PERSISTENCE OF FORM: A MATERIAL ETHNOGRAPHY THROUGH THE ARCHITECTURE OF ANAHEIM’S 20TH CENTURY LANDSCAPE
Reed, Dean Joseph
Palus, Matthew M.
Samuels, Kathryn L.
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During the mid-20th century, Anaheim was one of many small unincorporated communities within southern California that would undergo a transition from a rural agricultural community into an industrial and commercial suburban sprawl. Previous works in cultural heritage resource management and local historical research within the City have been primarily centered around their local historic districts or larger commercial areas. However, the areas within proximity to these culturally defining areas have been largely undocumented. Those that have been documented have been studied under the regulatory lens of the National Historic Preservation Act or the California Environmental Quality Act. As a result, they are interpreted as just a product general growth of the City in the post-World War II era and determined ineligible for treatment or protection as historic resources. However, properties of this type are often examined as material culture that is independent of its surroundings. They have not been thoroughly examined for their data potential outside of the regulatory lens, nor has their connection to each other and the greater Anaheim landscape been considered fully. The analysis of architecture is useful in helping us understand production and use of space within the built environment. A further analysis, with the application of theory based in social production, space and place, and landscape may elaborate further on the broader social structures, allow a fuller understanding of the past, and help unpack the notion of material culture as a product. An approximately one-mile segment of East Lincoln Avenue, located near the center of Anaheim, exhibits a variety of the City’s vernacular architecture. In what ways did the City’s development allow these buildings to persist, and what processes were at play in their reconfiguration? Material culture, as a social product, requires a broader theoretical lens, a need to understand cultural resources as a part of a landscape, and a more in depth look into the individual. As the mid-20th century landscape emerges in the historical record, the importance of understanding the social factors that were at play are relevant to their preservation, especially as each phase of construction becomes overshadowed by the next, even to this day.