It's a modest home located on the 1200 block of West 35th Street near USC.

What You Need To Know

  • Paul Revere Williams was a prominent Black architect who designed thousands of buildings in Los Angeles

  • His first home near USC was recently designated a historic-cultural monument, offering it extra protections

  • Despite designing lavish homes and buildings, Williams could only live in a humble home due to racial restrictive covenants

  • Some of Williams' more famous designs include the Beverly Hills Hotel, the LAX Theme Building and the Stanley Mosk Courthouse

"This is the original house of Paul Revere Williams and his family. They moved here in 1921 and lived here until 1951," said Adrian Scott Fine, senior director of advocacy at the Los Angeles Conservancy.

Williams lived at the house with his wife and two children. Throughout his career, he designed almost 2,000 homes in LA, including many for Hollywood stars and wealthy businessmen, plus the LA County Courthouse, the Al Jolson Shrine at Hillside Memorial Park and the Beverly Hills Hotel.

"For 30 years, he was living in this relatively small house," Fine said.

The home was on the chopping block, about to be sold and redeveloped when Adrian Scott Fine with the LA Conservancy swooped in to try and stop it.

"It tells the story of a Black man, a Black architect and a place in which he was in many ways relegated to live due to racial restrictive covenants," Fine said.

It's now a historic-cultural monument, providing it with extra protections. There are a little more than 1,200 designated historic-cultural monuments throughout Los Angeles, and Fine said there's been a push to expand the diversity of landmarks and the communities they represent.

"Preservation is evolving more than just looking at beautiful buildings or architecture. It's about telling the full story of our cities, of people, of cultures, of places," he said.

"For me, the significant thing is that he did all those incredible designs in the 20s, 30s and 40s while he was living in this little tiny house," said Karen Hudson, who is Williams' granddaughter.

Hudson said that despite designing for the rich and famous, Williams didn't have animosity toward them.

"Can you imagine getting up every day in your little, teeny, very small home and going to design these places that are like 10,000-12,000 square feet?" she said. "He didn't have any jealously toward it. He didn't want to have what other people have. He wanted to have what he wanted to have."

Hudson said her mom would often drive by the house and share stories.

"My grandparents entertained there all the time, the likes of Ralph Bunche and Bojangles and all the big Black businessmen."

Hudson added that her grandfather would be thrilled to know that his full story was finally being shared.

"If he could keep a positive attitude when he was designing these places, and he knew he couldn't design his own home yet, then you can do anything."

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