Project Reconstructs Lost L.A. Neighborhood Using Rare Library Materials

Regional History

In the 1950s and '60s, nearly the entire Los Angeles neighborhood of Bunker Hill was lost to redevelopment. Now, a cross-campus collaboration among several USC faculty and graduate students, including Suzanne Noruschat and Andy Rutkowski of the USC Libraries, is reconstructing our understanding of Bunker Hill's population and built environment using rare materials from the USC Libraries' Special Collections. The project, titled Bunker Hill Refrain, seeks to unlock data from a collection of 1939 WPA household census cards and make it freely available to the public.

The project team, which also includes planning historian Meredith Drake-Reitan and graduate students Jessica Rivas Acuña, Jaime Lopez, and Lindsay Mulcahy, needs help in transcribing data from the census cards. On Monday, December 7, they sponsor a virtual Block Party in which participants will transcribe, learn, and chat about Bunker Hill's past.

The USC School of Architecture recently featured the project in a story for its website.