Architecture Issue 2019

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ARCHITECTURE

Photo: Taka Kaguma.

ISSUE

MAY 2019

LBHOMELIVING.COM


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content P. 06

LONG BEACH ARCHITECTURE WEEK SCHEDULE

P. 10

BUILDING A BALANCED LONG BEACH

P. 15

KELLY SUTHERLIN MCLEOD: ADVOCATE FOR COMMUNITY AND PRESERVATION

P. 18

THE ARCHITECTURAL VISION OF MINER SMITH

P. 24

TAKE A TRIP BACK IN TIME

P. 27

DOWNTOWN LONG BEACH’S GRADUAL PAIN & RAPID CHANGE

P. 30

LONG BEACH, DECO, DESTINY & DISTINCTION

P. 32

AN OBSCURE BUILDING REMAINS FROM ROOSEVELT NAVAL BASE ON THE BOUNDARY OF LONG BEACH

IN THIS ISSUE Guest Editor

Dr. Brian Trimble

Guest Writers Dr. Brian Trimble Sarah Locke Dr. Norbert Schürer Rachel-Jean Firchau Jacob Sigala Brian Ulaszewski John Thomas Katie Rispoli Keaotamai

Staff Photographers: Elizabeth Martinez Taka Kaguma

CREATIVE Sal Flores-Trimble Dan O’Brien Taka Kaguma Elizabeth Martinez Jimmy Lanigan.

KAHLO Creative is an innovative and full service multi-media / marketing company that serves hyper-local markets. Proud Creators of Long Beach Home + Living. A Complete Multi-Media Marketing Platform Print. Digital. Social. Video. Events. 562-366-3111 | kahlocreative.com

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May 31, 2019 Dear Friends, It’s my distinct pleasure and honor to welcome you to Architecture Week 2019 here in the great City of Long Beach. Presented by Long Beach Home + Living , Architecture Week is a unique series of neighborhood tours, educational opportunities and other events celebrating architecture and promoting preservation, sustainable development, and new architectural works. I’m proud that Long Beach is the perfect place for such an experience, with historic neighborhoods boasting fine examples of classic American design in art deco, craftsman, mediterranean, and contemporary styles, as well as numerous new developments in a variety of modern styles throughout the downtown area and elsewhere in the city. Our creative community is thriving here, and making a huge impact on the look and feel of Long Beach. This is a fantastic time to visit Long Beach and to learn more about our iconic buildings and development trends. While you are in Long Beach, I hope you’ll take some time to enjoy our beaches, shopping, restaurants, and nightlife, as well as taking in the architectural sights. I want to thank our local history and art deco expert, John Thomas, for his participation, as well Studio 111, Long Beach Heritage, the American Institute of Architects Long Beach/South Bay Chapter, the Long Beach Museum of Art and THUMS Islands for their contributions. Go Long Beach!

Mayor Robert Garcia

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FROM OUR GUEST EDITOR Welcome to Long Beach Home + Living’s special issue for Long Beach Architecture Week, a series of tours, events and educational opportunities that celebrate architecture and explore preservation, sustainability, and new developments. For Architecture Week, participants can expect both experiential events and learning opportunities geared toward a broad community of both architecture and City of Long Beach enthusiasts. This issue is dedicated to exploring the incredible history, diversity, and future of the build environment in our city, and providing readers with an overview of Long Beach Architecture Week activities.

Dr. Brian Trimble is Assistant Professor of Art Education at California State University Long Beach. He spent several years at the University Art Museum (UAM) as Associate Director, Interim Director and as Curator of Education. Brian cocurated the UAM exhibition Far-Sited (2015) which celebrated the 50 th anniversary of the California International Sculpture Symposium, held at CSULB in 1965. The exhibition coincided with an ongoing preservation initiative to conserve the public works of art on campus and host a nationally recognized conference on public Art Far-Sited: Creating and Conserving Art in Public Places in partnership with the Getty Conservation Institute and the Museum of Latin American Art. Brian also co-edited a book on the history of the historic symposium. He Developed the highly successful Modern Home Tour for the University Art Museum and Organized the exhibition Frank Bros.: The Store that Modernized Modern with Curators Cara Mullio and Jennifer Volland in 2017. He currently serves as Vice-President of the Arts Council for Long Beach.

I have lived in our city for over 30 years and I am proud to call Long Beach home. I am also thrilled to serve as the guest editor for this special architecture issue of Long Beach Home + Living. I have certainly seen changes in our city over those 30 years and I have become acquainted with organizations and individuals who have tirelessly given their time and energy into caring for and preserving our shared cultural assets, as well as planning for the future of our city. Organizations, such as Long Beach Heritage, Long Beach Navy Memorial Heritage Association, and Long Beach Historical Society, work tirelessly to preserve our history. Our museums, Ranchos, and other cultural institutions work to share that creative and cultural history as well. Nevertheless, cities are living entities that grow and change. Long Beach is no exception. We are currently experiencing one of the greatest building booms in our history, and many of us are excited about the possibilities, but as responsible citizens, we have questions. How will expansion change our cityscape? How will it affect our neighborhoods, our people and our environment? These are all questions that we should be asking. We care about what happens here, which is part of what makes Long Beach such an extraordinary city. The sense of place in our community is unparalleled—we love our city. There is a uniqueness and authenticity to who we are as a community. Through this special issue of Long Beach Home + Living and the first annual Long Beach Architecture Week series of tours and events, we hope to highlight some of those unique attributes, ask important questions, and give you a little more knowledge about your city.

Dr. Brian Trimble LBHomeLiving.com

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LONG BEACH ARCHITECTURE W 5/31

ROARING METROPOLIS

Official Long Beach Architecture Week Opening Party. A night full of fun, glitz and glamour in a beautifully restored Art Deco building. Featuring live Swing band Sylvia Rodriguez & Rhythm Boys and retro performers The Satin Dollz.

ELIZABETH MARTINEZ

6/01

Intimate walking tour of Miner Smith homes clustered within a twelve-squareblock area in the Belmont Heights neighborhood of Long Beach

6/02

LB HERITAGE’s GREAT HOMES TOUR

Featuring one-of-a-kind houses designed and built by some of the most renowned names in the city’s architectural history.

6/03 ELIZABETH MARTINEZ

MINER SMITH HOMES TOUR

HARD HAT TOUR - NEW CIVIC CENTER & MAIN LIBRARY

Tour the highly-anticipated Long Beach Civic Center (LBCC) campus, The Civic Center campus is divided among three structures: a new City Hall, a Port of Long Beach new headquarters, and new Main Library.

6/03

DESIGNING FOR CULTURE: LBMA, FREDERICK FISHER & PARTNERS.

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JULIUS SHULMAN & JUERGEN NOGAI

ELIZABETH MARTINEZ

Joseph Coriaty, FAIA will join for a discussion on the planning of the Long Beach Museum of Art in the context of some of FF&P’s seminal projects. Talks about the problems and the innovative solutions during the design phase of the Hartman Pavilion.

6/04

CSULB CAMPUS ARCHITECTURE & SCULPTURE TOUR

This tour will provide an overview of the earliest buildings by Hugh Gibbs, Edward Killingsworth’s role as master plan architect for more than forty years, and explore the landscape designed by Edward Lovell with integrated art from the International Sculpture Symposium of 1965.

6/04

CONSERVATION-BASED RESTORATION OF A MODERN MASTERWORK

Join Kelly Sutherlin McLeod, FAIA at the offices of Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture, Inc. and former offices of Edward A. Killingworth, FAIA for an intimate and insightful talk on the Killingsworth Office Building, designed in 1955 during the early and informative years of Killingsworth’s long and illustrious career.


6/05 + 06/06

T.H.U.M.S. ISLANDS BOAT TOUR

The tour will include an extensive discussion on the history and development of the islands designed by noted landscape architect, Joseph Linesch and includes shuttle and boat transportation.

URBAN GROWTH & BUILDING FOR PEOPLE

Panel of distinguished guests will address some of the pressing questions that arise when discussing the future of the built environment in a large urban city, such as Long Beach.

6/06

A NEW DEAL FOR LB ARCHITECTURE ART DECO, STREAMLINE MODERNE, & THE INFLUENCE OF MODERN DESIGN

6/07

ART DECO DOUBLE DECKER BUS TOUR

ELIZABETH MARTINEZ

6/05

ELIZABETH MARTINEZ

E WEEK SCHEDULE

FOR MORE INFO VISIT: LBArchitectureWeek.com

Discover Art Deco Long Beach! Downtown Long Beach is rich with many buildings of the Art Deco and Streamline Moderne style from the 1920s and 1930s.

6/08

HISTORIC DOWNTOWN TOUR

Highlighting the iconic historic buildings that shape the downtown cityscape, this tour promises to provide visitors with unprecedented access to some of the most important and loved structures in our city.

PACIFIC VISIONS | AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC

Its façade comprises over 800 individually shaped blue glass panels that respond to changing light and weather conditions throughout the day with varying colors that imitate the effect of sunlight rippling on the ocean’s surface.

6/08

TOM BONNER.

6/08

CHARLES PHOENIX “LONG BEACHLAND” & CLOSING PARTY

Be prepared for your local pride to SWELL when Ambassador of Americana, Charles Phoenix, sweeps us away on a then and now time travel slide show adventure exploring Long Beach’s landmarks and lore. LBHomeLiving.com

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On behalf of the Long Beach Architecture Week team, we sincerely thank you for the sponsorship you provided for our inaugural event. Thanks to your generous sponsorship and collaborations, we were able to put together a week-long event that included a series of tours, parties and educational opportunities that celebrate architecture, promote preservation, sustainability, and new ideas in our city. This event could not be possible without the generous support you have provided us throughout. We deeply appreciate the willingness with which you have and continue to sponsor our efforts to highlight Long Beach as the great place that it is. We sincerely hope that this association will be maintained and that you will continue to support us in our future endeavors.

LONG BEACH/SOUTH BAY

LBArchitectureWeek.com | #lbarchweek 8

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JACK & BARBARA IRVIN

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odel

ower M arina T M d n a Towers ke Galaxy by Sarah Loc to Pho

SARAH LOCKE Executive Director Long Beach Heritage

scarred our cities. Not only did we lose significant buildings, but entire communities of people, primarily people of color, were displaced from their homes. Long Beach did not emerge unscathed and the historic districts of Bluff Park and Willmore City would have been lost had historic preservation advocates not stepped in. Long

Long Beach Heritage is a proud partner of the first annual Long Beach Architecture Week not only to celebrate our past, but to inspire possibilities for our city’s future. A powerful toolbox of historic preservation incentives has revitalized dozens of older buildings throughout our city and the benefits are apparent in our vibrant business corridors and charming neighborhoods. Compatible new development is necessary, but continuity of character is essential for authentic experiences. Architecture Week is the perfect opportunity to explore both old and new for a better understanding of the balance necessary to achieve a sustainable 21st century city. The impossibility of predicting the future has never tamed our desire to dream of what can be built to achieve healthier, more productive societies. There are times during this quest when the damage can be brutal. We learned that the urban renewal strategies of the mid-20th century, which demolished entire neighborhoods to make way for new development, deeply

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Beach Heritage was founded out of this effort. Nearly 40 years, later our member-supported nonprofit organization continues to help connect our past with the present to make informed decisions about our future. We have worked with lawmakers and united community leaders to develop historic preservation incentives and connect people with places to be revitalized. While it might be easier to wipe the slate clean and start over, a complex mix of old and new ultimately results in healthier cities and Long Beach Heritage has played an integral role in keeping older buildings in active use. Our 18th historic district was just added and we have more than one hundred local landmarks that contribute to our city’s economic vitality and unique character. The most vibrant parts of our city are those with building diversity—a mix of older and smaller buildings integrated with compatible, new development. Pause to think about some of your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, and retail. I bet many that come to mind are in older buildings. Maybe not a landmark, but an older build-


BUILDING A BALANCED LONG BEACH ing that has stood the test of time and has provided an affordable option for a new business to bloom. Rose Park Roasters is a great example, whose first location is in an older building in the Rose Park Historic District. Their success resulted in a second location in the recently rehabilitated Professional Building, a local landmark that is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

billion in private investment nationwide. Income-pro-

Areas that include older buildings attract and retain

ducing residential and commercial buildings that are

more new businesses and skilled workers than neigh-

individually landmarked or part of a historic district can

borhoods without building diversity and the majority of

benefit. It boosts the potential for buildings, such as the

our women and minority-owned businesses are in these

Breakers Hotel to be reimagined as an exciting new proj-

neighborhoods. Insert compatible new buildings within

ect. Long Beach’s Adaptive Reuse Ordinance has been

these areas and the result is a variety of housing and

another boon for the revitalization of older properties.

commercial spaces that provide options for everyone.

There are countless examples of unique spaces inspired

Most of our buildings were constructed between 1920

by this ordinance, including Long Beach Rising climbing

and 1967, which makes many eligible for historic preser-

gym in the former Packard Showroom. It has also provid-

vation incentives that produce economic, social, and

ed an infusion of housing, such as Temple Lofts and the

environmental benefits. The Mills Act Program has assist-

senior community of Immanuel Place. Not only do each

ed dozens of historic property owners who receive a tax

of these projects inject character into their respective

reduction by signing a contract to direct those savings

neighborhoods, but each time we choose adaptive re-

into building improvements. The future is more secure

use over demolition we demonstrate our commitment

for one of the most notable buildings of our skyline, the

to sustainability. We must stop sending useful buildings

Villa Riviera, because of its enrollment in the program

to the landfill.

and the commitment to historic preservation it ensures.

Any property built before 1970 meets the age criteria

These benefits reach far beyond our most iconic build-

for landmark consideration and the field widens every

ings to smaller buildings, too. The positive impact of this

year with new possibilities for adaptive reuse and re-

program has been felt since its inception in 1972 and

habilitation of buildings from our more recent past. This

valuation limits were changed this year to make the

has been tricky territory for preservation advocates who

program even more successful. At the federal level, the

saved places like Bluff Park Historic District. The dream

Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program has resulted

to transform the bluff into high-rise apartment living re-

in more than 2.5 million local jobs and leveraged $144.6

sulted in the completion of only one Modern addition, LBHomeLiving.com

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the Galaxy Tower, in 1966 by local architects Gibbs & Gibbs. The building is now unquestionably significant, as are many of the firm’s buildings across the city. In the shadow of Galaxy Towers sits the Marina Tower Model that was a model home for another high-rise planned for the shoreline. Long Beach-based architect Edward Killingsworth, famous for his contributions to the Case Study House Program, was behind the abandoned project. Killingsworth was among the most celebrated modern architects of his era and our built landscape is dotted with homes and office buildings he designed. The Long Beach Boulevard corridor in Bixby Knolls has a high concentration of his work, including the architect’s former office. It is being restored by its current owner, Kelly Sutherlin McLeod FAIA, and at least a half dozen other Killingsworth buildings are occupied by those who appreciate the significance of their properties.

Rose Park Roasters Downtown Courtesy of KTGI Architects

Not as lucky as their Killingsworth counterparts, the former Hof’s Hut (demolished) and Combs Office Building icance. After all, we live our lives in these buildings and create memories that shape our identity, but they can also provide a tangible connection to powerful figures and events from our past that inspire change for our future. A modest bungalow on Lemon Avenue owned by civil rights leader Ernest McBride is a local landmark for this reason and adding more places of cultural significance needs to be a focus of preservation efforts. Long Beach has such an important story to tell, including historic places associated with the LGBTQ community and people of color, and it is not enough to capture those stories as words on paper. Not only would the addition of more inclusive landmarks reflect our diversity, but these places would also be eligible for incentives that historic preservation has to offer. It could make a Petroleum Club Photo by Katie Keaotamai

difference for a legacy business trying to thrive in the face of increasing rent or prevent the displacement of a population that feels the pressure of the current development boom.

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(drastically altered) were neighbors on the northern

Long Beach is a community that values diversity and

end of this stretch of Bixby Knolls. Currently at risk for

creates opportunities for people to come together and

the same fate is the Petroleum Club, a distinctive Mod-

make good things happen. Consider Long Beach Her-

ern building by local architect J. Richard Shelley. While

itage your partner in utilizing historic preservation ben-

the many losses of Modernism are felt deeply among

efits that can ignite positive change in your communi-

architecture enthusiasts, there is also an undeniable

ty. Decades of growth and change have shaped our

void left in the communities these places served. Both

distinctive character and together we will build upon

the Petroleum Club, which closed on March 31st of this

our story. Connect with us during Architecture Week to

year, and the Hof’s Hut had been popular social gath-

learn more about the work we do and join us for the

ering spots for more than half a century. Cultural signif-

18th Annual Great Homes Tour or other exciting events

icance carries as much weight as architectural signif-

during this celebration of Long Beach.

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Kelly Sutherlin McLeod in front of KSLW Office Building 1955 by Edward Killingsworth/Kelly Sutherlin McLeod Architecture, Inc. Office. Photo by Julius Shulman 14

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KELLY SUTHERLIN MCLEOD: ADVOCATE FOR COMMUNITY AND PRESERVATION BRIAN TRIMBLE Kelly Sutherlin McLeod, FAIA, is the founder and principal architect at KSMA Architecture, Inc. (KSMA). Her firm provides full architectural services from concept design through construction and oversight. KSMA is located here in Long Beach, in Edward A. Killingsworth’s original architectural offices, a building that was recognized by the National AIA with the Award of Merit in 1956. As a long-term Long Beach resident, Kelly has served on a number of city commissions and is committed to serving our community. An adamant supporter of arts and education, Kelly continuously gives her time and expertise, especially here in Long Beach. In fact, I know Kelly through her participation and support of arts programming at California State University, Long Beach. I’ve worked with Kelly on several events and programs where I have asked her to give talks, help support educational programming and open her offices for visitors, as she is doing for Long Beach Architecture Week. She loves our city and continuously gives back in so many different ways. In some sense, her commitment to community and her work in architecture are related, as much of her professional accomplishments are in the field of historic preservation and the protection of our community’s cultural assets. Her list of accomplishments is extraordinary and her nationally recognized work has had an enormous impact on the architecture field. Kelly was the first female recipient of the prestigious Gamble House Scholar-In-Residence Program when she was an architecture student at the University of Southern California. She was also the first female recipient of the University of Southern California School of Architecture Distinguished Alumni Award in 2015, one of the most prestigious architectural honors in the United States. Her work and advocacy in heritage conservation and historic preservation has helped integrate the art and science of conservation

of place, culture and tradition into mainstream architecture and planning. Kelly has helped set new national standards for best practices in architectural preservation. Most notably, Kelly is recognized for her award-winning preservation work on Charles and Henry Greene’s iconic Gamble House in Pasadena. The Gamble House is considered to be one of the most important works of domestic architecture in the country, right up there with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater. She has become the expert in the preservation of the two brothers’ distinctive Arts & Crafts-period homes. Not long ago, I was watching an episode of the PBS series Craft in America that was focused on the work of Greene and Greene, and there on my screen appeared Kelly, talking about the Gamble House. Other notable Greene and Greene properties her firm has worked on include the Robert Pitcairn Jr. House and the Caroline de Forest House, as well as the Jennie Reeve and Adelaide Tichenor homes, respectively, with the last two located right here in Long Beach. Kelly’s firm also oversaw the preservation of the Japanese house at the Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens. The Greene brothers looked to the architecture of Japan to inspire their own wooden structures, and Kelly has had a long-standing interest in the art and architecture of Japan. She was a natural choice to oversee the project. In 2013, her work for the Huntington received six major preservation awards. Kelly’s preservation work isn’t limited to premodern wooden structures. She has a keen interest in building materials from different periods, including premodern and postwar construction materials. On a recent visit to her offices, I asked about a large set of meticulously organized and labeled terra-cotta roof tiles that were laid out on a table. Kelly explained that she and her staff had been analyzing the different roof tiles for a current project. I am an avowed arLBHomeLiving.com

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chitectural-preservation lover and I had a little architecture geek-out moment when she explained what they were doing. I’ve actually had several of those moments talking to Kelly over the years. Her dedication to “getting the details right” extends to all projects, including the conservation-based restoration of her offices, originally designed and occupied by the celebrated Long Beach architect Edward A. Killingsworth, FAIA. This project is a true labor of love, as Kelly was a longtime colleague, friend, and protégé of Killingsworth. Kelly and her team completed phase one of the restoration master plan in 2012. If you have driven by the property lately, you can see that Kelly and her team are currently implementing phase two of the preservation plan for the building and landscape. This didn’t happen over night, as Kelly has been planning this for a long time. Three years ago, when I was working with a fantastic community committee to organize the first Long Beach Modern Home Tour for the University Art Museum, Kelly took me on a tour of her offices and talked about her plans. She is honored to be the steward of this landmark structure. We talked specifically about the large sliding glass doors, which are one of the signature elements in many Killingsworth buildings, and the difficulty she was having finding a craftsperson who had the knowledge and skill to do the necessary repair and restoration of the original sliders, with their expansive panes of glass and slender steel frames. Three years later, that work is finally being completed. Kelly utilized these skills when she completed the preservation work on Richard Neutra’s 1953 Hafley house in Park Es-

tates, one of only a few Neutra houses in Long Beach. Luckily, she had access to Neutra’s original plans and original correspondence between the client and the architect. Like the Greenes, Neutra was an architect that Kelly can identify with, as he paid meticulous attention to details in his plans, providing Kelly with a fairly clear roadmap for restoration. This project was another lesson in materials, as the home had originally used Formica in the kitchen and bathrooms, fiberboard and Masonite. Who would have considered the preservation of Formica and Masonite? Kelly did. There were also missing light fixtures that Kelly could not source for a reasonable cost, so she had them fabricated to match the original lighting design. The results are beautiful and subtle. This project garnered no less than six preservation awards, including Modernism in America awards from Docomomo US, an American Architectural Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design, and The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. While Kelly’s work takes her to many places around the country, she still calls Long Beach home and she is deeply rooted in this community. She continues involvement in civic projects and organizations around the city and you can see her work in several preservation projects. As a full-service architecture firm, her practice designs new construction and adaptive reuse projects. The KSMA team’s strong reputation is based on providing clients with creative and innovative design solutions. Luckily for Long Beach, our community gets to be the beneficiaries of Kelly’s commitment to community and preservation.

Hafley House, 1953 by Richard Neutra, Photo by John Ellis

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Design and Architecture

kcrw.com/dna

Host Frances Anderton looks at design and architecture from a Los Angeles perspective Tuesdays at 1:30pm on 89.9FM or where ever you get your podcasts LBHomeLiving.com

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THE ARCHITECTURAL VISION OF MINER SMITH DR. NORBERT SCHÜRER

Even a casual observer can usually identify some of the main architectural styles popular in Long Beach, including Victorian, Colonial, Craftsman (a.k.a. Arts and Crafts, California Bungalow), Mission or Spanish Revival, Italian Renaissance, Tudor, Art Deco, Ranch, and Mid-Century Modern. In contrast, it is much more difficult to identify individual architects. As a matter of fact, the only Long Beach architect most locals could probably name is Mid-Century Modern designer Edward Killingsworth. However, there is one more builder whose houses are immediately recognizable, at least for residents of Belmont Heights: Miner Robert Smith. Miner Smith homes are unmistakable for their imitation tree-trunk planters, which are either set in ogee arches in porches or separately against the exterior walls. In a combination of Victorian and Arts and Crafts elements, Smith embodied in his buildings his unique vision of the connection between architecture and nature, practical living, and modern luxury. For that reason, his architecture should be much better known.

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Stonecutter Miner Smith was hardly the kind of individual you would expect to produce distinctive architecture. He was born in Uhrichsville, Ohio in 1877 to Richard Louis Smith and his wife Sarah, née Cushing. During Miner’s childhood and youth, the working-class family moved to Tennessee and then to Philadelphia. Richard Louis was a stonecutter, and Miner followed him into that profession. A stonecutter was perhaps the lowliest of the jobs associated with the building trade: the stonecutter received rough lumps of stone from the quarry and shaped them into smooth blocks for construction. A stonecutter, then, would hardly be expected to have a unique vision of architecture. Miner Smith probably received no education beyond an apprenticeship as a stonecutter, maybe with his father. He worked in Philadelphia, Newark, Schenectady, and New York, and according to family lore, he was responsible for some of the stonework on the Low Memo-


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Photo by Elizabeth Martinez


rial Library at Columbia University. In 1896, he married

pression. For several years after that, the family’s move-

Elizabeth W. Brown, a first-generation immigrant from

ments are hard to trace, and it remains unclear how or

Scotland (some of her siblings were still born in Europe);

whether Miner participated in World War I.

the couple eventually had five children.

Long Beach However, he resurfaced in 1918 in Long Beach, where he went on to realize his idiosyncratic architectural vision when he built entire houses. Since he lacked formal education, he could never become a registered architect, but as a builder and contractor mostly building on spec (i.e. not for clients) he was able to shape these houses in any way he saw fit. In other words, the unique homes you might recognize in Belmont Heights today were the creations of a fertile, creative, and self-taught mind. Long Beach in the 1910s and 1920s was a growing town, first because of the building boom associated with World War I and then because of the local oil boom. As a sign of their new importance, many citizens of Long Beach built large Victorian houses in the Wilmore City

Miner & Elizabeth Smith,

Courrtesy of Historical Society of Long Beach

Los Angeles

and downtown areas. On the other hand, Long Beach was a kind of vacation community for wealthy Angeleños: there was a street car that went directly from downtown Los Angeles to downtown Long Beach, so

In 1904, Miner and Elizabeth decided that they no longer wanted to deal with East Coast winters and moved

many Los Angeles residents came down for the week-

to Los Angeles. There, Miner’s vision began to take

with little need for ornamentation or ostentation and

shape as the stonecutter transformed into a designer

little storage space.

end. This promoted a simple Craftsman architecture

with his M.R. Smith Stone and Mantel Company. It is unclear when exactly this company was founded, but it was incorporated in 1909. As advertisements for Smith’s products at this time show, he was already developing his characteristic nature-inspired look for fireplaces and porches, but he was not yet building entire houses. For a few years, the M.R. Smith Stone and Mantel Company was quite successful, and Smith probably contributed dozens if not hundreds of fireplaces and porches to homes in the Los Angeles area. Unfortunately, it is virtually impossible to track down these specific design elements, and of course many houses have disappeared over the course of the past century, so we will probably never know how many there were.

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“Bungalow Mansions” In a way, Miner Smith took these two impulses and fused them into one: he advertised the houses he built in Long Beach as “bungalow mansions.” He went along with the contemporary Craftsman style of “California bungalows,” but he also turned them into what, at the time, were considered luxurious “mansions.” He numbered his “bungalow mansions,” and his last advertisement promoted “Bungalow Mansion #21,” so he built quite a few of them between about 1920 and 1925.

Luxury

Sadly, tragedy struck the Smith family in the early 1910s

The luxury showed in several aspects of these build-

in several forms. First, as court documents and newspa-

ings, which were all single-family residences. Many Min-

per articles show, his company went bankrupt in 1910.

er Smith homes are notable for their high ceilings and

Then, in December 1911, Miner and Elizabeth’s oldest

high roofs with fake second-story windows, features

son tragically died in a street car accident on Pico

that seem to have no structural significance, but make

Street in Los Angeles, leaving the parents in a deep de-

a statement in the neighborhood. A few houses have

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real second stories, and several of these have luxurious features such as rooms painted all around with classical or pastoral scenes or large ‘ballrooms.’ Apparently, one of these “ballrooms” was used during World War II for officers’ parties. In addition, the quality of the workmanship was excellent: the homes Smith built easily survived the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, and most of them still stand 100 years later. In a Victorian rather than a Craftsman feature, the crown molding in many of Smith’s living and dining rooms was highly ornamental, with floral, agricultural, or military motifs. He advertised the use of electricity in his houses, which was a new and exciting feature in Long Beach. Most front doors have beveled glass, and the carving in some doors can be interpreted as an M for the builder’s first name.

Practicality In addition to luxury, Miner Smith’s vision included atten-

Practical items extended beyond built-ins as well. In several houses, Smith included a small safe where residents could secure their valuables. In others, he incorporated a pass-through at chest level so that items could be passed from the kitchen and hallway into a bedroom. One house contains a switch in the upstairs master bedroom that turns off all the lights in the house, which even today causes electricians to marvel. More generally, Miner Smith designed his homes as true living spaces with an excellent work flow. For instance, public and private spaces (living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms) are separated from each other, and the seemingly unnecessary hallway between the two actually allows for movement without those two domains impinging on each other. The high ceilings and roofs allow for air flow, which combined with the vicinity to the ocean keeps the houses fairly cool. Until recent climate change, most of these houses did not even need air conditioning.

tion to practicality. Typically for Craftsman houses, he

Architecture and Nature

offered many built-in features such as hutches in living

But perhaps most interestingly, you can still recognize

rooms and ironing boards in kitchens. He was not content with these simple amenities, however, but took them up a notch: the ironing boards might include sleeve ironing boards, and there might be built-in ladders in hallways to get to the attic. One particularly adorable feature in several houses was the built-in shoe-shine stand at the back door, where you could clean your footwear before leaving or entering the house.

Miner Smith’s vision today by his integration of architecture and nature. In the traditional scholarly narrative, California architecture experienced a gradual opening of previously closed spaces. In the Victorian home of the late nineteenth century, rooms were closed and dark, each room with its own door and small windows. In Craftsman architecture of the 1910s and 1920s, at

Photo by Tim Krueger LBHomeLiving.com

21


Long Planter

Photo by Norbert Schürer

Door Detail

Photo by Norbert Schürer

Architectural Vision least the living and dining rooms were opened into one,

At the same time, the combination of practicality, luxu-

and the low construction implied a connection to nature.

ry, and artistic vision was ultimately Miner Smith’s down-

Finally, in the Ranch style developing from the 1930s, the

fall, at least in financial terms. He tried to sell his last

buildings themselves became smaller, but had large slid-

three “bungalow mansions” in Long Beach from 1924

ing glass windows that opened into private outside spac-

for $50,000, which at the time was an astronomical sum.

es in what became known as indoor-outdoor living.

Since he mostly built on spec (i.e. had to front the investment for these luxurious homes), he went bankrupt

The journey described in this narrative is certainly true in

when they did not sell. He built a few smaller houses and

general, but Miner Smith offered a unique detour. In his

tried a development in the Long Beach neighborhood

Long Beach architecture—informed by his experience as

of Naples in a completely different Spanish Mission style,

a stonecutter on the East Coast and his experiments with

but ultimately failed.

porches in Los Angeles—exterior ornaments, fireplaces, and interior decorations brought nature into the house

Already 55 years old, Smith tried to set up business in

and tied the inside of the home to the outside.

San Jose for a year in 1932, but that business folded and he returned to the Los Angeles area where he spent

In the clearest expression of this combination of architec-

the rest of his life in Montebello. He still had a business

ture and nature, the distinctive and extravagant fireplac-

card as “State Licensed Contractor,” but there is no ev-

es of Miner Smith’s “bungalow mansions,” each of which

idence that he tried to build any more homes. Instead,

is different from all others, are designed to look like they

he focused on smaller projects such as artificial stone

are made of tree trunks and branches. In other words,

fountains (still in his characteristic tree-trunk style), exteri-

they imitate a fire at a campsite in the forest—in one

or remodeling, and outside ovens. He also spent a lot of

case, down to a mockingbird’s nest for matches.

time with his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, who remember him fondly to this day.

Most of the fireplaces have an ogee arch, which echoes

22

the ogee arches Smith set into many of his porches. In

When Miner Smith passed away in 1965 at the age of

these arches, there are imitation tree trunk planters, so

88, his family eventually disposed of most of his person-

the interior fireplace and the exterior porch elements

al effects, including molds for some of his design ele-

are based on the same geometrical design. Both were

ments. Fortunately, they kept three picture albums he

made from artificial stone, a kind of cement that could

had used to promote his business. These albums, which

be shaped in molds or by hand. The planters are the epit-

document his architectural vision, are now preserved at

ome of Smith’s design vision because they had practi-

the Historical Society of Long Beach. Like today’s resi-

cal use for flowers, expressed luxury because each was

dents of Belmont Heights, you will easily recognize this

made by hand, and combined architecture and nature

vision in the houses he built. In the future you will hope-

in a unique fashion. Similarly, Smith often used door plates

fully also remember the name of our unique builder and

with motifs such as twigs and acorns.

contractor Miner Smith.

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714.514.5643

562.673.6068

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cellular shades vertical blinds wood blinds advantage faux wood

(562) 493-4228

www.coastfactoryblinds.com

aluminum shutters roller shades motorized shades Seal Beach, CA

23 LBHomeLiving.com mon-fri, 9 a.m. - 6 p.m.


TAKE A TRIP BACK IN TIME (WITHOUT LEAVING THE CITY)

How a stay at the Hotel Royal in the East Village Arts District puts you right at the center of old-meets-new RACHEL-JEAN FIRCHAU & JACOB SIGALA @racheloffduy / @jacobsmedium

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The East Village Arts District is known for its lively bars, funky shops, and tantalizing restaurants. In recent years, it’s become the place to be for unique inspiration and a charming art scene that invites people of all walks of life. And, floating just above the buzzy storefronts and sidewalks is something many notice but few fully understand. The near-100-year legacy of architecture that weaves this neighborhood together. To really understand a place is to spend time there, right? So, despite having called downtown Long Beach our home for over 2 years now, we pack our bags for a weekend staycation in one of Long Beach’s most historic pockets of town to get a better understanding of where we are, and where we’ve been, as a city. On an overcast yet promising Saturday morning, we check into the Hotel Royal on Broadway. The hotel’s 23 suites are nestled within a building that boasts over 90 years of legacy, and you notice from the moment you walk in to the lobby that there’s a real personality to the place. Built in 1923, Hotel Royal is a proud institution of the East Village, with signature Art Deco characteristics peppered throughout its exterior blue and white walls. This family-owned hotel is known for bringing a sense of family and home into every element of your stay, from the cheerful staff, to the pension-style rooms, to the communal kitchen and fresh cookies that greet you when you arrive on your floor. But nothing instills this sense of community more than its guests, which we encounter plenty of. On more than one occasion throughout the weekend, hotel guests excitedly chatter to me just how many times they’ve stayed with the Royal. “7 or 8 at least” seems like the number to beat. I start to imagine that this kind of fierce devotion has been a part of the building’s identity for as long as it’s been around. Our room was in the Hotel Royal East, a brand new (5 weeks old, at the time of writing) annex of bigger, more modern accommodations that boast king size beds and a keyless entrance. A text-for-assistance concierge by the name of Ivy helps us remember what the code to our room is just moments after we were told, and promptly forgot, at check-in. The contrast of using Ivy on our Google Pixels while in a historic building turns out to be a really staggering and fascinating experience. The moment you step outside Hotel Royal to explore the eclectic neighborhood, which you can do on foot or with one of the hotel’s bikes, you begin to notice the sheer number of other remarkable buildings lining the sidewalks in front of you. I find myself in a moment of strange contemplation – ​where these buildings always here? How have I not noticed before? Or have I? What else haven’t I paid attention to? For instance, the Lafayette Complex on Linden is the kind of building that you can’t help but wonder about. I peer deep into the windows of the former hotel’s lobby, ornamented in gold with rich, dark carpets, trying to imagine its heydey. This

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Spanish Renaissance style series of buildings dates all the way back to 1928, so I can only pretend to grasp the stories it has to tell. After a few moments of being nosy, I shrug away my curiosity and go straight for the wine – District Wine, that is, which is located on the ground floor. This place is everything from a casual hangout spot to a meeting place of Long Beach’s working professionals, which, I think, seems fitting for the building that it’s located in. We are met with a couple wine flights and a selection of tapas – roasted bar nuts (quite honestly, the most sophisticated and delicious bar nuts I’ve ever had in my life) and jalapeno jam with goat cheese, and we drink up the buzzy energy of the space. Across the street is the Broadlind (Broadway + Linden, get it?) Hotel building, also built in 1928. We have it on good authority that Thai District is the place to be, so that’s where we head. Now this is where I begin to get a little nervous. I hate Thai food. At least, I think I hate Thai food. I do, don’t I? I grew up repulsed by the idea of peanut sauces, and I smugly let that thought extend to become my definition of an entire country’s cuisine. But we go anyway, drawn by the brick building and the warm, lantern-lit space inside. What happens next is a flurry of disorienting sensations. I’m happy. Everyone is happy, and friendly, and proud. So proud. The two-story restaurant is beautifully decorated and the smells that fill the air are inviting. We order a crab and ricotta-filled appetizer called Golden Bags, and they taste better than any other bag I’ve ever seen, or worn, in my life. Enjoying that, I get bolder, fueled by the tang of lychee sangria, and decide to go all-out and order drunken noodles. I find myself sitting back and questioning how I let 20+ years of my life go by assuming Thai food wasn’t for me. A nightcap of coconut panna cotta and a second lychee sangria reassure me that there was so much more life to be lived, now that Thai food is a part of it. We leave, thanking the owners of the restaurant, Andre and Ty, profusely for converting me into a Thai food supporter, and grab a bottle of rose at the Village Market before heading back up to our room at the Hotel Royal to watch Netflix and pass out in a food-induced coma. I feel surprised at how unique my perspective of this city became after staying in a hotel not far from my own home. If you stay here, you’ll see for yourself exactly what I’m talking about. Just before crawling into bed to go to sleep, I open the curtains to peek out at the beautiful buildings we just spent time in, and I wonder what kinds of evenings have been spent in these buildings over the past 90+ years. No Netflix, and no Golden Bags, sure, but I’d like to think there was dancing, and champagne, and ritzy business meetings, and romance, and friendships. 90 years from now, if these buildings still stand, I hope people think of us, and the new era of lives, and restaurants, and hang-out spots we’ve come to call home in the new, but also old, East Village.

26

LBHomeLiving.com


DOWNTOWN LONG BEACH’S GRADUAL PAIN AND RAPID CHANGE BRIAN ULASZEWSKI, LEED AP Principal, Executive Director City Fabrick

This past month, downtown Long Beach celebrates its continued economic and physical growth with Downtown Celebrates, rolling out another bright annual report, with honors to those who contribute to this success, highlighting the diverse food and entertainment the downtown has to offer. This year’s report and previous ones have emphasized the economic shifts within this community as average household incomes increase, and investments in downtown rise as high as the cranes

displacement, many community leaders recognize the nuance of Long Beach’s gentrification.

building the thousands of new residential units.

The Great Recession of 2007-2008 and beyond hit Long

The optimist sees the new buildings and enhanced bike

munities like Miami, Las Vegas, or Fresno. While some

and transit facilities as progress, while the pessimists see these improvements for a new population that is forcing out the residents that the now-cool downtown had been built from. Despite the glossy collateral marketing the downtown, and the war cries from those fighting

Beach hard, though not as much as rapid growth comlocal governments went bankrupt from lost property taxes, others like Long Beach made deep cuts to public services and maintenance responsibilities. Most development ground to a screeching halt with all but previously funded public projects (including subsidized

LBHomeLiving.com

27


affordable development) and private development

buildings were always filled with life, with residents many

serving basic necessities (hospitals, Walmarts, grocery

of whom have lived for decades in the vibrant neighbor-

stores, etc.) being built within the intervening years.

hoods of East Village, Alamitos Beach, Drake Park, and North Pine. Early-Century (1920’s) fourplexes, mid-Cen-

Right as the economic downturn was beginning, the

tury garden-style apartments, and even late-Century

City of Long Beach was adopting the groundbreaking

recent podium-type buildings were given a bright coat

Downtown Plan, a transition from the rigid Planned De-

of paint inside and out, with new cabinets and windows

velopment Zones that city officials were applying across

and occasionally fresh landscape.

Long Beach, which would also serve as the basis for future Specific Plans that have since been authored and

These cosmetic improvements have been and still are

adopted. The Downtown Plan provides greater flexibility

typically precipitated by the removal of the existing res-

to meet the Guiding Principles established by residents,

idents. Through consistent and/or extreme rent hikes, or

stakeholders, and community leaders, while streamlin-

evictions (with or without cause) entire apartment build-

ing the process for infill projects that emulate that vision.

ings—from two homes to two dozen—are vacated of residents. The upheaval has damaged people, families,

Due to tightening lending practices both for homebuy-

friends, and entire neighborhoods, though those build-

ers and real estate developers, and a surplus of housing

ings have often never looked so pretty. The complexion

stock due to foreclosures, the impacts of the Downtown

of these neighborhoods has changed building by build-

Plan did not become obvious for a decade. Like the

ing, block by block, street by street. Only now is the City

recovery of recessions before, investment generally be-

seeking resident tenant protections—Long Beach is the

gan incrementally with lower risk projects like adaptive

largest West Coast city without them.

reuse, building rehabs, and modest urban infill projects. The first wave was most often local, from developers

Over the past year, there has been a rapid change in

like Urbana, CORE Holdings, Maverick Investments, and

the physical character of Downtown Long Beach. From

Ratkovich Properties.

flipping the protected cycle-tracks on Broadway and Third Street, to the complete redevelopment of the

Gradually, the landscape began to change as new

Civic Center, the public realm is changing. Private de-

businesses—many locally owned—opened up shops,

velopment is enveloping most every blacktop parking

and formerly vacant homes and condos began to find

lot with thousands of new homes—mostly rental—with

new residents. While some of these projects rejuvenat-

ground floors activated with lobbies and common ar-

ed derelict properties, bringing new life to our existing

eas, as well as new restaurants and stores.

neighborhoods, other investors began seeing a reinvigorated housing market, this one oriented more toward

Hundreds of parking stalls—most utilized for providing

rental housing versus the previous housing boom, which

a home for an automobile just portions of the day or

had a larger proportion of sales.

week—are making way for thousands of homes, filling the missing teeth of the downtown fabric. Nonetheless,

As has been typical in Long Beach, new construction

parking capacity will dramatically increase as each one

had been slower than other local communities to re-

of these new buildings accommodate parking multilev-

spond to emerging markets. To fill the growing demand

el garages that go below and above the street level.

for quality housing in downtown Long Beach and sur-

Like many of our urban communities across the globe,

rounding neighborhoods, more modest incremental

our ways of moving are changing, while walking, tran-

investments were made by renovating existing housing

sit, and biking are experiencing their respective renais-

stock to varying degrees of quality.

sance as new means of moving virtually and physically are rapidly changing distance and place. The space

28

Unlike most of those commercial buildings that sat va-

for parking cars in a lot or a structure might become

cant before their respective rebirths, these apartment

obsolete in a decade, or not.

LBHomeLiving.com


Most of those new apartment buildings being construct-

amenities will find competition from buildings providing

ed will only serve the wealthiest residents choosing to

amenities like gyms, pools, theaters, doggy spas, and

live in the downtown. So the City of Long Beach is finally

secured parking. The local market will fluctuate, influ-

considering the concept of inclusionary housing where

enced by the actual pressures of supply and demand,

new development would be required to set aside a cer-

but perceptions of grandeur (still powerful) will hopefully

tain percentage of their new housing stock (often 20%)

not escalate further to the point of affordability.

below market-rate for income-qualified households.

Changes within downtown Long Beach and the sur-

From Ventura to Santa Ana to Los Angeles, inclusionary

rounding neighborhoods physically began as mild but

housing generates hundreds, even thousands of qual-

are escalating quickly, though appropriately as guided

ity, obtainable homes for the most vulnerable families

by previous planning initiatives. But at the same time,

across the region. Adopting inclusionary housing two

the composition of the community and the people

years ago would have resulted in hundreds of new af-

have been changing rapidly. The question going for-

fordable housing units coming online over this next year.

ward is will our city be able to retain what remains of the culture in these neighborhoods—through inclusionary

While much of the new downtown development will

housing and tenant protections—and will the new de-

likely host the highest residential and commercial rates,

velopment support these efforts or impede them?

this will likely influence the local real estate market as thousands of new units come online. Those recent-

Photo by Elizabeth Martinez

ly refurbished but older apartment buildings with few

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29


LONG BEACH, DECO, DESTINY AND DISTINCTION. JOHN THOMAS Art Deco Expert

At 5:54 p.m. on March 10, 1933, a massive 6.25 magnitude earthquake rocked Southern California. Wood-frame bungalows lost their chimneys and engineered concrete buildings had minimal damage, but unreinforced masonry buildings near the epicenter failed catastrophically. Long Beach was particu-larly hard-hit. People who had awakened in town with a variety of building styles fell asleep that night in a landscape that must have appeared to be decimated. The stage was set for Long Beach to arise from the rubble, developing with a new architectural style known as Modernistic. Commonly referred to as Art Deco or Art Moderne, the name is derived from the 1925 Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Deco-ratifs et Industriels Modernes. The exposition celebrated a new design influence that would be embraced throughout the world by designers, artists, and the public. The structures that collapsed completely or were damaged beyond repair were mostly built of brick and not designed to resist lateral stresses, while others were constructed with inferior mortar. Many had elaborate towers and architectural ornamentation that provided additional hazards, such as raining down with bricks, plaster and decorative elements in every aftershock. The hospitals were overwhelmed with people with both minor and critical injuries, yet between 115 and 120 people lost lives amid falling debris and collapsing buildings. Navy personnel stationed just offshore were on hand to assist with disaster relief and policing. If the earthquake had struck earlier when children were in school, the loss of life would have been tragically higher. Nearly three quarters of the city’s schools were destroyed.

30

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As a result, on April 10, 1933, the Field Act, named for the California Assembly member who was instrumental in its passage, was enacted. It stated, “Because schools are funded with public money…legislative statutes require children to attend schools, and the school buildings performed so poorly in the earthquake,” all future school construction must be earthquake-resistant. In order for Long Beach to begin the recovery from the devastation of the earthquake, the Public Works Administration (PWA) purchased over $500,000 in school bonds to reconstruct new school buildings demolished in the earthquake. The Works Progress Administration sponsored murals and sculptures in civic buildings. From 1933 through 1940, Long Beach was the recipient of funding through the federal government to rebuild, replace and build new buildings that would serve the community. Today, many of our school buildings are fine examples of the PWA’s Modernistic style and contain wonderful examples of art murals, mosaics and paintings. The Art Moderne, or Art Deco style, in addition to being stylishly modern in 1933, also met criteria of earthquake safety. Most Art Deco buildings were built of reinforced concrete and decorations, such as bas-reliefs, and were integral to the architecture rather than separate pieces added on. In 1927, the Long Beach Architectural Club was formed. Many club members embraced the new Modernistic style, and by 1933, were influencing the post-earthquake rebuilding efforts. Those architects were perfectly poised to accept work, both to build new buildings or to design new facades to buildings minimally impacted by the earthquake. These members included Ceil Schilling, Nat Piper and Hugh Robert Davies.


There were three primary Art Deco styles. Zigzag, or Art Deco, which were most popular in the mid to late 1920s, featured straight lines with decorative towers and setbacks. Although lavish and expensive mate-rials were often used, many buildings featured bas-reliefs on concrete, stone, or brightly colored terracotta that were carved, molded, or inset directly into the walls.

Also in the early 1930s, the PWA was a design style found in our civic buildings and schools. This sym-metrical design with monumental architectural verticality often featured central towers, bas-reliefs and used glazed polychrome terra-cotta ties as façade surface decoration. The use of glass blocks and metal railings were typical elements welcoming the public to main entrances of the buildings. Although Long Beach has undergone a number of urban renewal efforts resulting in significant buildings being demolished, the city still hosts an impressive collection of buildings built during the late 1920s through 1939. Art Deco, Streamline Moderne and the PWA design styles remain part of the city’s archi-tectural vocabulary and reminds onlookers of the impacts of the Great Depression, the 1933 earthquake and the passion and deliberateness to rebuild Long Beach into the community we enjoy today.

Photo by Chris Launi

By the 1930s, the machine age was a fact of life, celebrated in art and architecture. Streamline Moderne was all the rage with simplified lines that emphasized the horizontal curves and speedlines punctuated by unexpected vertical height from pylons. Both styles were used throughout the late 1920s and 1930s, including residential, commercial, and civic buildings.

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AN OBSCURE BUILDING REMAINS FROM ROOSEVELT NAVAL BASE ON THE BOUNDARY OF LONG BEACH KATIE RISPOLI KEAOTAMAI

The next time you travel west along the Gerald Desmond Bridge, you might notice a subtly Modernist building near Navy Way, which almost blends into its highway. The building remains from the former Roosevelt Naval Base, an impressive campus designed by the “Allied Engineers” and constructed in 1943. Architecture firms led by Paul Revere Williams, Adrian Wilson, and Donald R. Warren completed the design of the buildings. Built in the International Style, the base secured Long Beach’s identity as a Navy town. The base served Long Beach and the nation well for over 50 years, but was closed along with 34 others nationally in 1993 following the end of the Cold War. After evaluating bids for the location, the City of Long Beach granted jurisdiction over the base and the neighboring Naval Shipyard to the Port of Long Beach in 1995. Immediately after, the Port of Long Beach entered into an agreement with the Chinese government to allow their commercial shipping corporation, COSCO, to build a large-scale terminal on the site. Their plan required demolition of Roosevelt Naval Base.

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LBHomeLiving.com

The base was demolished, to the dismay of the preservation community in Long Beach, in 1998. As an example of early Modernism in Southern California, its loss was a great one for Long Beach preservation. When demolished, residents came together to mourn the base and its role in Long Beach’s community. What those residents did not know, however, is that a building near Navy Way quietly escaped the wrecking ball. If you’re wondering, “how?,” the answer is, “obscurity.” The building, having formerly been owned by the military, sits on unincorporated territory, which has no parcel number, on the boundaries of the cities of Los Angeles and Long Beach. Since no jurisdiction has ownership over the building’s land, no agency has laid claim to it. The original use of the building is unknown, though based upon its location and similarity to guard stations documented within the former base, it likely served a security-related purpose. What is known is that the building was given to Cal-


Photo By: Katie Rispoli Keaotamai

trans in the late 1960s for use as an office when the Vincent Thomas Bridge was converted to a toll bridge. It was then that the building was officially decommissioned by the military. In the hands of Caltrans, the building has served a useful life. Though the bridge ceased to require tolls in 2000, Caltrans operates in the area for other maintenance and infrastructure work. As the building is near the intersection of both bridges and has parking for staff, it continues to be used for storage, occasional workspace, and a break area for Caltrans workers.

to ease the loss of such a substantial historic resource and cultural anchor to Southern California. As one of just a few buildings in the Long Beach area that recall the great Navy presence that once existed in the community, the building holds great potential for education and interpretation.

When Roosevelt Naval Base was demolished in 1998 and its buildings were catalogued and documented, this building was omitted as it was no longer part of the base. It is unknown whether anyone involved in the documentation at the time realized that it had previously been so. Because the building has no address, parcel number, or jurisdiction, its preservation is difficult. It is undeniably eligible for historic designation, but any level of protection would likely have to be attained at the national level and would require consent from Caltrans. If such protection were pursued, it is clear that the building retains sufficient integrity to be eligible for historic designation. The simplicity of the building leaves few decorative elements to be lost, and in this instance has made it easier for the building to remain intact. In sharing this research and findings, it is hoped that the existence of this building can help

Grounds at Roosevelt Naval Base looking West to San Pedro. Source: Historic American Buildings Survey: Roosevelt Base. Library of Congress, http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ca2253.photos.376196p/resource.

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A full-service wine tasting bar and lounge in the heart of East Village in Downtown Long Beach. Small production boutique wines, craft beer and Tapas-style small bites. Perfect for the connoisseur and novice alike. Larger groups welcome!

WINE TASTING EVERY DAY HAPPY HOUR MON-FRI 4-7PM | SAT 12-7PM

144 Linden Ave. Long Beach | 562.612.0411 | DistrictWine.com

THAI DISTRICT Voted #1 Thai Restaurant in Long Beach Unique two level setting in a historic landmark. www.ThaiDistrictRestaurant.com 149 Linden Ave. Ste E, Long Beach, CA 90802 | 562.951.7181


ART.

Modern. Contemporary. Fine.

C Gallery on Broadway celebrates the rich heritage of Long Beach's architecture and design during 'Long Beach Architecture Week'. Phone: 562.619.6084 441 E Broadway, Long Beach, CA 90802

www.CGalleryOnBroadway.com

HOURS: Monday - Thursday: By Appointment | Friday: 4 -6 PM | Saturday: 1- 6PM | Sunday: 1- 4PM


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201 9 COLOR OF TH E YE AR

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Evoking the deep connection between earth and humanity, Spice of Life (DET439) is a warm invitation to explore simpler times and a return to our roots. Inside or outside, on walls or doors, Spice of Life reminds us that life is most memorable when we celebrate it together.

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