Remembering Pat Adler, History Detective: she sleuthed the mean streets of 1960s Los Angeles, in search of likely landmarks and treasures soon to be demolished
Greetings from your friendly historic Los Angeles sightseeing tour company, now offering digital programming until we can again organize groups to gather and explore the city we love.
For our latest post that’s hidden from the rest of the internet, we’d like to share some rare images of early Los Angeles buildings that we discovered a few years back, while going through Pat Adler’s photographic files at the Huntington Library.
That’s Pat below, in a 1967 press photo, charging up the steps of the Pinney House on Carroll Avenue camera in hand to document the 1887 Eastlake Victorian landmark, four years before it was officially declared a cultural monument based on her report.
For six decades, as a writer, researcher and administrator, Pat tended the flame of Los Angeles architectural and cultural history with rigor, devotion and panache.
In the 1960s, she wrote a delightfully illustrated history of Venice for Calvin Hamilton’s preservation-centric Department of City Planning, and a chapbook on the then-endangered Bunker Hill neighborhood, and served as the Cultural Heritage Board’s in-house Historian-Researcher, advising on the designation of city landmarks.
Her USC doctoral thesis, Watts: From suburb to black ghetto (1976), which looks at how a racially mixed community of loose-knit subdivisisions was absorbed by the city of Los Angeles and became a slum, is online.
Not online are the photos and negatives she deposited at the Huntington Library. The material is known as the Pat Adler Photograph collection of the architecture of Southern California, 1965-1967, and as Huntington Readers, we have had the privilege to consult it.