Untold LA

Photographing the Astonishing Homes of LA's West Adams District

In 2012 photographer Jett Loe encountered the forgotten Los Angeles District of West Adams, the original wealthy area of town, the “Beverly Hills before Beverly Hills.”  Filled with an astonishing collection of Victorian and Craftsman homes in vibrant, diverse neighborhoods West Adams proved to be a revelation.  Following a successful Kickstarter campaign Jett spent two years producing this mammoth delight of a book that documents the variety of homes and people in the area.

Totaling a fully interactive 365 pages with 500 photos, 70 oral history audio clips from West Adams residents and two hours of behind-the-scenes video commentary, Untold LA is a massive treasure trove for lovers of Los Angeles, American history and architecture.

Los Angeles as War Zone

This comment from 'John' about West Adams in yesterday's Untold LA Slate article really stood out to me:

"The houses in West Adams are beautiful, but a few blocks in most directions and your in a war zone."

I think this mentality is one of the reasons so many people have no idea of the historical and cultural richness we have here. If it's South of Wilshire people seem to think we live in some sort of Walking Dead meets Waterworld hellscape. 

As I commented back in the article: I live in West Adams and a couple of blocks to the south of me is USC, to the north is Downtown, to the east is the LA Trade Tech College and a new tram stop and to the west is Midtown. There’s no war zone. 

This idea that LA is some sort of, I don’t know - gangland hell? seems to be a hangover from what? The Zoot Suit Riots? Watts? The Rodney King trial? Innumerable crime movies with 'LA' as their setting?

I don’t know - but look at the crime rate - it’s the lowest it’s ever been, by far: Wikipedia - Crime in Los Angeles.

The photo posted above is a definitely non-War Zone street in West Adams. Though maintaining those Palm Trees is probably a bitch.