Historic Signs of Figueroa Street - 2012 Governor's Historic Preservation Awards

Uploaded by calshpo on 10.01.2013

The 2012 California Governor’s Historic Preservation Awards were presented on November
29th at Leland Stanford Mansion State Historic Park in Sacramento. There were a total of
11 projects or individuals that received awards. What follows is the presentation made at the
awards ceremony about one of the 2012 award winners. Relighting the Historic Signs of
Figueroa Street This award recognizes the North Figueroa Association, located in the
Highland Park-Garvanza Historic Preservation Overlay Zone of Los Angeles, which decided
to create a Historic Route 66 signage district by restoring and relighting two old rooftop
signs badly in need of repair. The project was the perfect way to reintroduce Route 66
to the City of Los Angeles, as Figueroa Street, Highland Park’s main street, served as US
Route 66 from 1931 to 1934 and as Route 66A from 1936 to 1960. Highland Park is a thriving
urban multicultural community, and the North Figueroa Association, the local business improvement
district, looks for ways to bolster the economic vibrancy of this community by its work in
this concentrated 10 block area. Both signs underwent local review by the City of Los
Angeles through the Office of Historic Resources and the Association board after a Section
106 review required by funding from the National Park Service. The project brought together
many seemingly disparate elements: a community passionate about place; a business district’s
desire to create a distinctive destination to generate retail interest; and advocates
for Route 66, neon, old signs and vernacular roadside architecture. Built in 1936, the
Manning’s Coffee Store sign was moved to Highland Park from Hollywood that same year
and is today the sole surviving Manning’s sign left in the City of Los Angeles. The
sign uses a rare combination of neon and opal glass letters, which had been stolen but were
recovered through the historic sign aficionado network via the Los Angeles Museum of Neon
Art. Highland Theatre, a Moorish-style building designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural
Monument, was designed in 1924 by noted architect Lewis A. Smith. The rooftop is perhaps Highland
Park’s most visible and beloved symbol due to its size (over 25 feet) and commanding
presence atop the tallest building on the street. This award recognizes this bright
idea of the North Figueroa Association, which exemplifies a new and innovative way that
historic preservation, be it on a large or small scale, can prove to be a vital strategy
for community revitalization. Congratulations to all the winners of the 2012 California
Governor’s Historic Preservation Awards. Please view the additional videos available
on this site for information about the other 2012 awards. For more information about this
awards program, visit www.ohp.parks.ca.gov/governorsawards.