The Los Angeles Conservancy is a nonprofit membership organization that works through education and advocacy to recognize, preserve, and revitalize the historic architectural and cultural resources of Los Angeles County. A small group of concerned citizens formed the Conservancy in 1978 as part of a community-based effort to prevent demolition of the Los Angeles Central Library, built in 1926. The Conservancy now has more than 6,000 members and hundreds of volunteers, making it the largest local preservation group in the U.S.
With a mandate of awareness, assistance, and action, the Conservancy works to preserve historic resources by developing preservation and reuse strategies, as well as raising awareness of their value in strengthening communities, conserving resources, fostering economic development, and enriching lives. The Conservancy’s advocacy efforts have helped to save and revitalize such beloved landmarks as the former Cathedral of St. Vibiana, the Wilshire May Company Building, the Wiltern Theatre, the Cinerama Dome, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Ennis House, and the world’s oldest remaining McDonald’s restaurant.
These are but a few of the countless historic resources that the Conservancy has worked to protect from demolition. The Conservancy works with property owners, developers, public officials, and other stakeholders to find mutual solutions that preserve irreplaceable historic resources. It works closely with neighborhood associations, heritage organizations, cultural institutions, and other preservation groups. It spearheads and promotes initiatives to facilitate preservation and deter senseless demolition, including the Mills Act and other investment tax credits, the Los Angeles Adaptive Reuse Ordinance, and the creation of historic districts.
The Conservancy’s proactive preservation efforts include the Broadway Initiative, which for over a decade has sought to revitalize downtown’s Historic Core; the Neighborhood Initiative, which provides outreach, programs, and services that help protect Los Angeles’ historic neighborhoods; and a Youth Outreach Initiative, which engages children and teens to cultivate the next generation of preservationists. Since 1982, the Conservancy has officially recognized outstanding achievement in preservation through its annual Preservation Awards.
Through a host of innovative educational programs, the Conservancy has introduced legions of Angelenos to the history and value of greater Los Angeles’ built environment. Its series of architectural walking tours has served more than 100,000 residents and visitors over the past thirty years. Additional special tours focus on the work of a particular architect, neighborhood, or architectural style. Launched in 1987 to draw attention to the plight of Broadway’s neglected movie palaces, the annual Last Remaining Seatsfilm series entertains more than 10,000 people each year while demonstrating the vitality and viability of L.A.’s extraordinary historic theatres.
The Conservancy’s large and active membership reflects an unprecedented level of support for L.A.’s historic resources, and the Conservancy continues to gain ground in making preservation part of public policy, urban planning, and the public consciousness.
The Los Angeles Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.