Early life and education
Alma was born in Alexandria, Virginia in July 1927. Her father worked for the United States Post Office and her mother was an elementary school teacher. Alma had one sister who was 10 years older than her.
She was drawn to architecture and architectural history in high school. Her high school aptitude tests proved that her interests and potential ability would prove to be successful. Her interests were further nurtured by family members who owned real estate and had built their own homes, including her father who owned multiple rental properties in Washington, DC.
Alma graduated cum laude from Howard University in 1950 with a bachelors degree in architecture. She worked for various professors and for a commercial art studio where she designed brochures.
She met and married her husband David Kay Carlisle and they had three children, one boy and two girls. Alma was a housewife and raised the children in the 1950s and 1960s.
Career in Architecture
She returned to work in the 1960s when she was employed by the Office of Facilities at the Washington, DC public schools. She was a project manager whose duties were to coordinate the work of architects hired to design new schools and she planned and coordinated the renovations of some of the district’s schools. She specialized in historic preservation which has always been and continues to be her primary interest.
She relocated to Los Angeles in 1975. She began a career with the city of Los Angeles that lasted from 1975-1996.
From 1975 to 1981, Alma was in the Department of Public Works as an architectural assistant in the architectural division. She prepared contract documents, drawings and specifications for improvements to buildings owned by the City of Los Angeles and monitored federally funded construction projects for compliance with construction schedules and disbursements.
From 1981 to 1994, Alma was an architectural associate in the environmental management division of the City of Los Angeles. She surveyed 27 neighborhoods which resulted in the designation of 4 historic preservation overlay zones. She also surveyed more than 50 City of Los Angeles historic and cultural monuments. She wrote and reviewed California environmental quality act documents
In 1994 Alma returned to the Department of Public Works as an architectural associate in the architectural division remaining there until 1996. She prepared architectural design specifications and contract documents for the adaptive reuse of municipally owned historic buildings such as the former Eagle Rock Branch Library
Alma joined the firm of Myra L Frank and Associates in Los Angeles as a senior architectural historian. She is a credentialed and certified architectural historian who researches and documents the architectural and cultural history of buildings and gathers biographical information on owners and architects. Her work also includes environmental review and research.
She currently lives in Los Angeles and is pursuing her interests in gardening travel and American history.
Major Buildings and Projects
- Eagle Rock Branch Library
Press and Awards
- Member and past president of the Los Angeles City Historical Society
- Member of the West Adams Heritage associations
- Member of Tau Beta Phi, the national engineering honor society