Pierce Brothers Mortuary | Los Angeles Conservancy
Photo by Jean Frost/West Adams Heritage Association

Pierce Brothers Mortuary

A fire that broke out on the morning of Thursday, October 4, severely damaged the historic Pierce Brothers Mortuary, which had been vacant in recent years. The historically significant property, which was the first full-service funeral home built in Los Angeles, is a designated Historic-Cultural Monument (HCM).

The fire caused extensive damage to the structure, but discussions are taking place on saving as much of the historic structure as possible. The Conservancy is working with the West Adams Heritage Association (WAHA) and the property owner to help assess the condition of the building and offer recommendations for stabilization. The Department of Building and Safety red-tagged the structure, deeming it too unsafe to enter or occupy.

Given the severity of the fire and significance of the property, the Conservancy encourages the property owner and the Department of Building and Safety to thoroughly consider all options and not rush to the conclusion that complete demolition is warranted. Opportunities may exist to repair the structure with the guidance of a preservation architect while retaining historic fabric.

Because the property is designated as an HCM, any decisions regarding its treatment following the fire must be reviewed by the city’s Office of Historic Resources and Cultural Heritage Commission. The Commission is scheduled to discuss the issue at their next meeting on November 15.