James H. Garrott

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James Homer Garrott (June 19, 1897 in Montgomery, Alabama – June 9, 1991) was an African-American architect active in the Los Angeles area in the mid-20th century. He designed more than 200 buildings, including twenty-five churches and several public buildings.[1] He has been described as a "pivotal black avant garde modernist of the 1940s era."[2]


Garrott graduated from Los Angeles Polytechnic High School in 1917. He earned his architect's license in 1928. He then studied Architecture at the University of Southern California from 1930 to 1934.[3] In 1946, Garrott was the second African-American admitted to the American Institute of Architects (AIA) in Los Angeles, after Paul R. Williams. His application was sponsored by Williams and Gregory Ain.

Garrott and Ain shared office space in the Granada Building beginning in 1939.[4] Then they worked together in a "loose partnership" in the 1940s and 50s, and together designed a small office building that they shared in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles. They were alternately “Garrott & Ain” or “Ain & Garrott,” depending on who was responsible for design, while on other projects they simply assisted each other’s solo work without credit.[5] After World War II, Garrott joined his friend Gregory Ain, a prize winning architect, who together designed and built their architectural office, at 2311 Hyperion Avenue, within walking distance from Garrott’s home.[6]

Garrott was “politically well connected” and received nine commissions from the Los Angeles County Government in the late 1950s.[1]

Modernist architect, James “Jimmy” Homer Garrott, in addition to designing the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company at 4261 Central Avenue was a close friend of the eminent civil rights attorney Loren Miller. In early 1940, Garrott designed both of their Silver Lake split-level homes at 647 and 653 Micheltorena Street.[7]


  • 1928: (with Louis Blodgett) Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Building, Los Angeles, California
  • 1929: (as Williams, Garrott & Young) St. Philip's Episcopal Church, Los Angeles, California
    • City of Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #987
  • 1936: Mount Zion Baptist Church, Los Angeles, California
  • [before 1939]: George A. Beavers, Jr. residence, Los Angeles, California
  • [before 1939]: Loren Miller residence, Los Angeles, California
  • 1949: (with Gregory Ain) Ain & Garrott Office, Silver Lake, Los Angeles, California[8]
  • 1950: Moss Construction Co., Kenter Canyon, California
  • 1950: (with Gregory Ain) Hamilton Methodist Church (unbuilt)
  • 1951: (with Gregory Ain) Ben Margolis House, Los Angeles, California
  • 1952: Friedman residence, Los Angeles, California[9]
  • 1953: M. Wesley Farr residence, El Segundo, California
  • 1955: Firestone Sheriff's Station, Lynwood, California
    • "considered the most modern law enforcement facility of its time."[10]
  • 1957: Lawndale Administrative Center, Lawndale, California
  • 1958-60: (with Gregory Ain) Westchester Municipal Building, Los Angeles, California[11]
    • David Gebhard described Garrott’s design as “an anonymous building.”[12]
  • 1958-60: (with Gregory Ain) Loyola Village Branch Library, Los Angeles, California[13]
  • 1959: (with Gregory Ain) Ralph Atkinson residence, Monterey County, California
  • 1960: Bodger County Park Director's Building, Hawthorne, California
  • 1960: Del Aire County Park Director's Building, Hawthorne, California
  • 1963: Victoria Park Pool and Bathhouse, Carson, California
  • 1970: Carson Public Library, Carson, California


  1. ^ a b Henderson, Wesley Howard (2004), "James Homer Garrott", in Wilson, Dreck Spurlock, African-American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary, 1865-1945, Taylor & Francis 
  2. ^ Mitchell, Melvin L. (2003), The Crisis of the African American Architect: Conflicting Cultures of Architecture and (Black) Power, iUniverse 
  3. ^ Negro Who's Who in California. 1948. 
  4. ^ McCoy, Esther (1984). The Second Generation. Gibbs Smith. ISBN 0-87905-119-1. 
  5. ^ Denzer, Anthony (2008). Gregory Ain: The Modern Home as Social Commentary. Rizzoli Publications. ISBN 0-8478-3062-4. 
  6. ^ D.S. Wilson (Ed.). African American architects: A biographical dictionary 1865-1945. Routledge Press. pp. 165–166. 
  7. ^ "Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder". Deed recorded 31 Oct. 1938, (Official Records Book 15943). 
  8. ^ link to image [permanent dead link]
  9. ^ James H. Garrott-Designed Home That's Too Cool for School (Except Ivanhoe) 
  10. ^ Lopez, Robert J. (December 26, 1993), "After 38 Years, a Farewell to Arms at Firestone Sheriff's Station", Los Angeles Times 
  11. ^ link to image 
  12. ^ Gebhard, David; Von Breton, Harriette; Weiss, Lauren (1980). The Architecture of Gregory Ain. Santa Barbara: University Art Museum. p. 21. 
  13. ^ link to image at Los Angeles Public Library