Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Santa Monica Walking Tour

The latest edition of the Santa Monica Seascape, a quarterly newspaper produced by the City of Santa Monica, came with a short walking tour of some of the city's historical downtown buildings. I usually go downtown about once a week, so I thought to myself, why not give the tour a try?

I wasn't disappointed. See below for some of the pictures I took. Note: All historical facts presented in this blog post are taken from the Seascape article. I did none of the research myself.

The tour began at 1440 2nd Street. The Rapp Saloon/Old Town Hall was built in 1875, the year Santa Monica was founded. It's been many things since then.

I love this beautiful little building.

The article states that the building is the city's first designated historical landmark. The youth hostel next door owns the property but this particular building itself appeared empty when I walked past it.

Next up on the tour was 1451 2nd Street, almost across the street from the Rapp Saloon. It's the Hotel Carmel, built in 1928:

Couldn't get the whole building in the shot, especially since a man in
a giant SUV kept driving back and forth in my way.

As you can see, it's still the Hotel Carmel. Apparently it used to be a retreat for Hollywood movie stars. I'd imagine they have swankier places to visit these days, but what do I know?

My next stop was around the corner at 1460 3rd Street. This is the Keller Block, built in 1893. The picture below is just the front of the address side. The building actually takes up the whole corner of 3rd & Broadway, to about halfway down the block between 2nd & 3rd.

This picture does not do the beautiful brickwork justice.

The architecture style is called Romanesque Revival and it's gorgeous. Currently, the building is mixed-use, with restaurants and shops on the bottom & offices on the top. 

I went up the block and around the corner for the next stop, 1433-37 4th Street. It was built in 1927. I was unable to get a decent wide shot of the building due to both traffic & the beautiful tree out in front, but I did get some close up shots of the sculptural designs & wrought iron work:

View 1 of 1433-37 4th Street.

View 2 of 1433-37 4th Street.

The building is currently home to a couple of retail shops.

Across the street, at 1424 4th Street, is the Central Tower Building, built in 1929. It used to house the city's first general store. Now it's home to shops and, I believe, some offices in the tower.

Wow, the sky looks pretty awesome here.

I love Art Deco architecture!

Around the corner and back down the street a couple of blocks was my next stop: The Bay Cities Guaranty Building, 225 Santa Monica Blvd. It's another lovely Art Deco building built in 1929.

They really knew how to make cool looking
buildings back in the 1920s.

After suffering extensive damage in the Northridge earthquake, the building underwent a $1.6 million seismic retrofit. I neglected to get close enough to see what's in the building now, although I believe that it's office space.

The final stop on my tour was 212-216 Santa Monica Blvd, the Majestic/Mayfair Theater. It was originally built in 1911 and it too suffered extensive damage in the Northridge earthquake.


I happen to know that this building recently underwent renovation because I saw it with my own eyes. It's right next to the public parking structure I like to park in. It no longer appears to be a working theater. 

That concludes my walking tour of downtown Santa Monica. I really enjoyed it. I'm grateful to the Santa Monica Seascape for providing both the impetus & the information. It served as a great reminder to spend more time looking up whenever I'm out and about.


Patricia said...

This is so much fun. I love Art Deco too, and I feel like I haven't seen red brickwork like that in Romanesque Revival styles. Great pictures!

balyien said...

Thanks! Glad you enjoyed them.