International Institute of Los Angeles | Los Angeles Conservancy
International Institute of Los Angeles. Photo by Laura Dominguez.

International Institute of Los Angeles

UPDATE: The City Council approved the Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination for the International Institute of Los Angeles on May 19, 2021.

The International Institute was established in 1914 under the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association) as part of the nationwide International Institute Movement. 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.” In Los Angeles, one of the organization'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 landmark designation. The Conservancy helped prepare and supported the Historic-Cultural Monument nomination. On May 19, 2021 the City Council unanimously approved the Historic-Cultural Monument designation of the International Institute.


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.





UPDATE: The City Council approved the Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM) nomination for the International Institute of Los Angeles on May 19, 2021. Thank you for your support!

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 19 (starts at 10 am) virtual City Council meeting by calling 669-254-5252 and using Meeting ID No. 160 535 8466 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 in support of the nomination at (Council file 21-0122).