from original brochure, 1951
Lincoln Place Apartments in Venice, California
formally designated a

 California Historic Monument
by the
 State Historical Resources Commission
May 2006






  b & W






Entire State Application

2002 National Register Nomination, endorsed by State Historic Resources Commission, returned for additional info from National Register Keeper

Lincoln Place Apartments

Amanda Seward, Chair of the Modern Committee's Residential Council of the Los Angeles Conservancy prepared and submitted the California Register for Historical Resources application for Lincoln Place Apartments, which were originally comprised of 52 apartment building blocks (7 have been recently demolished) containing a total of 795 one- and two-bedroom apartment units built in a park-like setting throughout a contiguous 35-acre area in Venice, California. These bungalow court/garden apartments were designed by noted architects Ralph A Vaughn and Heth Wharton. It has only recently been discovered that Vaughn, an African-American trailblazer in the field of  architecture led the design team.  Vaughn, a graduate of the University of Illinois, had a strong backround in both housing and design, having worked under Hilyard Robinson, Albert I. Cassell, and Paul Williams.

Inspired by the Garden City Movement and designed in the Modern Style, Lincoln Place, constructed from 1949-51, was the largest development financed under Section 608 of Title VI of the Housing Act, which was designed to stimulate investment in low and modern income rental housing during World War II and the housing shortage which followed.

The units are defined by the bold geometric shapes framing the apartment entrances and the geometric shapes of the windows and openings to the balconies. Lincoln Place stands out for the way it creates visual variation and individual character to each building, while at the same time it is clearly a harmonious design. 

By mixing the varied window treatments above each entrance with the various entrances, the design team was able to achieve innumerable building designs. The façades of many of the buildings are multi-planed, adding additional individual character to each building.

The site plan is strongly representative of the Garden City Movement, uniquely adapted to the Southern California climate.  It was designed with significant open green space between the buildings and planted with almost 400 trees, primarily subtropical in origin, and other landscaping, mostly sub-tropical, often drought resistant species. Though 7 buildings have been destroyed, 85 % of site plan remains.
Although both Vaughn and Wharton had wealthy clients, especially those connected with the film industry, they both believed in designing for everyday working people. In Lincoln Place, their ideals for modern living and multi-family dwellings were fully realized. 

The nomination was submitted under Criterion One for its contribution to Social History and Community Planning and Development (1946-1951) and under Criterion Three for its Architecture and Site Plan (1949-1951).

At its Aug. 5 meeting, the State Historical Resources Commission voted unanimously that Lincoln Place qualifies for the honor of listing on the California Register of Historical Resources. 

In 2003, the State Commission had determined that Lincoln Place was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C both as a good example of the "garden apartment" property type and as a good example of Modernist architecture and under Criterion A as a major and intact example of the low and moderate income rental housing built in Los Angeles and the nation just after World War II in response to a severe housing shortage. All 8 Commissioners determined that it qualified under Criterion C. Political pressure was applied on the National Register office in Washington and the nomination was returned (not rejected) with the request for more information.

Historical designation was endorsed by the

National Trust for Historic Preservation
Los Angeles Conservancy
California Preservation Foundation
American Institue of Architects (AIA), Los Angeles Chapter
National Organization of Minority Architects
Venice Historical Society,
Jeffrey Samudio, Commissioner Emeritus of the State Historical Resources Commission, President Emeritus of the Societh of Architectural Historians, So. California Chapter
American Institute of Architects (AIA), Los Angeles Chapter
Bradford C. Grant, President, Association of Collegiate Schools of             Architecture
Diane Favro, President, Society of American Architectural Historians, 
Gail Sansbury, Board Member of the Society of American Regional and City Planning History, 
Dorothy Wong, author of the National Landmark and National Register nominations of Baldwin Hills Village Green
Julius Shulman, premier photographer of Modernist architecture, 
Katherine H Anthony, Professor, School of Architecture, Universisty of 
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Michael Palumbo, Emeritus Chairman of the Modern Committee of the
Los Angeles Conservancy
Judy Branfman, Research Scholar, UCLA Center for the Study of Women
Wesley Howard Henderson, AIA, Associate Editor of the BIOGRAPHIC 
and many more preservation experts, historians and architects in Los Angeles andaround the nation.
Designation was also enthusiastically endorsed by 
Senators Dianne Feinstein 
Senator Barbara Boxer
Congresswoman Jane Harman
State Senator Debra Bowen
CA Assemblyman Mike Gordon (?)
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
City Councilman, 11th District, Bill Rosendahl
Grass Roots Venice Neighborhood Council

location & map
b & w images
color images
complete text of State application
to write a letter of support