Resource Description

Resource Summary

Names
Uplifters Historic District (Primary)
Uplifters Ranch (Alternative)
Resource Types
District
Important Dates
No dates recorded
Keywords (Subjects)
sports
1920s
Los Angeles Athletic Club
LACC
Harry Marston Halderman
L. Frank Baum
Edmond Ranch
tree
equestrian
Willim J. Dodd
Rustic Canyon
Craftsman
log
Spanish Colonial Revival
residential
Howard Latimer

Location Information

Addresses
Location Description
No descriptions recorded
Administrative Areas
Brentwood - Pacific Palisades Community Plan Area (Community Plan Area)
Los Angeles City Council District 11 (Council District)
PACIF. PALISADES NEIGHBORHOOD (Neighborhood)

Classification

Classification
No classifications recorded
Related Features
No features recorded

Resource Descriptions

General Description
The Uplifters Historic District is an early-20th century recreational district located in the Rustic Canyon area of Pacific Palisades. The district contains 46 parcels. The district includes the former Uplifters Ranch gatehouse at 520 Latimer Road and extends north on Latimer Road to the Uplifters Ranch sign. The boundaries then expand to include the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center, those parcels surrounding Haldeman Road, and those parcels on the easterly side of Latimer Road, terminating at the northerly boundary of 20 Latimer Road. The district occupies a gently-sloping site and is composed of a series of meandering streets which follow the natural contours of the landscape. Lots are modest in size compared with surrounding developments, with many lots smaller than a half-acre. Development is primarily residential, with one- and two-story single-family homes. Original residences were constructed primarily in the mid-1920s and exhibit a variety of rustic styles, including Craftsman bungalows and vernacular log-faced cabins. Features include wooden clapboard, log, or shingle cladding, wood windows and doors, and wood shake roofs. Several residences exhibit replaced wooden cladding which retains the rustic aesthetic of the district. Today, Uplifters residences share street with more recent construction, typically much larger in scale, and often obscuring views of the original houses. The district also includes the Spanish Colonial Revival-style Uplifters Ranch clubhouse, now the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center. District features include streets which follow the natural contours of the landscape, intermittent curbs faced with concrete or cobblestone, cobblestone retaining walls, the absence of sidewalks and streetlights, and lush natural landscaping with many mature trees. A period wooden sign for Uplifters Ranch is suspended over Latimer Road, marking the original entrance to the site. Of the 46 properties, 16 are contributors to the district, or approximately 35 percent; 21 are non-contributors due to extensive alterations or construction outside the period of significance. Nine properties are not visible from the public right-of-way.

Summary of Significance
The Uplifters Historic District is significant as an excellent and unique example of early recreational development in Pacific Palisades. The district's period of significance is 1922 to 1930, when the original buildings in the district were constructed. The land comprising the district was first improved in the 1880s under the stewardship of Abbott Kinney. Kinney, a devoted horticulturalist, was appointed to the newly-created California Board of Forestry in 1885. Two years later, he persuaded landowners Senator John P. Jones and Arcadia de Baker to donate six acres of land in Rustic Canyon to the state for use as the country's first Forestry Experimental Station. The Santa Monica Forestry Station opened in 1887; over the next several years, the station acquired fourteen additional acres and constructed a building for offices, seed storage, and exhibits. In 1895, Jones and Baker sold the acreage adjacent to the forestry station to George and Katherine Edmond, who constructed a ranch house on the property. For the next 25 years, the Edmonds' only neighbors were the forestry station personnel, and their ranch was the only private residence in Rustic Canyon. In the 1920s, the Santa Monica Forestry Station was put up for sale. At the same time, George Edmond had passed away and his second wife, Julia, decided to sell the Edmond ranch. Although the Methodist Assembly initially made an offer for both properties, the church eventually opted to move west and develop the community of Pacific Palisades. Shortly thereafter, the land was subsequently purchased by the Uplifters. The Uplifters were a selective social club that had grown out of the Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC). The idea for a social club originated with LAAC member Harry Marston Haldeman, who had previously formed a similar group within the Chicago Athletic Club before relocating to Los Angeles in 1909. Haldeman was soon appointed Fellowship Chairman of the LAAC and charged with organizing dinners and other social events. The success of these events led Haldeman to contemplate replicating the group he had founded in Chicago by creating a smaller, more select social club within the LAAC which would encourage artistic talent and promote lasting friendships. In 1913, Haldeman and a group of LAAC members met to formally establish the Uplifters. The name was chosen by member L. Frank Baum, author of the Oz books, and was selected in accordance with the group's mission: ""to uplift art, promote good fellowship, and build a closer acquaintance"" among fellow members. The group was a diverse assembly of prominent Los Angeles businessmen as well as artists and celebrities; in addition to Baum and Haldeman, early members included composer Louis Gottschalk, Olympic athlete Snowy Baker, director Hal Roach, actor Harold Lloyd, and author Edgar Rice Burroughs. The Uplifters channeled their energy into recreational and creative endeavors, staging regular dinners, plays, and recitals. Haldeman also organized the Annual Outing, a week-long event held each year where members met at the beach for picnics, sports, and entertainment. At the 1920 Annual Outing, the Uplifters discussed the idea of acquiring a country home for its members, where the activities of the Annual Outing could take place year-round. The group decided on the Rustic Canyon land, which comprised the forestry station and the Edmond ranch, and established a separate corporation, the Uplifters Country Home, to buy, build, lease, and maintain the land and facilities. Uplifters members were invited to purchase shares in the company and within months the group had raised the necessary funds to purchase the Rustic Canyon land. The Uplifters Ranch was officially dedicated in May of 1921, with the former Edmond ranch house serving as the Uplifters clubhouse. Early development of the Uplifters Ranch was limited and devoted primarily to the creation of recreational facilities. Roads and paths were cleared and utilities were extended to the site, where initial construction consisted of a swimming pool, tennis courts, trap shooting range, an open-air amphitheater, and dormitories. In 1922, a brush fire destroyed the former Edmond ranch house, and the Uplifters established a building fund to construct a replacement facility. Architect William J. Dodd, an Uplifter member, was hired to design the new clubhouse, which was completed in 1923. Over time, as equestrian activities became a larger part of club life, facilities were improved and expanded to include a polo field, racetrack, riding arena and stables. The Uplifters also invested substantial funds in improving the roads and grading and terracing the landscape with plantings and cobblestone retaining walls. Over 500 trees, donated by individual members, were planted in 1925. Streets were named for prominent Uplifters leaders Harry Haldeman and Howard Latimer, who also constructed the first Uplifters houses. While the land continued to be owned by the Country Home Corporation, club members who purchased four shares or more were permitted to lease a lot from the corporation and build a house. The design of the residences was restricted by the Country Home Board of Directors, which specified that cottages should be "left rustic" and painted brown, grey, or green. Approximately 40 Uplifters members constructed cottages along Latimer and Haldeman roads, which were used primarily for summer and weekend visits to the Ranch. The cottages displayed a range of rustic vernacular styles, including Craftsman and log cabin examples, and were clad in wooden clapboard, shingles, or logs. One of the earliest club members, Marco Hellman, had one of the most unique residences at the camp; Hellman acquired three log cabins from a movie set to form his seasonal residence. The cabins were originally utilized as set pieces for the 1923 film "The Courtship of Miles Standish." Following the completion of the film, Hellman had the cabins reassembled on adjoining lots on Haldeman Road. In the 1930s, the Uplifters organization began to undergo a marked transformation. In 1929, after nearly a decade of financial confusion, controversy, and mismanagement, the Uplifters Social Club and the Uplifters Country Home were merged into one entity, which supervised both the social activities of the club as well as its real estate holdings. The financial effects of the Depression muted the activities of the club, and the Annual Outing was reduced from a week to four days before being discontinued in 1941. The Uplifters Ranch facilities were taken over by professional managers and were operated for profit, catering to outside events. The club's real estate holdings were also affected: in an effort to meet growing financial obligations caused by loans and members' unpaid bills, in the mid-1930s the Uplifters Country Home announced that cottage owners could no longer lease their properties; instead, they would be required to purchase their cottages at a value to be determined. The Country Home hired attorney Joseph Musgrove to meet with members and handle the negotiations. Many members with cottages who had suffered financial losses during the Depression were often unable to raise the sum necessary to buy their cottages outright. Musgrove purchased a number of cottages owned by original Uplifters Ranch founders, including those of Howard Latimer and Marco Hellman. Between 1936 and 1938, many founding Uplifters were forced out of their country homes and newer members began to make the Uplifters Ranch their year-round home. The demise of the original Uplifters was accelerated by the outbreak of World War II. By 1941, Uplifters Ranch land was being sold for the first time to buyers who were not Uplifters members. In 1943, the financially distressed Uplifters Ranch property, which was nearing bankruptcy, was sold to Joseph Musgrove. Musgrove and his associates subdivided the land for development, selling off the polo field and facilities, and began to rent out the facilities to non-members. In 1947, the Uplifters club was disbanded and the Uplifters Ranch clubhouse was sold. The clubhouse was renovated and opened in 1950 as a privately-owned Racquet Club, but operated for only three years before being acquired by the City of Los Angeles as a city park in 1953. The clubhouse now serves as the Rustic Canyon Recreation Center; it was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument in 1999. The former Uplifters cottages, many of which reverted to private ownership by the late 1930s, are now maintained as full-time private residences. Over time, many properties have been altered and expanded to accommodate year-round living. In some cases, original Uplifters cottages have been maintained as guest houses for newer, larger residences constructed on the properties. Today, the Uplifters Historic District stands out as a uniquely cohesive example of early recreational development in Pacific Palisades. Its shared planning features and distinctively rustic aesthetic help to convey a strong sense of time and place. Despite a relatively low percentage of contributors, the area's significance is such that it qualifies as a historic district.


External System References

SurveyLA ID: 5c12765b-8df2-4fc2-8acb-d0aff888e2d4

Resource Significance

Evaluation Details

Date Evaluated
2013-11-25
Context/Theme
Other Context, 1850-1980
Event or Series of Events, 1850-1980
Institutional
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
    Setting
    Materials
    Design
    Retains sufficient integrity to convey significance
    Location
    California Historic Resources Status Codes (explanation of codes)
    3CS
    5S3
    3S
    Significance Statement
    Significant as an excellent and unique example of early recreational development in Pacific Palisades.
    Periods of Significance
    From: 1922-01-01
    To: 1930-12-31

    Related Resources

    Related Historic Resources

    Fred Kley Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Rustic Canyon Park (District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Herman Paine Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    38 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Ernest Rivers Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    47 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Hal Roach Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Robert Bowman Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Dr. Frank McCoy Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    4 N LATIMER ROAD (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Tully Marshall Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Uplifters Clubhouse (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Lloyd Moultrie Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Irving Smith Residence (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    William M. Beamish Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Uplifters Gate House (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    682 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Charles Evan Evans Residence (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    19 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    50 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Heather Hill House (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    Marco Hellman Cabin No. 1 (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Charles Lajotte Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    700 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Dr. Cecil Luton Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    20 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Harry J. Clark Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Clair Brunson Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Aubrey Austin Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Harry Vandeveer Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    James Harper Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Walter W. Phelps Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    650 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Lyell Puckett Residence (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    Charles Rosher Residence (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    Marco Hellman Cabin No. 2 (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Arthur Smith Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Louis Cole Residence (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    Jack Cunningham Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    Josiah Lee Dabbs Residence (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    15 N LATIMER ROAD (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    43 N HALDEMAN ST (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    6 N LATIMER ROAD (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)
    Howard Latimer Residence (Building, District Potential Contributor, is a potential contributor to / has as a possible contributor)
    Harry Haldeman Residence (Building, District Contributor, is a contributor to / has as a contributor)
    George Fitch Residence (Building, District Non-Contributor, is a non-contributor to / has as a non-contributor)

    Related Historic Districts

    None

    Related Activities

    None

    Related Historic Events

    None

    Related People/Organizations

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

    Related Information Resources

    Documents
    SurveyLA: Brentwood-Pacific Palisades Historic Resources Survey Report (Document/Text, is referred to in / refers to)