(To view or download the Guide, click on the guide picture here to link to the Guide. When the cover page appears, click on the title and you will be directed to our welcome letter, acknowledgements, and the table of contents. Each item in the table of contents contains a link to that particular section, which you can view or download.)
Over the next few years, historic preservation professionals will be conducting the historic resources survey in all communities of Los Angeles. When SurveyLA comes to your neighborhood, the professional survey teams will be identifying buildings, neighborhoods, and places of unique architectural, historic, and cultural significance.
Because SurveyLA's success depends significantly on the public's active participation, this "MyHistoricLA" guide is designed to give you the tools you need to become part of this exciting effort. The actual surveys will be conducted by historic preservation professionals, but SurveyLA recognizes that you know the historic resources of your neighborhood better than anyone. Only you may know the "hidden gem" just down the street or around the corner - an often-overlooked building or place that should become better known.
So, before we begin sending the survey teams out to a given neighborhood, we need you to tell us what may be significant in your area. This information will be available to the survey teams in their tablet computers when they conduct their field surveys.
The MyHistoricLA Guide is organized in three sections: "MyNeighborhood", "MyStory" and "MyPlace", each containing step-by-step instructions on how to organize community activities that will contribute directly to the survey.
In the "MyNeighborhood" section, the Guide contains detailed instructions on how your community can organize a "Neighborhood Walkabout" - a fun event that can gather and energize neighbors to help identify significant individual resources or potential historic districts in your area. Your community might also organize a "Community Photo Collection Day" to collect and scan old photos of extant historic resources, or neighborhood real estate advertisements that could help provide valuable information for the survey teams.
"MyStory" aims to capture the stories associated with places in your neighborhood, particularly seeking to capture the social, historic, and cultural significance that may not be immediately obvious to the survey professionals documenting the visible architectural history of your neighborhood. This activity involves one-on-one interviews with long-time residents who have important information to share.
"MyPlace" builds upon the information collected in "MyNeighborhood" and "MyStory" activities by seeking to collect more detailed information on specific buildings or neighborhoods. This involves property-specific or neighborhood-specific research, by collecting information from the LA Public Library, historical LA Times archives, Sanborn insurance maps, and city directories. The "MyHistoricLA" Guide provides a standardized format for community members to enter this information for the OHR, so that the information obtained can go directly into the SurveyLA database for use by the survey team.
We hope that the Guide will be a useful catalyst for broad-based community participation in SurveyLA, and that it also serves as a useful prototype for other cities that want to engage community members in large-scale historic resources surveys.