Press Releases

Carson Receives National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2023 Conserving Black Modernism Program Grant

Carson, CA - June 26, 2023 - The City of Carson has been selected as one of the recipients of the 2023 Conserving Black Modernism grants under the Action Fund Grant program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The scope of the $150,000 grant will mainly focus on producing a Historic Structure Report which will assess the condition of Carson City Hall and prepare a framework for the preservation of the building’s architectural elements, including guidance for future projects. The Report will provide the context of the development of Carson City Hall in the 1960’s and 1970’s Los Angeles and the works of civic modernism built during that time, the architectural style, and the cultural and social significance of the structure. It will also provide a detailed description of the building, highlighting its unique architectural features and materials, as well as the current condition of the structure, including any damage or deterioration.

A Request for Proposals for qualified firms to produce the report will be released by the City in July.

Carson City Hall is an excellent example of Late Modernism: the building features an open interior and simplified outside forms; three wings create a “Y” shape, and elements of the design seem nautical, with the sides of the building like ship’s windows with outriggers, and the City Council offices perched above the front plaza like a ship’s bridge. The interior grand staircase ascends toward a nautilus-shaped atrium, and nearly all the interior walls are polished teak, like the inside of a yacht.

The lead architect on the City Hall construction, Robert Kennard, was part of the second generation of African American architects, inspired by Paul R. Williams and A. Quincy Jones. Kennard was born in Los Angeles and founded his firm there in 1957. One of his residential projects, the Zeiger Residence, has been designated as a City of Los Angeles Cultural-Historic Monument. Mr. Kennard’s firm, Kennard Design Group, is the oldest African American architecture firm in Los Angeles. In the mid-1960s he shifted his practice to public work and by the end of his career, Kennard’s firm designed more than 700 projects in Southern California, including the Van Nuys State Office Building, Parking Structures 1, 3 and 4 at the Los Angeles International Airport, a new trauma center for LA County’s Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, the 77th Street police facility for the City of LA, and a new entrance to the Hollywood Bowl.

“We are thrilled to receive this grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation,” said Mayor Lula Davis-Holmes. “The celebration of the unique legacy and architectural significance of Carson City Hall and to place it within a tremendous social movement in LA County in the 1960’s and 1970’s is an opportunity for the City to celebrate excellence, and increase the awareness and appreciation of an important piece of our history.“

About the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund

Grants from the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund advance ongoing preservation activities for historic places such as homes, museums, and landscapes that represent African American cultural heritage. To date, the program has supported 242 historic African American places and invested more than $20 million to help preserve significant sites imbued with Black life, humanity, and cultural heritage.

With amounts ranging from $50,000 to $155,000, these Action Fund grants support preservation work in four primary areas: Capital Projects, Organizational Capacity Building, Project Planning, and Programming and Interpretation.

There were over 600 Letters of Interest to these programs this year. This year includes three grant programs: the largest of the programs, the National Grant Program, was awarded to 26 applicants, and the Historically Black College and University (HBCU) program made 6 awards. The Conserving Black Modernism Program, which is the program which made the award to Carson, is new, with 8 awards. Two of the eight were for Robert Kennard-designed buildings.

For more information about the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Action Fund Grant, visit their website at

City Hall Contact

701 E Carson Street
Carson, CA 90745
(310) 830-7600, 7 AM - 6 PM
Monday - Thursday
24-hour automated: (310) 952-1700


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