International Institute of Los Angeles
UPDATE: On May 4, 2021 the City Council's Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee unanimously approved the Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) application for the International Institute of Los Angeles. The HCM nomination will now go to the full City Council for final approval.
The International Institute was established in Boyle Heights in 1914 as a branch of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association). Its mission was to “serve women and girls coming from Europe and the Orient and to assist the foreign communities in their adjustment to life in this country.” One of the Institute’s earliest projects was to meet Japanese picture brides at the L.A. Harbor and help them resettle into their new lives in Los Angeles.
The Spanish Colonial Revival building features two courtyards, one at the front behind the wall along Boyle Avenue, and one just inside the doors. The architects of this building were Webber & Spaulding, a prominent architecture firm in Los Angeles in the 1920s. The firm was well-known for their elegant Spanish Colonial Revival projects in San Marino, Claremont (at Pomona College), and Palos Verdes.
In April 2019, the property was listed for sale, leaving its future uncertain. In August 2019, the Boyle Heights Community Partners nominated the building for local Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) recognition. The Conservancy helped prepare and supports the Historic-Cultural Monument nomination. On August 20, 2020, the Cultural Heritage Commission voted unanimously to recommend the listing of the property as an Historic-Cultural Monument. The nomination was scheduled for review at the Planning and Land Use Management Committee on March 2, 2021, but due to technical difficulties at the meeting, the item was continued to April 6, 2021.
The International Institute was formally determined eligible for the National Register of Historic Places by Section 106 review in 2000 and was added to the California Register.
Additionally, the property has been identified as eligible for local listing in SurveyLA, including in the Japanese Americans Historic Context, the Women's Rights Historic Context, and Latino Los Angeles Historic Context.
The International Institute meets Criteria 1 and 3 for designation as a City of Los Angeles' Historic-Cultural Monument.
As of 2020, there are few HCMs associated with the history of women of color in Los Angeles. The Boyle Heights Community Partners and the Conservancy aim to increase the number of HCMs which represent a more inclusive Los Angeles.
Support the Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination of the International Institute in the following ways:
FIRST: Speak in support of the International Institute at the May 4 (starts at 2pm) virtual Planning and Land Use Management (PLUM) committee meeting by calling 669-254-5252 and using Meeting ID No. 161 644 6631 and then press #. Press # again when prompted for participant ID. Once admitted into the meeting, press *9 to request to speak.
SECOND: Submit written comments at LACouncilComment.com (Council file 21-0122).
THIRD: Submit a letter of support for the nomination to the Council District 14’s Councilmember Kevin De Leon’s office by emailing Emma.Howard@lacity.org, PLUM Chair Councilmember Marqueece Harris Dawson (email@example.com), and cc M. Rosalind Sagara/L.A. Conservancy so we may track support (firstname.lastname@example.org) Subject line should read: RE: Support for Historic-Cultural Monument Nomination of the International Institute (Council File 21-0122).