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Southern Pacific Depot
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.
Long Beach Civic Center
The Long Beach Civic Center is threatened with replacement in the near future. Many complaints about the safety of the buildings have been heard in the city offices. The County Courthouse at 415 West Ocean Boulevard, designed by Kenneth S. Wing and Francis Heusel in 1957-60, will be abandoned after the construction of a new building on Braodway at Magnolia Avenue. Ground has already been broken for this structure by AECOM. Although some mechanical features of the Mid-Century Modern Courthouse are in disrepair due to deferred maintenance, the facade of the building with its alternating bands of glass and enameled metal panels has a signature modern effect. 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.
Edgewater (Seaport Marina) Hotel
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.
North Long Beach Farmers and Merchants Bank
Another example of Mid-Century Modern architecture that is slated for demolition is the North Long Beach branch of the Farmers and Merchants Bank at 3290 East Artesia Boulevard. This notable building was designed in 1962 by the local firm of Francis Heusel and Frank Homolka in a sleek modern style with exposed roof beams and transparent glass walls. The open, airy two story banking room is flooded with light and even the vault is placed in a glass walled space. It is a great sixties design that has not been altered by insensitive remodeling. The bank continues to occupy the building, but plans for new apartments on the site do not include its adaptive reuse.
The Press-Telegram Building - SAVED
Celebrating the merger of two Long Beach newspapers, The Press and The Daily Telegram, the Classical Revival building at the northeast corner of Pine Avenue and Sixth Street was designed by the first major architect in the city, W. Horace Austin, Although the interior has been gutted, the exterior retains its original tall piers, arched windows, and plaster reliefs. Now abandoned, the Press-Telegram building was slated for an adaptive reuse project that has fallen through the cracks.
The Meeker-Baker Building - SAVED
Part of the same failed project as the Press-Telegram, but at the other end of the block at the southeast corner of Pine Avenue and Seventh Street, the Meeker-Baker Building of 1923-24 has also been abandoned. It originally housed the Long Beach National Bank on the first story and offices above on the second story. Designed by another pair of noted local architects, Hugh R. Davies and Edwall D. Baume, the Neoclassical buff brick exterior has art stone trim. A striking Palladian motif remains on the Seventh Street elevation. The developer was charged by the city to preserve the interior details of the lobby and second floor woodwork, but these may have disappeared. This structure is a Long Beach Historic Landmark.
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.
Ray Vines Chrysler Building - SAVED
In 1963 Ray Vines built a Chrysler dealership at 4201 East Willow Street at the corner of Lakewood Boulevard. It was designed by architect Paul Clayton and constructed by J. W. Greig in a Mid-Century Modern mode with folded roof planes, angular plate glass windows, and soaring gables. The building complemented the sixties cars with their projecting fins and exemplified a daring type of design now referred to as Googie. It is one of the few examples of this type oif structure in the city. A presently proposed project would include a car wash on the west side of the site with a retail component located in the showroom building. The original pole sign would also be reused.
The American Hotel
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.
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 reknowned used bookstore. Like the American Hotel, this project has lost its RDA funding.