonic Temple, 1050 50th St., used by African American club members; built in 1926.

Until now, the city's only sites with African American ties that have been listed on the National Register were the Ralph Bunche house, 1221 E. 40th Place; the Dunbar Hotel, 4225 S. Central Ave.; and the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance building, 4261 S. Central Ave.

"Ethnic minorities are vastly underrepresented in the National Register," said survey leader Teresa Grimes. She is a consultant with Christopher A. Joseph and Associates, which conducted the study under a $130,000 redevelopment agency contract.

Angelus Funeral Home, which moved from Jefferson Boulevard to Crenshaw Boulevard in the mid-1960s, occupies another Williams-designed building, company executive Keith Washington said.

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bob.pool@latimes.com

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