Monday, January 16, 2006

Banning Homes

"Built to last 60 years without serious major repairs, LAHA low-rent homes for war workers are permanent structures." -- Los Angeles Times, October 1942

(Channel Heights, Richard Neutra, 1941-3, demolished)

Wilmington Hall, Rancho San Pedro, Banning Homes and Channel Heights housed 11,000 defense industry workers in the Harbor area. They were, as further described, "bombproof" and "will also stand up against the ravages of earthquakes, contractors say"...that may have been, but in January 1954 Mayor Paulson applied to the Public Housing Administration for Banning's demolition. (This was the time, after all, when subsidized housing had taken on the dreadful taint of epithet thrown at Frank Wilkinson when he worked on putting Neutra's plans for Chavez Ravine into action, and we all know how that turned out.) The Times changed its tune regarding warchitecture's permenance; regarding Banning Homes, they wrote: "The temporary dwelling structures were constructed in 1943 as shelters for war workers and provided 1597 apartment units..." Homes for seniors were considered, as was a school, so of course the property was rezoned industrial; returning a Federal property to the tax rolls was of primary importance to Vincent Thomas and his boys on the COC.

Spring, 1959:

Oh, and the Longs?

The Longs asked for $100,000. They were awarded $15,513. Standard Oil did their damndest to get out of even paying that.


Phillip said...

Rancho San Pedro is the only one of those housing projects I know the location of (because it's still there), but where were the other three?

Phillip said...
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Nathan said...

Hey Phillip -- Channel Heights used to be basically northwest of Peck Park; bounded by North Park Western Drive on the east, Western Avenue on the West, Caddington/Bloomwood to the North, and the park on the South. (City Housing Auth took it over in 1952, and they quickly let it fall into official neglect, and announced its closure in 1955, it was auctioned in 1956 but I'm not sure when it came down. I do know that the gated 56-home Bay Watch condo community was built on the site in 1982.)

Banning Homes was west of Gaffey, south of the Naval fuel depot, north of Gatun, and went about halfway to Western on the east.

Wilmington Hall was more dormitory-style -- 94 family dorms, converted to 300 after the war, one and two story residential with an auditorium, garage, etc., now the site of the Wilmington Rec Ctr (bordered by Bayview, C, Neptune and E), sold in 1948.

And we ain't even talking the prewar Carmelitos, Harbor Hills or Belvedere public housing projects...

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