At long last, the City of Long Beach has announced staffing and a phone number to call for suspected un-permitted construction work on Saturdays. This is wonderful news for Historic Districts in Long Beach. In all Historic Districts a Certificate of Appropriateness is required for any construction work on your home, including changing windows and exterior painting. The Certificate of Appropriateness (C of A) is in addition to any necessary building permits. Most of us have seen the contractors roll into the neighborhood late on a Friday afternoon and work furiously all weekend to install vinyl windows, un-permitted fences and incorrect hardscape to name but a few violations. Until now, there was no one we could contact to report the problem until Monday morning and that was usually too late to stop the problem. It is frustrating for residents who follow the rules and respect the ordinance of our Historic District to see violators skirt the rules and chip away at the historic fabric of our beautiful neighborhood. There is also the worry of sub-standard construction work that is not up to code, since no inspections occur.

Now we have a phone number, 562-570-0000, that we can call on Saturdays from 7:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M to report any suspected un-permitted work. The report is anonymous. You just need to provide an address and the type of work that is happening. This number and service will supplement the regular Code Enforcement. During the week, you can call 562-570-CODE (2633) or go to the website at www.lbcode.org. If Code Enforcement finds that no building permit or C of A was issued, they will issue a Stop Work Order to pause any construction activity until the proper C of A and permits have been issued. If they fail to comply, this will result in administration citation fines and possible referral to the City Prosecutor’s Office.

Historic District residents in Long Beach have long been frustrated by the lack of enforcement of the Historic District Ordinances. In working through Code Enforcement, we now have the necessary manpower and tools to stop the un-permitted work and force compliance with the guidelines.

You can find out more about obtaining building permits and Certificates of Appropriateness at www.longbeach.gov or 562-570-6194.

Houghton Park Buildings in North Long Beach Facing Demolition

Houghton Park Buildings

The Houghton Park Clubhouse was built in 1930 and designed by George W. Ferris, who worked in the City Engineer's office. It is an excellent example of Spanish Revival style architecture with many Moorish details and contains an auditorium framed by a curvilinear molding, recessed arches with painted heraldic motifs on the side walls, and a ceiling with elaborately carved wooden beams.

Houghton Building Rec Center

In 1946 another structure in the American Colonial Revival style was added to the complex by local architect Harold Wildman. A recreation center for Jordan High School students by the Long Beach firm of John Duffy and Leo Dreher was attached to the original clubhouse in 1959. This was designed in a Mid-Century Modern mode with large expanses of glass windows. All of these structures are facing demolition and replacement by a new building in the near future. 

Coffee Pot Café (Hot Cha) - SAVED

Hot Cha - Long Beach Heritage Advocacy 

The Coffee Pot Café was built in 1932 and its name was changed to the Hot Cha Café around 1934. It is a great example of Programmatic architecture and is a Long Beach landmark. However, it is threatened with demolition by neglect by its owner, who has not responded to the city request that he rehabilitate the building. This quaint structure has a sheet metal coffee pot atop its hexagonal roof and once had stained glass windows.

Port of Long Beach Administration Building Mural

Port of Long Beach Administration Building Mural

The Port of Long Beach Administration Building was constructed between 1958 and 1960 and was completely clad with tiles manufactured by Gladding McBean, the premier California terra cotta company founded in 1875. Most notably, the curved central portion of the façade contains a 74 foot wide mural designed by Paul Souza and depicting the history of the Port from 1542 to 1960. The building is scheduled for demolition and the mural may be destroyed as well. This would be a great loss for the city because is one of the few intact tile murals by Gladding McBean and is a great example of mid- century design by a locally renowned artist. 

 

Mrs. Chapman's Angel Food Donut

SAVED AND RETURNED AS CHOCOLATE WITH SPRINKLES!

Mrs. Chapmans Donuts - Lnog Beach Heritage Advocacy 

Mrs. Chapman's Angel Food Donut Shop was built in 1958 with a gigantic fiberglass doughnut atop the building.. The architect was probably John Duffy (1910-1991) who worked in Long Beach in the fifties and sixties.  Like the coffee pot, the doughnut is one of the few examples of Programmatic architecture in Long Beach. 

 

Fire Station 12 - SAVED

Fire Station 12 - Long Beach Heritage Advocacy 

Fire Station #12 was built in 1930, but the city of Long Beach did not have sufficient funds to fully staff the station, so it was left vacant for a while. In 1933 the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) employed women in a sewing project at the building and in 1934 the State Emergency Relief Administration (SERA) took over the sewing center. Finally in 1937 fire fighters occupied Station #12, but it was abandoned in 2013 when a new structure was built nearby. Although the architect is unknown, the building is a typical example of Spanish Revival style architecture, with its plaster walls,, terra cotta tile roof, arched doorway and towers.

Southern Pacific Depot      

DESTROYED BY FIRE IN SEPTEMBER 2016

HAD BEEN RELOCATED TO WILLOW SPRINGS PARK TO BECOME THE NEW VISITORS' CENTER - A WONDERFUL EXAMPLE OF ADAPTIVE REUSE OF AN HISTORIC BUILDING.

The former Southern Pacific Railroad Depot, built in 1906, was originally on West 2nd Street near Pacific Avenue, facing the park. One of the oldest remaining structures in Long Beach, it was moved to 1475 San Francisco Street in the City Yard, but is now facing either another move or possible demolition. It was designed in the Mission Style, characteristic of railway buildings around the turn of the century. It had a tower, mixtilinear gables, ornamental windows, and Plateresque reliefs on the faces. It is an excellent example of the Mission Revival and its exterior remains intact.

SP TRAIN DEPOT  SP TRAIN DEPOT

Long Beach Civic Center    LOST

The County Courthouse at 415 West Ocean Boulevard, designed by Francis Heusel and Kenneth S. Wing, Sr. in 1957-60, has been abandoned and is facing immanent demolition. Bole & Wilson were the engineers for the structure. The new County Courthouse on Magnolia Avenue at Broadway by AECOM is already occupied. The old Courthouse, with  its alternating bands of glass and enamel metal panels, is a signature Mid-Century Modern building, which could be gutted and adaptively reused for another purpose. The Long Beach City Council has pronounced the City Hall and the Main Library unsafe in earthquakes and has called for three proposals to completely replace them, but none of these include the possibility of retrofitting the present structures.

These iconic buildings are the last examples of public structures designed by local architects, as all of the newer ones, such as the County Courthouse, were designed by firms from other cities. The City Hall and Public Library were completed in 1976-77 by a consortium called the Allied Architects, which included Hugh and Donald Gibbs; Kenneth S. Wing Senior and Junior; Killingsworth, Brady & Assciates; and Homolka & Associates. These firms were the major architects in Long Beach at the time. The buildings combined rough textured concrete, steel, glass, as well as landscaping, in a design that spoke the language of Late Modernism. Originally, the Library had a rooftop garden that was abandoned due to leakage caused by poor maintenance. The employees in the City Hall state that it is badly equipped to withstand an earthquake.

Long Beach Civic Center 

Edgewater (Seaport Marina) Hotel - LOST

Originally called the Edgewater Inn when it was constructed in 1961-63, the Seaport Marina Hotel at 6400 East Pacific Coast Highway is in immediate danger of being razed. It is a delightful Mid-Century Modern building with Y-shaped piers, folded roofs, and textured walls. The hotel was designed by Roy Sealey, an important African-American architect who worked in Los Angeles, beginning his career in Paul R. Williams' office. The Seaport Marina Hotel was a popular place for prominent Long Beach social events in the sixties.

Seaport Marina Hotel

 

628 Hotel

The Art Deco hotel at 628 East Anaheim Street is one of the few remaining buildings in this style on the Anaheim corridor, which once boasted many of these commercial structures. Built around 1932, this brick and concrete building has numerous Modernistic (the name for Art Deco current in the twenties and thirties) motifs. These include a stepped tower at the corner, superimposed layers of vertical piers terminating in leafy motifs, a decorated cornice, and a wrought iron grille with chevrons and scrolls above the entrance to the second story hotel rooms. This structure is presently abandoned and for sale to a developer.

The American Hotel - SAVED

The American Hotel at 224 East Broadway was built in 1905. It is the only brick commercial building of the first decade of the twentieth century left standing in Long Beach and has distinctive arches with cast art stone keystones and a corbel table on the upper part of its facade. The Panel Brick style building, which originally contained stores on the ground floor and a spartan hotel above, is an important piece of Long Beach history. The Cultural Heritage Commission has approved an excellent plan for the adaptive reuse of this structure.

The American Hotel

Acres of Books

Also approved for adaptive reuse into an arts center, the former Acres of Books building at 240 Long Beach Boulevard, was originally a market when it was constructed in 1924. It was remodeled in a Streamline Moderne style in 1936 with curved corners, a mini-tower, and horizontal bands of ornament to house the Glenn Thomas Used Car Store. Later it was taken over by Acres of Books, a nationally renowned used bookstore. Like the American Hotel, this project has lost its RDA funding.

Acres of Books Long Beach - Demolished