A Passion for Preserving Beverly Hills' History

Whether she is spreading awareness through Facebook or as a representative of the Beverly Hills Historical Society, Kimberly Vinokur Reiss is helping people remember what Beverly Hills is really about.

Kimberly Vinokur Reiss wants to honor Beverly Hills' history. From starting the Facebook page Beverly Hills Historic Preservation to becoming the newest representative of the Beverly Hills Historical Society, she is striving to bring together like-minded preservationists to keep the storied legacy of Beverly Hills alive.

Patch caught up with Reiss to talk about what she's doing so that memories of Beverly Hills' past are not forgotten.

Beverly Hills Patch: What are some of your earliest memories of Beverly Hills?

Kimberly Vinokur Reiss: I lived on Crescent Drive near where is now, Elm Drive across the street from , and the 100 block of Canon Drive, right by the Warner Beverly Theatre. I used to ride my bike to Thrifty's to get ice cream. Trips to Pixietown, which was a clothing store for children on Beverly Drive. Eating at every Saturday morning with my father and all his friends. Smelling the bread at the Wonder Bread factory where the trains used to go by and pick up the shipments of bread in the middle of the night. This is the Beverly Hills I remember. Not what we see now.

Beverly Hills became part of me. And then I moved away from this area right before junior high. I didn't have the opportunity to go to . But my dad still lived here. 

Patch: What inspired you to create the Beverly Hills Historic Preservation page on Facebook?

Reiss: I started seeing photographs of things I hadn't seen in a long time. I started looking on Facebook and the Internet and there's nothing anywhere that is archiving the history of Beverly Hills. So I decided I'm going to make this page. It became a passion and people started liking the page.

A lot of the photos I use now come from Marc Wanamaker. He's a historian and also an archivist. 

Patch: How did you get involved with the Beverly Hills Historical Society?    

Reiss: The chairman of the board on the Historical Society, Ira Goldberg, saw something I posted on Patch. He says he joined Facebook specifically to join my page. That's how our relationship got started. 

Patch: As the new Community Outreach Director for the Beverly Hills Historical Society, what do you and the organization hope to accomplish? 

Reiss: Our initial goal is the introduction of social media and our long-term goal is to secure a place with the city to display all the memorabilia that we have. There's a roof finial from Pickfair. There's also the original tin sign for Quinlan Realty. Daniel Quinlan was the man that built the Beverly Theatre. There's so much more from Beverly Hills' history that remains hidden away.

We're working very hard right now to connect up various historical aspects of the city. We have the library, which houses the historical collection. There's Friends of Greystone. The . We now have for the historical society a YouTube channel. 

Patch: How can people get involved with preserving the history of Beverly Hills?

Reiss: People can contact me through my Facebook page with their contact information if they want to be involved. They can also ask to be a member of the Beverly Hills Historical Society group on Facebook. 

Patch: Outside of your role with the Beverly Hills Historical Society, do you have any personal goals when it comes to preserving Beverly Hills' history?

Reiss: I have a huge desire to try and save certain buildings. There's this apartment building at 9936 Durant. It was designed by Robert Derrah, a master architect in the 20s and 30s. It is a colonial revival style with a courtyard that's absolutely phenomenal. It was purchased and the new owners want to demolish it. I am very upset about it and so are many others.

My personal desire to save some of these buildings is distinctly separate from my role with the Historical Society. I'm hoping as a representative of the Historical Society to be able to raise consciousness about these issues.

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Cafe Pasadena May 30, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Sounds like the BHHS has a good woman - and the right kind of person - for this type of organization.
Donna Flade May 30, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I am happy to call Kimberly my friend! Her knowledge and enhtusiasm make her a perfect spokesperson! I cannot look at an old building without wondering about the history thanks to Kimberly!!!!
Tom Pease May 30, 2012 at 07:04 PM
I'm so glad that Kimberly is working to raise awareness of the great things we have lost in town and working to remind us of the great things we have left. If you haven't seen her pages on Facebook and YouTube (search BevHillsHistlSociety), you should. They're fascinating!
Kimberly Vinokur Reiss May 30, 2012 at 09:10 PM
So grateful to know you Tom :)
Kimberly Vinokur Reiss May 30, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Love you Donna <3 Thank you for your everlasting support!
Kimberly Vinokur Reiss May 30, 2012 at 09:11 PM
Thank you for your acknowledgement and continued interest and support!
George Vreeland Hill May 31, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Beverly Hills is a proud city with a proud past. The very name Beverly Hills is known throughout the world. There is a reason why there are tour buses here and people taking pictures and asking where this is or where that was. Unfortunately, "where that was" is a sad thing. Some of Beverly Hill's past is no longer here. We have often given way to progress and outside greed. Many historic buildings and homes have been lost over the years because of that. Beverly Hills has taken steps to preserve our past and thus, our very lives as we know it. Measures and laws are being put in place to protect our city and its past. More and more people have become concerned about our history. Kimberly is among those people who are stepping up and helping to preserve our great past. We must keep it alive for future generations to love.
George Vreeland Hill May 31, 2012 at 01:13 AM
By the way, I am working on a video about the history of Beverly Hills. It will be done in a few days.
John Mirisch May 31, 2012 at 05:15 AM
Just two words: Bravo, Kimberly!
Kimberly Vinokur Reiss May 31, 2012 at 05:27 AM
Beautifully and accurately said! Thank you George :)
Kimberly Vinokur Reiss May 31, 2012 at 05:28 AM
Thank you John :) Looking forward, together!
Marie Cunningham (Editor) May 31, 2012 at 07:52 AM
Don't forget to check out Kimberly's Facebook page Beverly Hills Historic Preservation (https://www.facebook.com/BeverlyHillsHistoricPreservation) and her blogs on Patch!
Kimberly Vinokur Reiss May 31, 2012 at 07:26 PM
Thanks Marie!!!
Evan Atkinson June 01, 2012 at 02:23 AM
Very neat photos, I love them!
elizabeth carr June 01, 2012 at 01:12 PM
Thank you, Kimberly, for your enthusiasm and dedication to preserving the architecture of a beautiful place and era. Keep it up! This is a real part of American artistic and cultural history! We are living in an increasingly harsh and shallow world, and BH is not immune from losing the heritage of quality that, ironically, it has come to symbolize. If BH keeps tearing down the old substantial things, it will no longer deserve its reputation as an icon of beauty and glamour. I am so glad to know you!
Ellen Lutwak June 01, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Every picture is a treat.


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