Found among piles of old photos, stacks and stacks of papers, and more stacks of books than your average library, our archivist, Daryl Maxwell, unearthed this little yellow piece of history. However, this button has nothing to do with the time the Lopez Adobe was a functioning home. Instead, it came out of a time when the house had long since been out of use, but when its future was still very much in the air.
Beginning in the 1950s and continuing for several decades thereafter, Southern California underwent a wave of renovation that was geared at promoting everything that was “new” and letting anything that fell under the umbrella of “old” getting left by the wayside, or worse, getting targeted for demolition.
Without proper care or renovation, many of the area’s historic homes and buildings lapsed into disrepair and were deemed by some to be past the point of saving. Whole neighborhoods that once flourished were eventually wiped out. The once exclusive and picturesque area of L.A. known as Bunker Hill is one such area. It used to be the site of some of the city’s most affluent residents, and boasted grand Victorian homes and hotels. However, by the 1960s, many of the homes were dilapidated and the city maintained that the neighborhood had become a haven for transients and “derelicts.”
*click below to see Bunker Hill in 1898 and again in 1960*
This is the environment that surrounded the Lopez Adobe after Kate Lopez Millen passed away. Although the city of San Fernando initially announced plans to purchase the Lopez Adobe in 1970, it would take over a year to raise the funds to do so. During that time, the home’s owners placed a deadline, maintaining that the property would be leveled for commercial development if the $70,000 price tag could not be paid. As mentioned in our previous post, it would take a great community effort and a grant from the National Register of Historic Places to come up with the funds to save the Lopez Adobe.
So…back to the pin. What makes this pin of any interest to us? The fact that it stands as a reminder of just how uncertain the future is for many historic properties, and how the commitment and dedication of the community can make a difference in determining whether a piece of history remains preserved or gets left by the wayside.
Although we haven’t yet been able to determine whether the pin came from the initial fundraising efforts in 1970-71 or one of the subsequent community outreach initiatives, it is nevertheless a piece of the adobe’s history and one we felt should be shared.