Open main menu

Alma Fairfax Carlisle (née Murray, born July 9, 1927) is an African American architect and architectural historian who worked in Los Angeles. Her work led to the preservation of many historic districts and sites in the city of Los Angeles.

Alma Fairfax Carlisle
Alma Fairfax Murray

(1927-07-09) July 9, 1927 (age 92)
Alexandria, Virginia
Alma materHoward University
Spouse(s)David Kay Carlisle
PracticeLos Angeles Bureau of Engineering


Carlisle was born and raised in Alexandria, Virginia.[1] In high school, she began to become interested in architecture and architectural history, and family members, including her father, who were involved in real estate nurtured her interests.[1] In 1950, Carlisle graduated cum laude from Howard University with an architecture degree.[2]

Carlisle married David Kay Carlisle on July 28, 1953 and they had three children together. During the 1950s and 1960s, Carlisle was a homemaker.[2] In 1975, she and her family moved to Los Angeles where Carlisle began working for the City of Los Angeles.[2]

While Carlisle was an architectural associate for the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering she helped investigate and provide evidence for preserving historic structures in Los Angeles.[3][4][5] Her historic resources surveys, conducted in 27 neighborhoods in the city led to the "designation of four Historic Preservation Overlay Zones and more than 50 Historic-Cultural Monuments.[6] Of the surveys, the ones in which she was most significantly involved with were Melrose Hill (1984) and Whitley Heights (1990).[2] In 1996, she retired from the city, but in 2001, she joined an architectural firm in Los Angeles, Myra L. Frank & Associates.[1]


  1. ^ a b c "Alma Carlisle". Dynamic National Archive. Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation. Archived from the original on 2016-03-16. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d Cartwright, Lillian Burwell (2004). "Alma Fairfax Murray Carlisle". In Wilson, Dreck Spurlock (ed.). African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary, 1865-1945. New York: Routledge. pp. 123–125. ISBN 0415929598.
  3. ^ "Local News in Brief: Reprieve for Old Adobe". Los Angeles Times. 28 July 1988. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  4. ^ Mitchell, John L. (10 May 1990). "150-Year-Old Adobes Given Protected Status". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  5. ^ "'20s Bridge Wins Historic Status". Los Angeles Times. 2 April 1987.
  6. ^ "Profile: Los Angeles' Cultural Heritage Commission" (PDF). Office of Historic Resources. Los Angeles City Planning Department. 1 (2): 3. April 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2015.

Further readingEdit

  • Wilson, Dreck S. African American Architects: A Biographical Dictionary, 1865-1945. New York: Routledge, 2004. (pgs 89-90)