Black Legacies Of Venice Ignored: City Letting Historic Irvin Tabor Family Compound Be Destroyed

Venice community members met in front of the historic early home of the Irvin Tabor family to protest the destruction of this home through negligence by the city. This property, purchased in 1916, by Venice historic figure Irvin Tabor with the support of his friend and employer Abbot Kinney, founder of The Venice of America. Tabor developed it into an eight-bungalow compound to house his extended Louisianan family arriving to work on Kinney’s The Venice of America. “The family compound is an important part of Venice’s cultural heritage and should be preserved,” says Amanda Seward, a preservationist who worked to save Lincoln Place Apartments, designed by African American architect, Ralph Vaughn.

The community met in front of the property at 605-607 Westminster Avenue, in the heart of the Oakwood neighborhood, to bring attention to how the city is ignoring the role of the Africa-American community’s role in the early history of Venice. Jataun Valentine and other descendants of Irvin Tabor talked about the history of the residence and share reminiscences growing up in Venice.

Tabor, the chauffer and confidant of Abbot Kinney, founder of Venice, along with his cousin Arthur Reese, Kinney’s valet and designer, were one of the first African-Americans to be able to buy homes in Venice, up to then restricted by covenant.
Community groups and residents have long complained that the city fails to follow and enforce its own rules protecting historic structures as well as preserving community character amid growing development.

Community groups have also long complained that the city is ignoring the history of Venice in its rush to redevelop this area as a tech community and as the well-heeled flock here attracted by Venice’s trendy reputation. The result is that Venice is also suffering a great loss of older affordable housing which is less expensive to buy and more profitable to redevelop.

The community is demanding that the city strengthen its programs created to support older homes and communities and to enforce the rules that exist so that this and other historical properties will not be destroyed.