Marina del Rey | Los Angeles Conservancy
Marina del Rey
Photo by ravitch on Flickr

Marina del Rey

Developers had been eyeing the Ballona Wetlands area as a prime location for a harbor since the late nineteenth century, but it wasn't until 1953 that any plans actually started becoming reality. That year, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors authorized a loan to fund construction of a marina, and an unusual public-private partnership began development of Marina del Rey, "The Harbor of the King." Architect Victor Gruen was hired to create the master plan for this 780-acre area, which includes one of the largest manmade small craft harbors in the world.

After years of work, delayed somewhat by a destructive winter storm in 1962-1963, Marina del Rey was officially dedicated in 1965. The marina-centered community includes restaurants, shops, hotels, and multi-family residential housing in both low- and high-rise buildings. It is a veritable treasure trove of 1960s architecture, ranging from the Polynesian-style Pieces of Eight restaurant (now Shanghai Red's) to pristine Mid-Century Modern apartment buildings. The area exemplifies the ideals of seaside resort living at mid-century and is fascinating from a cultural perspective as well as from a planning perspective. Redevelopment seems to be a constant at Marina del Rey, so many of its original buildings are threatened by new construction—if you haven't seen them yet, now is a good time.

First Baptist Church of Venice, 2021. Photo by: Save Venice Facebook.

First Baptist Church of Venice

The First Baptist Church of Venice is one of the last remaining significant resources associated with the history and development of Oakwood, an early African American neighborhood in Los Angeles.
Wirick House
Photo courtesy Architectural Resources Group

Wirick House

Its delicate appearance belies the strength and endurance of its structural system, which seems to reflect the attitude of the World War II veterans who came from the USC School: if we can win a war, we can certainly build beautiful houses on this little hill.