National Trust adds Ebell to list of places where women made history

| December 31, 2020 | 0 Comments

NOW: THE EBELL of Los Angeles makes women’s history.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment, which granted women the right to vote, the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Saving Places division announced in January 2020 a crowdsourcing campaign to find 1,000 places across America where women made history. The response to collecting these largely forgotten or undervalued stories has been so enthusiastic that they decided to keep going past the original goal. To date their website includes over 1,100 entries.

The Ebell of Los Angeles was named to that valuable roster in November 2020, having already been awarded a spot on the National Register of Historic Places in 1994. Under a photograph of the women’s club’s Wilshire Boulevard facade, the Trust’s Ebell description includes, “… founded in 1894 by a small group of women determined to advance women’s opportunities in education, civic improvement and ‘in every branch of culture.’”

THEN: THEATRICAL PERFORMANCE in the Ebell Lounge, 1930.

Ebell President Patty Lombard is proud that the club has earned a place in women’s history, stating, “We are simply thrilled to have the Ebell included on this important list and we will continue to make women’s history.”

Women’s accomplishments large and small are represented in this compilation of places and faces, as Dennee Frey, one of the drafters of the Ebell application, notes. “What’s wonderful about the [National Trust website] is it includes very established places and some very modest places and homes that celebrate a particular woman.”

Among the entries are the Rochester, New York home of suffragette Susan B. Anthony, along with information about the Anchorage, Alaska nurse and mountaineer Mary “Dolly” Lefever, who was the first woman to ascend the tallest peak on each continent. Also included are Virginia Glover Outley Ballou, a Black businesswoman responsible for creating a residential development in Albuquerque, New Mexico for Black servicemen who were prohibited from using their G.I. Bill loans to purchase homes anywhere else in the city. Another entry is the founding of the world’s first all-woman flyfisher club in Claryville, New York.

NOW: OPEN HOUSE gathering in the Ebell garden, 2019.

Locally, notable sites include artist and social justice advocate Sister Corita Kent’s Hollywood art studio, downtown’s Hotel Figueroa, established in 1926 as a safe haven for women traveling alone, and the West Adams home of Hattie McDaniel, the first African American woman to win an Academy Award.

Many places commemorated by the Trust are only photographs and memories; others have been repurposed or turned into museums. Some, such as the Ebell, still operate with their original intent. Being prominently included on the National Trust list could help increase visibility for much-needed fundraising to make certain the remainder of “herstory” doesn’t disappear.

Ebell director of development Lorraine Spector affirms, “I think it is great for our visibility and will help us get grants in the future.”

THEN: EBELL COMMITTEE MEMBERS in the garden circa 1929.

Grant writing is a recent endeavor for the Ebell, which only established a fundraising arm, the Friends 501(c)3, in 2019. In October, the Ebell received a $5,000 grant from the California Fund of the National Trust for Historic Preservation to partially cover a safety and accessibility study for the 94-year-old building and its recently replanted courtyard garden, adding to the $30,000 given for that purpose in 2019. Also this October, the Charles H. Stout Foundation awarded $4,500 to begin implementing safety enhancements in the garden.

Spotlighting women’s contributions to the American story helps reshape how history itself is defined. A quote from eminent historian and feminist Gerda Lerner on the National Trust website serves to summarize the project. “Everything that explains the world has in fact explained a world that does not exist, a world in which men are at the center of the human enterprise and women are at the margin ‘helping’ them. Such a world does not exist — never has.”

To read about these remarkable places and outstanding women, go to, then search “where women made history.”

Tags: , , , , ,

Category: Real Estate

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *