February E-Newsletter
About the Quinn Research Center
Carolyne & Bill Edwards - Founders
Carolyne and Bill Edwards stand next to a portrait of Dr. Alfred T. Quinn featured in the exhibition, Broadway to Freeway at the Santa Monica History Museum. Credit: The Quinn Research Center
The Quinn Research Center (QRC) is an archive of Black family history and Santa Monica Bay culture assembled by Dr. Alfred Quinn, a prominent educator and member of the Santa Monica community in the mid-late 20th century. 

Conservancy Board Member Carolyne Edwards and her husband Bill Edwards founded the QRC in the 2000s, but the actual collecting began in the early 1930s. 

While packing up the home of Dr. Alfred Quinn and Sylvia Dorothy Quinn—Carolyne’s late aunt and uncle—the collection came to light for the first time. The Edwardses discovered the wealth of information Dr. Quinn had amassed in the form of photographs, newspaper clippings, magazines, pamphlets and other items related to the history and development of the local area. They immediately realized the value of these treasures tucked away in various boxes and albums. 

Stunned by the size and depth of the archive, they put the entire contents in Sterilite containers and brought them home, filling a guest bedroom to capacity; in fact they had to remove the bed to have enough room to organize it all. 

Today, Dr. Quinn’s papers are housed at the The Ralph J. Bunche Library and Media Center for African American Studies at UCLA, where Santa Monica College history students helped digitize parts of the archive. Last year, 275 images became part of the Santa Monica Library’s research holdings, where they are available to the public.

The Edwardses named the center in honor of Carolyne's grandfather Rev. Alfred K. Quinn, her mother Daisy Quinn, and uncle Dr. Alfred T. Quinn, all of whom were collectors of history. Since founding the QRC, their mission has been to "collect, preserve and share the history and culture of African Americans in the Santa Monica Venice Bay Area" with others. In all of their work, they actively seek recognition of Santa Monica’s lost cultural heritage, which included a sizable and vibrant community of color that was largely displaced through eminent domain to make room for the 10 freeway and Santa Monica Civic Center.
Some of this sharing has been through various public events such as "History of Santa Monica African American Postal Employees", "African American Architects on the Westside", and "History of Garfield School" where Dr. Quinn became the first African American teacher hired in the Santa Monica School District in the 1950s.
Photo: "Mr. Alfred T. Quinn's class at Garfield Elementary School." Credit: The Quinn Research Center
The Edwardses also partner with organizations like the Santa Monica Conservancy as well as researchers, students and artists to share the stories and heritage contained within the archive. No doubt readers have seen the announcement for Broadway to Freeway, an exhibition which they created with the Santa Monica History Museum. They have also been collaborating with the 18th Street Art Center for many years on projects like Culture Mapping 90404 to help identify past and present cultural assets for a community produced map of Santa Monica's Pico neighborhood as well as The Broadway Project which aims to create a Broadway Historic Cultural District through the pairing of history with public art.

You can learn more about the Quinn Research Center and future projects by visiting their website or contacting them directly. To access the archive online through the Santa Monica Public Library’s Digital Archives, click here.
Update on the Landmark Designation Application of Philomathean Hall

The work of the QRC has influenced and informed many Conservancy projects. One important example is the effort to secure a Landmark designation for Philomathean Hall at 1802 Broadway.

Located in the heart of what was once a thriving African American neighborhood, the Hall was constructed in 1958 by the Philomathean Charity Literary & Art Club. Established in 1921 and still in operation today, the Philomathean Charity Club has practiced philanthropy in the local community for over 100 years and is possibly the oldest African American women's club in the region. The application to secure City Landmark status for the Hall is near completion! The QRC has been instrumental not only in providing information about the history and significance of the Charity Club, but in advocating for the creation of an entire Cultural District along Broadway between 14th and 20th Street.

Photo: Founding members of the Philomathean Charity Literary & Art Club. Credit: The Quinn Research Center
In 2017, historian Alison Rose Jefferson Ph.D. worked with the Conservancy to develop Passport to Success. This educational program for students from South Los Angeles and other parts of the county provided outings in Santa Monica that focused on historical experiences of communities of color, environmental education about Santa Monica Bay and the local watershed, and of course, beach fun.

Participants visited sites such as the Bay Street Beach Historic District, the Preservation Resource Center and the Pascual Marquez family cemetery. They also participated in events including Nick Gabaldón Day and Coastal Cleanup Day.

Passport to Success came to a close during the pandemic but the Conservancy is actively working with community partners to create the next iteration of this important program.
Photo: Alison Rose Jefferson Ph.D. talks to students near the monument at Bay Street Beach in Santa Monica. Credit: The Santa Monica Conservancy.
Interview with Alison Rose Jefferson Ph.D.
Recently Dr. Jefferson talked with Cindy Olnick about the story and significance of Bay Street Beach and related sites on an episode of the award-winning Save As podcast called Surf, Sand and Self-Determination: Jim Crow-Era Leisure for Black Angelenos.
Listen here.
Julia Morgan Legacy Day
Sunday, March 5 from 11-2 pm
Annenberg Community Beach House
The Annenberg Community Beach House and Santa Monica Conservancy team up again this year for a special commemoration of architect Julia Morgan, California’s first licensed female architect!

Noted for her collaboration with William Randolph Hearst to create Hearst Castle in San Simeon, Morgan left a legacy of more than 700 projects in her nearly five decades of practice. Posthumously awarded the AIA’s highest honor, a Gold Medal, her brilliant and pioneering work continues to gain public recognition. Morgan designed the Guest House and pool, which comprise the historic core of the Beach House.

The celebration kicks off at 11 am with a presentation by Karen McNeill, Ph.D. an expert on Morgan's life, work, and legacy. Her most recent publication as a contributor to Julia Morgan: The Road to San Simeon, has been acclaimed by architectural critic Martin Filler (New York Review of Books) as “the definitive account of Morgan’s education at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts.” 

Following McNeill’s presentation, guests may visit the Guest House to see Morgan’s work first-hand.

This is a free event but reservations are required.
Conservancy Tours & Events
Friday-Monday, from 12-2 p.m.
Feb 17-20 and 24-27;
March 3-6, 10-13, 17-20 and 24-27
415 Pacific Coast Highway
Enjoy a free tour led by Conservancy docents and learn about the rich history of the Marion Davies Guest House, which was built by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies. The hottest spot on Santa Monica’s Gold Coast during the 1920s, guests included Charlie Chaplin and Greta Garbo. The 20-minute tours are available on a walk-up basis. Learn more
1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at 10 a.m.
Feb 25 and March 4
1436 2nd Street
Discover the architectural gems and rich history of Downtown Santa Monica on our highly rated guided tour. From Art Deco to Victorian and Romanesque Revival, you’ll explore the various styles that fill the streets of our city. Tours are approximately two hours and cover six blocks. Free for members and $10 for the general public. Register
PRC Stephen Schafer shotgun house
2520 2nd Street
Sat & Sun, Feb 25 & 26
Open from 12-2 p.m.
Live Virtual Tour
Sunday, Feb 19 at noon
Come and visit the last intact shotgun house in Santa Monica this weekend! Discover the journey of this incredible little house, which was saved from demolition and moved–on wheels–three times before being adapted into our modern-day Center. Learn more
Community News & Events
Culture Mapping 90404
Community Produced Map
18th Street Art Center
The Quinn Research Center, other community groups and a cadre of trained volunteers have supported 18th Street in their work to to help identify past and present cultural assets for a community produced map of Santa Monica's Pico neighborhood, which has been in development for many years. Engage with the map here.

We congratulate 18th Street on their recent award of a $3.3 million grant from the California Arts Council to expand the project into other California communities! Read more about the award here.
Frieze Los Angeles
Art Fair
February 16-19
Santa Monica Airport
The renowned international art fair will take place in its new location at the Santa Monica Airport. Over 120 international galleries will have work on display as well as a host of programming related to the dynamic culture of Los Angeles and its global contributions to the visual arts. More information.
Reframe: City Hall Mural Project
What do you see here? - A virtual feedback activity sheet workshop
Wednesday, February 22 at 6pm
Don't worry if you missed last week's Sites of Memory Tour, there are still several more Reframe public programs scheduled for the first half of 2023. Next up is this free virtual workshop designed for educators, parents and community groups to use an interactive worksheet to spark discussion about memory and civic space. Register
Building Community: Pioneering Black Architects in L.A.:
A Virtual Tour
February 22 at 6 pm
Next week the LA Conservancy will present a new virtual tour celebrating Black History Month! Tune in to learn the stories of Norma Merrick Sklarek, Paul Revere Williams, and Robert Kennard (to name a few), and understand how Black architects shaped Los Angeles and influenced communities through advocacy and architecture. Register
Students at Garfield Elementary School in Santa Monica participate in a toy refurbishment project in 1935. Credit: Bill Beebe Collection, Santa Monica History Museum
*Exhibit extended through April 30!*
1350 7th Street, Santa Monica
In the mid-20th century, the Broadway neighborhood was a thriving, tight-knit community of color in Santa Monica that was largely destroyed to make room for the 10 freeway. Thanks to the work of the Quinn Research Center and Santa Monica History Museum, visitors to the exhibition can learn about the neighborhood and its residents through period photographs, advertisements, oral histories, and songs. Learn more
Santa Monica Conservancy