Summer comes to the Coastal Garden
June 2022
Hilda Weiss and Lorraine Sanchez working at the PRC garden
Contemplation of our summer garden inspires thoughts about community, ecology and the value of the Preservation Research Center
It’s a Tuesday morning in June and volunteers Lorraine Sanchez and Hilda Weiss are tending the Shotgun House’s Coastal Garden. The native plants are dry and subdued. Hilda explains that they are in their natural state of summer dormancy, working in rhythm with the climate’s hot dry season. For most plants native to the region, summer dormancy is a time of rest with little growth. 
Hilda and Lorraine’s work usually consists of pulling weeds, cutting back plants when necessary and gently treating pests with soapy water. Their efforts release the smell of sagebrush into the rooms of the Shotgun House and surrounding neighborhood.

Lorraine explains that she honed her gardening skills as a Peace Core volunteer working to help communities grow their own food. Hilda’s father taught her to garden and today she tends her own native plant habitat which surrounds her beautifully restored 1897 Workman’s Cottage. The pair met as Preservation Resource Center docents in 2016. Soon after, they teamed up to care for the garden and over the years have developed a close friendship.

As a member of the PRC Interiors Committee team working to guide the restoration of the Shotgun House, Hilda encouraged the Conservancy to create a native plant landscape for the building’s new site. She recommended FormLA Landscaping, the same firm she and her husband Wayne Lindberg used for their garden at home. 
FormLA Landscaping president Cassy Aoyagi was attracted by the potential of the project to demonstrate the beauty and function of native plants in public space. The firm soon joined the grass-roots community effort which transformed a City-owned parking lot into the LEED™ Gold certified Preservation Resource Center. 

When asked to comment on the educational aspect of the Coastal Garden, FormLA Landscaping recently shared the following, “What SMC has done at the PRC is so essential to LA’s resilience! There are few better ways to educate people about the benefits of native foliage than to use our public spaces to do so. With a glance at the Shotgun House Coastal Garden, passersby learn our beach natives are lush, leafy, constantly blooming and evolving, and fragrant. Better yet, it’s easy to see them functioning as habitat, with birds and butterflies darting about.”

Indeed, on this summer day there are bees, birds, caterpillars and at least one ladybug present in the garden. People walking by pause to look. In contemplation of the garden, the enduring presence of the Gabrielino/Tongva also comes to mind.

The ecological, historical and cultural properties of the site, including the Shotgun House as an example of historic restoration and adaptive reuse, have an obvious impact. It becomes clear that the house and garden also function together as an authentic urban commons. Here, volunteers, professionals, City and Conservancy staff, visitors, neighbors, plants and wildlife collaborate to create, maintain and activate a shared resource which in turn builds community.
We invite you to visit the Shotgun House and Coastal Garden this summer! Tours will be limited in July (see below) but the gardens are available seven days a week, no appointment necessary. You might even consider becoming a PRC volunteer or docent! For more information on volunteering, click here.
Wishing you a Happy Fourth of July!
Santa Monica History Museum Bill Beebe Collection
July 4 1947
Photo: Santa Monica History Museum, Bill Beebe Collection
75 Years Ago Today
Were it not for the changes in the built environment, this photo dated July 4, 1947 could be from today. An article attached to the image in the Santa Monica History Museum archives reads, "Santa Monica Bay beaches were the mecca for nearly a million Southern Californians yesterday as Midsummer temperatures, ranging from 90 to 113 degrees in inland communities, made Santa Monica’s cool breezes and beach sports doubly attractive for holiday visitors. The photo, taken from Huntington Palisades, shows the beach at Santa Monica Canyon and heavy traffic flow on the Coast Highway.”

The Museum's own description explains that, “Visible in the photo are businesses at the mouth of Santa Monica Canyon, the Gold Coast, beach clubs, Santa Monica Beach, piers and the California Incline. This stretch of beach became known as LGBTQ-friendly Ginger Rogers Beach."

One of the earliest landmarks designated by the city, the Santa Monica Pier is visible along the horizon. The imminent destruction of the pier in the 1970s galvanized residents’ sense that too much of the city’s heart and soul was being lost. Locals rallied to save the pier and, in the process, began the movement towards historic preservation that continues to this day.
Our June 2022 print newsletter is now available online. Get updates on the work of our Advocacy Committee and Docent Council, as well as the status of our Strategic Plan and more! Read now
Conservancy Tours & Events
Fri.-Sun, from 12-2 p.m.
July 8-10, 15-17, 23-24 and 29-31
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
Saturdays at 10 a.m.
July 9, 16, 23 and 30
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 approx. 2 hours and cover 6 blocks. Free for members and $10 for the general public. Register
PRC Stephen Schafer shotgun house
Limited July Hours
Free Virtual Tours:
Sun., July 17 at noon and 1 p.m.
Free In-person Tours:
Sat. & Sun., July 30 & 31 
from 12-2 p.m.
2520 2nd Street
Come and visit the last intact shotgun house in Santa Monica! 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.
2022 Preservation Awards
Watch the presentation online
Learn about the careful stewardship of the Annenberg Community Beach House, the rehabilitation of a historic bungalow court, the incredible work of our Program Committee Co-Chairs, and more! Watch
Community News & Events
Theodore Payne Foundation logo
Right Plant, Right Place with Katie Tilford
Theodore Payne Foundation
Zoom Class
Tue, July 12, 2022
6:00 PM – 8:00 PM PDT
The Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants supplied many of the plans at the PRC's Coastal Garden. The Foundation offers classes and workshops on Horticulture, design, maintenance, botany, nature walks, ethnobotany, art, poetry, and more. Buy Tickets
CPF logo

2022 Conference Full Recordings and Resources
California Preservation Foundation
The full set of recordings of the California Preservation Foundation's 2022 Conference are now available to purchase online.

Santa Monica History Museum
Exhibit open through December 23
1350 7th Street
Learn how residents built Broadway into a flourishing community of color – and how the Interstate 10 freeway destroyed it in the 1960s. Explore the advertisements, oral histories, photographs, and songs from the archival material collected by the Quinn Research Center. Visit
We Thank Our Downtown Walking Tour Sponsor
Santa Monica Conservancy

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