North Long Beach has just moved closer to its first historic district.
City Council made the decision at its Tuesday March 5 meeting to assign the designation to 19 homes in the 6000 block of Walnut Avenue, between 60th and 61st Streets in the Grant neighborhood. Now the city attorney has to prepare this ordinance, which will come back to the city council for final approval.
“This is an important moment,” said Councilor Rex Richardson, who represents the 9th Borough of North Long Beach. “This is an opportunity for us to extend the geographic diversity of our emblematic neighborhoods around the city. “
Richardson noted that the 5th and 9th arrondissements were the only ones in the city that did not have a historic district.
“I hope this helps us recognize this whole area of the city – much of it, Districts 9, 8 and 5 – which were all built around the same time,” he said. “This is the first in a whole effort to begin to recognize these stories, which were largely made up, not of wealthy or richer neighborhoods, but of working-class communities.”
The designation will be made based on the period in Long Beach’s history that the houses represent. Many of these were built between 1928 and 1930, as the city’s population increased following the discovery of oil at Signal Hill in 1921.
The houses, which were built in the “traditional minimal” style, were the low-cost standard promoted by the Federal Housing Administration at the time because most workers could afford them. A notable feature of the houses, according to demand, is that they include garages, which is a testament to how new accessibility to cars at the time made the development of the area possible.
“We actually started this about three years ago,” said Jeff Rowe, president of the Grant Neighborhood Association. “We thought, ‘Well, we’ve got a lot of old houses in Grant. They’re all going to be 100 years old, so let’s do the whole Grant neighborhood. ‘”
Rowe said he and his neighbors did not know at the time how much work would be put into the project, so he was grateful for the support of city staff in turning the idea into reality, which included reducing the neighborhood to 19 last houses.
Richardson, for his part, praised the association’s efforts.
“I really applaud the work they’ve done to extend the city’s historic preservation program in a really fair way, to include a wider range of geography, demography and cultural history,” said Richardson. “I know these things usually come and go on our council’s agenda, but I kind of wanted to bring this up as the start of a new wave of a major sector of our city entering the recognition process. historic districts. “