My Letter to Mayor John Duran Regarding the Imminent Demolition of Pickfair Studios

Dear Mayor Duran,

I’m writing to you about the proposed destruction of Pickfair Studios. I’m sure this isn’t the first e-mail that you’ve received on this topic, and it most likely won’t be the last either.
As you would be well aware by now, there is quite the uprising about the planned demolition. And rightly so. As an author and Hollywood historian, from my point of view, it is vital that these buildings not only stay, but are brought back to their former glory. Open them for tours. People WILL come. If the CIM Group need options for making these buildings viable, that’s one very good option.
The council should never have approved this needless demolition in the first place. Hollywood has a rich history, THIS is part of that history. A big part. So much of Hollywood’s past has already been lost to time. These buildings were the start of it all. They’ve survived. Please DON’T destroy them. Whatever permits are in place need to be halted pending further talks. You have the power to do it. This is not something that can be undone once the wrecking ball comes in an knocks it all down.
I urge you to do some further reading about the importance of these buildings, then and now, and the people who not only built them but walked those floors and worked within those walls so many years ago. And, most importantly listen to the people who desperately want these buildings to stay.
Progression is important, but this “out with the old and in with the new” mentality is not always best. If this demolition goes ahead, the signatures of the West Hollywood Council committee approving the destruction is solely responsible – period. Recognize the mistake and do an about face before it’s too late. You will be part of history and the hero to thousands if you do.
Don’t be responsible for future generations walking past the gate of “The Lot” and saying, “That’s where Pickfair Studios used to be”.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Respectfully,
Michelle Vogel

About Mayor Duran

If you’d also like to contact Mayor Duran, write to him here –  jduran@weho.org – Please remain respectful and courteous at all times. When (and if) he responds to my letter, I’ll post his reply.

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11 Comments

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11 responses to “My Letter to Mayor John Duran Regarding the Imminent Demolition of Pickfair Studios

  1. PGreen

    Excellent Michelle. I hope he sees sense before it’s too late.

    • Moderator

      Me too, Paul. He has the ability to make history himself if he overturns this ludicrous decision. It’s a wait and watch situation…

  2. Great Letter and I sincerely hope he does something and responds

  3. Ellen

    Great letter, Michelle. Calm, respectful, and well thought out. Let’s hope it gets some results!

    • Moderator

      Thanks, Ellen. I don’t have a response yet though…there was a council meeting this evening. Hopefully, there’s been some positive developments.

  4. PGreen

    This from the Pickfair facebook page Michelle. They’ve removed some of the windows from one of the buildings and placed a fence around it. Judging from this meeting the Pickfair people weren’t given much of a voice.

    “The WeHo council meeting was packed. The agenda handed out looked massive to me. Many items on the list however, Pickfair people were relegated to the public comments portion of the meeting. Many many “cards” to request time to speak had been handed in, one of which was mine. With only 20 mins allowed and everyone limited to 2 mins each my card was never drawn. Still, we were told more people would be allowed to speak at the end of the regular agenda. The council then adjourned for a 10 min break. Once the meeting resumed and after nearly two hours, council was still discussing the first item on the agenda. So, my opportunity to speak never came up as I needed to get home. So sorry I missed my opportunity.

    However, 3 Pickfair supporters did speak. Michael Donahue was one and he did a fabulous job telling the mayor and the council that he had filed an application to put The Lot on the National Historic Registry, that he had contacted the Canadian Prime Ministers office because Mary Pickford is a beloved citizen of Canada. He also told the council of his informing the EPA of potential soil contamination from the former film lab which was once located across the street from the lot. Brilliant stuff. Bravo to Michael.

    Well that’s sure we stand now. We haven’t given up yet. More news to come later. Nite everyone.”

  5. PGreen

    An update from facebook. The Pickford building may be the first to go – “I drove by on my way home from the City Council meeting and the windows are definitely gone. Some white utility-looking vans were headed out as I drove past. You can see right though the building. It’s terribly sad.”

  6. PGreen

    The Pickford Building has been demolished. The sad footage is on YouTube.

  7. Moderator

    Paul, that footage brought tears to my eyes. It’s horrible to watch. Gee, didn’t they speed things up to get this done ASAP. Money talks…it’s the only reason why these building are being destroyed! Let’s hope Pickford’s ghost raises holy hell in that new building!!!

  8. PGreen

    Yes it’s very sad Michelle. History destroyed. But I expected no less from the morons in charge today. Money rules in the USA. History is for books.

  9. Moderator

    The West Hollywood Council made history today! The very people who should be protecting its history are destroying it. Watching that building go down is jaw-droppingly sad.

    How many hours of research do we do to uncover nuggets of information for our books, Paul? We decipher the past and put it together to tell a story. Unfortunately, many of the people in our books are now gone, and now the places are too. Those buildings stood the test of time and they could have easily been restored and developed into a viable historical place for Hollywood tourism.

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