For Immediate Release: 1/22/2020

California State Historical Resources Commission To Consider Eight Properties for Action

Contact: Jorge Moreno I Information Officer I (916) 653-1986

The California State Historical Resources Commission (Commission) will consider eight historic places for federal historic designation at its next commission meeting being held on Friday, January 31 in Sacramento. The Commission meeting will be held at 9 a.m. in the auditorium of the Natural Resources Building, located at 1416 Ninth Street, Sacramento (95814).

The National Register of Historic Places is part of a federal program that coordinates and supports public and private efforts to identify, evaluate and protect America’s historic and archaeological resources. Some of the nominations being considered at the Commission meeting include the Descanso Gardens and the Edmund Anderson House, both located in Los Angeles County. The Descanso Gardens is associated with Elias Manchester Boddy’s contributions to horticulture in southern California and with the Japanese American experience before and after World War II. The Edmund Anderson House is also being nominated for a historic designation. This is the home of Edmund Anderson, African American radio, film and television star best known for his long-standing role as “Rochester” on “The Jack Benny Show”. The home is directly associated with Anderson’s success in the entertainment industry, as the first African American with a regular role on a national radio program, and by 1940, the highest paid African American entertainer in the nation.

All properties being considered at the meeting include:

National Register of Historic Places Nominations

Descanso Gardens

La Canada Flintridge, Los Angeles County

Operated by the nonprofit Descanso Gardens Guild in a public-private partnership with Los Angeles County and originally the residence of botanical garden creator Elias Manchester Boddy, the gardens are associated with Boddy’s contributions to horticulture in Southern California and are home to one of North America’s largest camellia collections. The property is also associated with the Japanese American experience before and after World War II, in agriculture, architecture and landscape architecture. 

Grace Lewis Miller House

Palm Springs, Riverside County

Built in 1937 in the International Style, the house was integrated with a professional studio for teaching a specialized technique of physical exercise. One of architect Richard Neutra’s most celebrated and publicized projects, the house-studio in Palm Springs is unusual in its rich repertoire of many of Neutra’s signature strategies and exemplifies Neutra’s typical consuming approach to his clients––here, a design for a woman whose strong professional goals paralleled her architect’s.

Battery Osgood-Farley

San Pedro, Los Angeles County

The updated documentation amends this Los Angeles coastal naval battery and lookout station's original nomination of a single building, creating a historic district that includes the central batteries—Osgood and Farley—radio compass generator building, base end stations and naval detection defense stations. Originally listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974, the battery is significant for its association with the nation's military defense system. In addition to the expanded boundaries and contributors, the nomination revises the Period of Significance to 1916-1944, from original construction of the battery to the date of its decommissioning.

Point Fermin Light Station

San Pedro, Los Angeles County

This amendment to a 1972 nomination for only the lighthouse building constructed in 1873 expands the property as a district to include seven other contributing resources, including a coal house and privy, storehouse and cisterns. The property is significant for its architecture, its role in maritime transportation and its information potential.

Edmund Anderson House

(African Americans in Los Angeles Multiple Property Submission)

Los Angeles, Los Angeles County

The house was built in 1940 as the Los Angeles home of Edmund Anderson, radio, film and television star best known for his long-standing role as Rochester on “The Jack Benny Show.” The property is directly associated with Anderson’s success in the entertainment industry as the first African American with a regular role on a national radio program and by 1940, the highest-paid African American entertainer in the nation. The property's period of significance extends from 1940 until 1977, the year of Anderson's death.

Zschokke Cottages

Palo Alto, Santa Clara County

Intended as working-class residences in the otherwise upscale university town that emerged around Stanford University in the 1890s, both buildings with simplified Queen Anne features were constructed by Theodore Zsochokke, son of prominent pioneer Anna Zschokke, as speculative income properties. The cottages are simpler in style than many of the more elegant high-style Queen Anne homes, reflecting their role as homes for working people. They retain a high degree of historic integrity in all aspects and are significant as work of a master builder George W. Mosher, in addition to their role in the early settlement and growth of Palo Alto.

Pioneertown Mane Street Historic District

Pioneertown, San Bernardino County

The grouping of buildings, structures and objects with a late 19th-century Western vernacular theme, built principally between 1946 and 1966, was intended as a “movie ranch” for television and movie production. Unlike other movie ranches built solely as sets, Pioneertown's buildings also serve commercial uses when not in use as filmsets and provide goods and services to Pioneertown-based film productions. At its late 1940s’ through late 1950s’ peak, hundreds of films and television shows were shot at Pioneertown, including “The Cisco Kid,” “The Gene Autry Show and “The Annie Oakley Show.”

Burro Flats Cultural District

Restricted, Ventura County

The Traditional Cultural Property in the Santa Susana Mountain Range includes natural caves and rock-shelters scattered throughout the area. The property is significant for its archaeological sites and natural features described in stories important to the history of the local Native American community, for its remarkable examples of prehistoric Native American rock art that possess high artistic value and are important representatives of the aesthetic and possibly religious values of the Native American groups who created them, and for the district’s association with ceremonial solstice events.

All nominations and photos of properties under consideration are available online.

Notices and agendas for Commission meetings are available online 10 days before a meeting at www.ohp.parks.ca.gov. The public may present oral statements at the hearing at the appropriate time. Inquiries and written comments on the agenda may also be emailed to the Office of Historic Preservation at calshpo@ohp.parks.ca.gov or submitted via mail to Julianne Polanco, State Historic Preservation Officer at Office of Historic Preservation, P.O. Box 942896, Sacramento, CA 94296-0001.

General inquiries on the Commission are handled by Twila Willis-Hunter. She may be contacted via phone at (916) 445-7052 or at the same mailing address listed above.

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Office of Historic Preservation

Responsible for administering federally and state mandated historic preservation programs to further the identification, evaluation, registration and protection of California's irreplaceable archaeological and historical resources under the direction of the State Historic Preservation Officer, a gubernatorial appointee, and the State Historical Resources Commission. Learn more at ohp.parks.ca.gov.

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