Judson Studios in Highland Park

Sep 02, 2010 by Lisa Newton

Even though Los Angeles is famous for being the movie business capital of the world; there’s much more to LA than just that.

Take Highland Park for example.

Located in a quiet residential area at 200 South Avenue 66, is a small family owned business that has specialized in making stained glass windows for over 100 years.

In 1890, at the request of his doctor, William Lees Judson, an acclaimed Manchester, England born artist, sought a mild climate in which to live. Initially heading to Florida, a friend of Judson’s, author George Wharton James, persuaded him to move to California.

Shortly after arriving in California, Judson started teaching art at the University of Southern California. Being totally dedicated to his love of art, he established the College of Fine Arts at USC–and remained its Dean until his retirement in 1920.

By 1901, the College of Fine Arts had already outgrown its small campus building, so Judson had the College moved to what he considered the “most artistic environment in Los Angeles,” Highland Park.

By 1895, Judson recognized the need for a stained glass studio for Los Angeles, so he invited his three sons, Walter H., Lionel, and Paul, to come to California.

With a rocky start, and one brother leaving the business, the W.H. Judson Art Glass Company was born, which by 1931, was finally incorporated as Judson Studios.

Upon the retirement of William Lees Judson and recognizing that the USC College of Fine Arts had outgrown its Highland Park home, the University move the College to its main campus. Subsequently, Judson Studios bought the Highland Park campus, which was still owned by their father, and moved there from their previous location which was close to Union Station.

In the early days of Judson Studio’s:

work was balanced between religious and secular, between recreating the Gothic effect and working for Frank Lloyd Wright in glass and tile on the Ennis and Barnsdall Houses. Source: Judson Studios

During its first century of operation, Judson Studios produced more than 10,000 stained-glass works.

In 1969, zoning regulations determined that the Judson Studios was a non-conforming use within a residential neighborhood. Fearing demolition, the Los Angeles Cultural Heritage Board, with the support of the Judson family, declared the building a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument–#62 on the list.

Judson Studios have been responsible for the creation of outstanding stained glass windows for countless churches, chapels and other structures throughout the United States and foreign countries. Judson Studios, one of the largest in the nation and probably the largest on the west coast, have remained in the family since the beginning, contributing greatly to the artistic and cultural development of Los Angeles. Source: Began near Plaza: Judson Studios honored on 75th anniversary"

To date, Judson Studios spans five generations and is still going strong. Creating religious, residential, commercial, and restoration, Judson Studios portfolio is both a business and cultural institution here in Los Angeles.

Stained art photos courtesy of Judson Studios, Judson Studios Facebook page, and Wikipedia

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Art, Culture, Northeast LA, SoCal
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