Historic Preservation in Monrovia

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As the fourth oldest city in Los Angeles County, the City of Monrovia has a rich history filled with interesting people and places. Safeguarding our history is something that Monrovians take very seriously! This is evident in different ways from the impressive collection in the Heritage Room at the library to the annual Historic Homes Tour sponsored by the Monrovia Historic Preservation Group.

Throughout Monrovia there are numerous buildings that have historic value, some individually and others as part of a collection of buildings that help tell the story of Monrovia. The City of Monrovia’s Historic Preservation Program is focused on preserving our history through the preservation of those pieces of the built environment for future generations.

While not always highly valued, Monrovia has been able to retain a large proportion of its historic housing stock by plan as much as by circumstance. By the 1960s, older buildings in many communities were viewed as impediments to progress. Monrovia’s economic decline during this period probably helped to preserve numerous structures which under different circumstances may have been demolished. It was also during this period that a national movement to save and restore older structures began to gain traction. In 1966, the National Historic Preservation Act was signed into law, creating a federal mechanism to identify the country’s significant structures and places. Over the next 20 years, more and more communities began establishing their own “preservation societies”. In 1980, the Monrovia Old House Preservation Group (MOHPG) was formed and was instrumental in giving preservation a voice in the community.

In response to a strong desire to protect the City’s historic structures and to preserve Monrovia’s small town atmosphere, the City Council adopted the Historic Preservation Ordinance (Ord. 95-01) on March 21, 1995. Now in its third decade, the Historic Preservation program has been tremendously successful. As of mid-2017, there were over 140 designated landmarks and two historic districts: Wild Rose Tract and North Encinitas. In 2009, the Wild Rose Tract Historic District was recognized by the state with a 2009 Governor’s Preservation Award.