A former funeral home designated as historic at both a local and national level is about to get a new life as part of a modest affordable housing project in Historic South-Central. The Angelus Funeral Home was designed by noted and trailblazing architect Paul R. Williams; the business moved in the 1960s to a larger location on Crenshaw in Baldwin Hills, renovated by Williams, where they still operate today.
The structure on Jefferson was built in 1934, amid an early period of success in the funerary enterprise's life and, according to the Paul Revere Williams project, cost Angelus's owners $44,000.
According to a filing with the Department of City Planning, the handsome, Spanish Colonial Revival and Georgian Revival mashup will be preserved and reused. Update 3/28: A rep for the project's developers, Hollywood Community Housing Corporation, tells Curbed via email that "we will not be adding any floors to the historic building, just adaptively reusing it for apartments, offices, and community space."
Sharing the property with the preserved funeral home will be three new residential buildings, each four stories tall. When complete, the project will have 40 units available to low- and very low-income households, plus 42 car parking spaces in an underground lot. (There are also 41 bike parking spaces planned.)
The triangular lot that the project will rise on includes the funeral home, an empty church, and a parking lot. The now-vacant monument isn't looking so good, boarded up and in need of, at the very least, some paint. Fenced off though it is, the architectural details shine through and identify the building as something special.
From the Paul Revere Williams Project:
Attuned to the vision of the owners, Williams created a building described as "a tribute of farewell to those who pass through its doors on their last journey and a consolation to their loved ones who remain." To accomplish this he created a tasteful, elegant drawing room, one of the largest and finest mortuary church chapels in the area, private "slumber" rooms, and a nursery for small children. Mindful of the living, Williams included many of his up-scale signature touches—banks of windows with views of patios, fountains, flowers and extensive landscaped areas. These were design elements not found in any other mortuary of that era.
- Angelus Funeral Home, Los Angeles, CA. [Paul Revere Williams Project]
- Paul Revere Williams: Get to Know the Trailblazing Black Architect [Curbed]