Resource Description

Resource Summary

Names
Rancho Vega Garden Apartment (Primary)
Rancho Vega (Alternative)
Resource Types
District
Important Dates
No dates recorded
Keywords (Subjects)
World War II
1940s
aircraft
worker housing
defense
Garden City
ethnic
black
African American
Paul R. Williams
suburbanization
Mid-Century Modern

Location Information

Addresses
Location Description
No descriptions recorded
Administrative Areas
North Hollywood - Valley Village Community Plan Area (Community Plan Area)
Los Angeles City Council District 2 (Council District)
MID-TOWN NORTH HOLLYWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL (Neighborhood Council)
N. HOLLYWOOD NEIGHBORHOOD (Neighborhood)

Classification

Classification
No classifications recorded
Related Features
No features recorded

Resource Descriptions

General Description
Rancho Vega Garden Apartment is a large World War II-era garden apartment complex located in the North Hollywood area of the San Fernando Valley. Designed by Paul R. Williams as defense worker housing, it is a 10.3-acre super-block with 23 residential buildings and 16 garage buildings. The complex is bounded by Cahuenga Blvd. on the west, Clybourn Ave. on the east, and a parcel line on the north; it is transected by Edison Way, which has a landscaped median with mature trees. Of its 21 residential buildings, all are contributors to its significance. Its garage buildings, site plan, and landscape features also contribute to its significance. Rancho Vega's residential buildings are nearly identical in appearance: rectangular with a central two-story section and a one-story apartment at each end. They are Minimal Traditional in style, with low-pitched hipped roofs, wide overhanging eaves, stucco cladding, and bay windows with wood shutters. The one-story apartments have small concrete porches and private back patios. The central apartments are two story townhomes with full-width balconies with wood posts and railings. The complex occupies a parcel on the flat valley floor and is characterized by its site plan and landscaping, which includes mature trees like pepper, sycamore, jacaranda, palm, and cypress. Painted brick garages with shed and butterfly roofs are present in several garage courts throughout the complex; they have wood tilt-up doors.

Summary of Significance
Rancho Vega Garden Apartment is significant as an excellent example of a World War II-era garden apartment complex in North Hollywood. It is a very rare intact example of wartime defense worker housing in Los Angeles and is also significant for its association with master architect Paul R. Williams. The period of significance is 1945, which is Rancho Vega's original period of construction as well as the period during opened as defense housing. The complex has 24 residential buildings, of which 100% contribute to its historical significance. Rancho Vega was built for workers at the nearby Lockheed-Vega aircraft plant during World War II. It was designed by significant architect Paul R. Williams, a prolific African-American architect responsible for some of Los Angeles' most iconic garden apartments, private residences, commercial and institutional buildings. Williams' work on garden apartments, including Rancho Vega, Pueblo del Rio, and Hacienda Village, during the Great Depression and World War II is indicative of his interest in the social benefits of garden city planning principles for residents of multi-family housing in Los Angeles. Rancho Vega retains the essential characteristics of garden apartment complexes such as super block site planning, common courtyards, concrete walkways, emphasis on landscape and site plan, and parking largely restricted to the perimeter of the complex, away from pedestrian circulation. Because it is transected by a street (Edison Way) providing internal automobile access and parking, the complex is a very slight variation on the typical garden apartment super-block. Aside from minor alterations, including installation of security doors and the addition of garage doors, the complex as a whole remains remarkably intact. Its site plan, buildings, and landscape features exemplify the garden apartment property type.


External System References

SurveyLA ID: 54596250-0826-49c0-a31a-b81727c212c7

Resource Significance

Evaluation Details

Date Evaluated
2013-02-13
Context/Theme
Residential Development and Suburbanization, 1850-1980
Multi-Family Residential Development, 1910-1980
Multi-Family Residential, 1910-1980
Garden Apartments, 1938-1960
Residential-Multi Family
Garden Apartment Complex
Eligibility Standards
  • Original landscaping may have been altered or removed
  • Extant Garden Apartment Complexes are rare; therefore, a greater degree of alteration or fewer character-defining features may be acceptable
  • Geographic districts of this property type are unlikely
  • Replacement of some windows may be acceptable if the openings have not been changed or resized
  • Associated architectural styles: American Colonial Revival, Minimal Traditional, Hollywood Regency, Mid-Century Modern
  • Was constructed during the period of significance
  • Should retain integrity of Location, Design, Feeling, Materials and Association
  • Security bars may have been added
  • Where this property type is situated within a grouping of multi-family residences, it may also be significant as a contributor to a Multi-Family Residential District. A grouping may be composed of a single property type or a variety of types
  • Buildings are generally two stories in height; may be three stories
  • Buildings are oriented around multiple courtyards or set within a larger landscape, a primary feature of the design
  • Composed of ten or more buildings on a large superblock
  • Retains most of the essential character-defining features from the period of significance
  • Site is generally more than five acres
  • Typically composed of ten or more similarly-designed residential buildings arranged within a large superblock
  • Buildings are oriented around multiple courtyards or set within a larger landscape
  • May be a good/excellent example of an architectural style from its period and/or the work of a significant architect or builder
  • Should retain integrity of Location, Design, Setting (must retain the relationship between the buildings and the landscape), Materials (some materials may have been altered/removed), and Feeling
  • Originally constructed as a garden apartment complex
  • Integrity Aspects
    Retains sufficient integrity to convey significance
    Location
    Design
    Setting
    Materials
    Workmanship
    Association
    Feeling
    California Historic Resources Status Codes (explanation of codes)
    3CS
    3S
    5S3
    Significance Statement
    Excellent and intact example of a garden apartment complex designed by master architect Paul R. Williams. Retains distinctive features of the garden apartment type.
    Periods of Significance
    From: 1945-01-01

    Date Evaluated
    2012-06-25
    Context/Theme
    Other Context, 1850-1980
    Event or Series of Events, 1850-1980
    Residential
    District
    Eligibility Standards
  • Retains most of the essential physical features from the period of significance
  • Is associated with an event or series of events important in Los Angeles history
  • Integrity Aspects
    Workmanship
    Feeling
    Association
    Materials
    Setting
    Retains sufficient integrity to convey significance
    Location
    Design
    California Historic Resources Status Codes (explanation of codes)
    5S3
    3S
    3CS
    Significance Statement
    Excellent example of a garden apartment complex designed and constructed specifically to house defense workers during World War II. Architect Paul R. Williams was the Director of Defense Housing for the City of Los Angeles at the time of Rancho Vega's construction.
    Periods of Significance
    From: 1945-01-01

    Related Resources

    Related Historic Resources

    Rancho Vega (Structure, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rancho Vega (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)

    Related Historic Districts

    None

    Related Activities

    None

    Related Historic Events

    None

    Related People/Organizations

    Architectural Resources Group (Surveying Firm, was surveyed by / surveyed)

    Related Information Resources

    Images
    Documents
    SurveyLA: North Hollywood-Valley Village Historic Resources Survey Report (Document/Text, is referred to in / refers to)