Celebrate women’s history at Ebell, Downtown Women’s Center

| February 28, 2019 | 0 Comments
THE EBELL is one of the oldest women’s clubs in the nation.

Tours of the historic Ebell Club, the Downtown Women’s Center and Hollywood Studio Club are among events this month in honor of Women’s History Month.

Los Angeles Conservancy tours of The Ebell have already sold out as the Chronicle went to press, but other events are still available, and one takes place at The Ebell, a venerable women’s institution that dates back to 1894:

“Citizen Jane: Battle for the City” will screen at the historic Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 4401 W. Eighth St., Sun., March 10 at 2 p.m., and there will be an accompanying panel discussion.

Panel moderator is Trudi Sandmeier, director of Graduate Programs in Heritage Conservation and an associate professor of Practice in Architecture at USC. 

Panelists include: Linda Dishman, president and CEO, Los Angeles Conservancy; Laura Dominguez, co-founder of Latinos in Heritage Conservation; Lisa Gimmy, ASLA, LEED AP, principal at Lisa Gimmy Landscape Architecture; Brenda A. Levin, FAIA, president and principal, Levin & Associates Architects; Karen Mack, founder and executive director, LA Commons; and Christy Johnson McAvoy, founding principal, Historic Resources Group, and columnist, Larchmont Chronicle.

The Ebell

The Ebell of Los Angeles is one of the oldest and largest women’s clubs in the nation. Its home since 1927 is the  Italian Renaissance-style complex on Wilshire and Lucerne boulevards by Sumner Hunt, with gardens designed by Florence Yoch.

The sold-out tour will tell the history of the site and visit the auditorium, library, art salon, solarium, dressing rooms, and gardens. The Ebell’s collection of fine furnishings and art and its costume collection, which features pieces from the mid-1800s, will be on view.

The March 10 “Citizen Jane” documentary was released in 2016 and tells of the showdown between activist and the founding mother of the fight against urban redevelopment, Jane Jacobs, and New York City’s “Master Builder” Robert Moses over Greenwich Village. It was a fight that ultimately influenced the nation.

The panel of preservation experts will discuss Jacobs’ legacy and the roles women play in protecting America’s historic neighborhoods.

Downtown Women’s Center

“By Women, For Women” takes you on a tour of two normally off-limit buildings, the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC) and the Hollywood Studio Club on Sat., March 23. Tours are every 30 minutes from 10 a.m. to noon.

The DWC was constructed as a shoe factory in 1927 by powerhouse contractor Florence Casler and today serves as housing for formerly homeless women.

The Gothic Revival-style building also houses a Day Center and the only women-specific health clinic on Skid Row.

A music lover, Casler learned plumbing at her husband’s business in Buffalo, NY. After her husband left to find his fortune in gold, she got a license and built a flourishing plumbing business before heading West.

In Los Angeles, the mother of two, and now a widow, became a developer — building 60 buildings, by her own count — and she formed a partnership with William Douglas Lee, known for his work on the El Royale Apartments and the 12-story Textile Center Building, now the Downtown Women’s Center.

In 1926, Julia Morgan — the first licensed female architect in California — designed the Hollywood Studio Club as a dormitory for women hoping to launch careers in the film industry. Marilyn Monroe and Donna Reed were among them.

Today, the Mediterranean-style building serves as a temporary shelter for homeless women. Morgan also designed Hearst Castle, 

The Hollywood Studio Club was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1979 ad remains the property of the YWCA Greater Los Angeles.

Google to the Spruce Goose

The Conservancy’s annual fundraiser benefit is set for Sat., May 4 at the new home of Google at the former Spruce Goose hanger in Playa Vista. Prices start at $350.

For tickets and more information visit laconservancy.org

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Category: Entertainment

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