ABOVE PHOTOS (FROM LEFT) Hollywood Heritage founders Marian Gibbons, Frances Offenhauser, Susan Peterson St. Francis, Mildred Heredeen, Christy Johnson McAvoy. CENTER Hollywood Blvd., c. 1930 RIGHT Opening of Hollywood Heritage Museum (FROM LEFT) Richard Adkins (HH President in 1985) Marian Gibbons, Supervisor Edmund Edelman, actor Charlton Heston, December 13, 1985.
Hollywood Heritage was founded in 1980 by Frances Offenhauser, Christy McAvoy, and Susan Peterson St. Francis with assistance from former Los Angeles County Supervisor John Anson Ford and Mildred Heredeen, former dean at the Art Center College of Design. Fran, Christy and Susan were involved in identifying historic structures in Hollywood for a survey for the Hollywood Economic Revitalization Effort organization and Marian was a freelance publicist who noticed the Lasky-DeMille barn as it sat on blocks in a parking lot on Vine Street. Marian had been involved in historic preservation in the midwest and wanted to join the Hollywood Historic Society - but there was none. Sharing a common concern, the four women decided they would start a Hollywood historic society, and thusly Hollywood Heritage was born as a California State 501 (c) (3) membership non-profit.
The organization's initial effort was to save the 1905 Janes House on Hollywood Boulevard, but their attention was soon drawn to the Lasky-DeMille barn. The building had been donated to the Hollywood Historic Trust arm of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, but an agreement was made by the chamber and Paramount Pictures Inc., to redonate it to Hollywood Heritage. In trying to find land to place the building on, Hollywood Heritage learned of an unsuccessful plan to locate a film museum opposite the Hollywood Bowl. With the assistance of former Supervisor Ford and then current Supervisor Edmund Edelman, Hollywood Heritage was able to negotiate a lease with the County of Los Angeles and have the barn placed on the former museum property. Following two years of restoration completed with volunteer labor and donated funds, the barn opened as a film museum in 1985.
At the same time, Hollywood Heritage was part of a group trying to save the Garden Court Apartments, a 1913 Frank Meline building on Hollywood Boulevard. That effort was unsuccessful but led to the plan to submit as much of Hollywood Boulevard as possible as a National Register District, which was successful and was added to the National Register in 1985.
With the sentiment of the community being not just education, but actual management of historic resources, Hollywood Heritage, also became steward of the Wattles Mansion, a 1906 Myron Hunt and Elmer Grey mansion. Hollywood Heritage, with the cooperation of many organizations, restored the mansion, which was returned to the city following the restoration.
Other successful Hollywood Heritage projects have included the relocation and preservation of the Janes House, the hat-shaped Brown Derby restaurant on Wilshire and Alexandria and the Christine Wetherill Stevenson monument above the John Anson Ford Theatre off of Cahuenga Blvd.
Almost 35 years later, Hollywood Heritage continues to preserve and protect the historic built environment of Hollywood by actively interacting with city, state and federal agencies and by educating the public through the continued operation of the Hollywood Heritage Museum (the Lasky DeMille Barn) and by sponsoring and presenting programs at the museum on historical topics regarding preservation and film history.
Hollywood Heritage remains an all-volunteer membership organization and we encourage interested parties to visit the museum, attend our programs and become an active member of Hollywood Heritage.
Board of Directors
BRIAN CURRAN MCLELLAN
OSCAR and NYLA ARSLANIAN,
Publishers and Editors of Discover Hollywood Magazine.
JUDY BALABAN, Author
CARI BEAUCHAMP, Author & Historian
CECILIA DE MILLE PRESLEY, Author,
Historic Properties Realtor
JOHN AND DEBORAH LANDIS
Director; Costume Designer; Author
SHAUL KUBA, Principal CIM Group
LEONARD AND ALICE MALTIN
Author, Film Critic
BETH MARLIS, Vice President,
LAWRENCE A. MIRISCH, Talent Agent
DAVID SONNE, Trustee.
The Jack Oakie and Victoria Horne
Oakie Charitable Foundation
DARNELL TYLER, Director,
West Coast Real Estate,
PAT AND MICHAEL YORK
Actor; Photographer, Author