September 19, 2020 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Landmarks Designates House, Industrial Building:

A Craftsman-style residence and a modernistic industrial building received designation at the Landmarks Commission’s February 11 meeting.

The Craftsman house at 929 Lincoln Boulevard was constructed in 1916 and was one of the earliest structures built in the northern part of Santa Monica. Today it exists as one of few surviving examples of the Craftsman style in the northern section of the City.

Jay Johnson, who owns property across the street from the residence, expressed his support for designation, saying, “It’s critical to keep this” because of the rarity of such buildings in the north of Wilshire area.

The City staff report likewise supported designation of the house under Criterion 1 (exemplifies, symbolizes, or manifests elements of the cultural, social, economic, political, or architectural history of the City) and Criterion 4 (embodies distinguishing architectural characteristics).

Some members of the Commission thought that the architect J.J. Rowe qualified the building to be designated under Criterion 5 (example of the work of a notable builder, designer, or architect). However, the City staff report said that more research would have to be done into Rowe’s career.

Everyone agreed that the house possessed interesting character – defining features such as a cross-gabled roof, columns at both ends of the porch, and a chimney constructed of “clinker” bricks, that is, bricks slightly damaged in the firing process, which caused them to develop unusual colors and markings.

The house was designated under Criteria 1 and 4, with an amendment to also include the house’s retaining wall as a character-defining feature.

The other building designated, 3030 Nebraska Avenue, was a 1950s-vintage industrial building in a vernacular style. A City staff report found the building to not be notable architecturally or aesthetically, but said that the building qualified for designation under Criterion 1 because of its former use as the headquarters of Sci Arc (Southern California Institute of Architecture), which was founded in 1972 by Ray Kappe and was noted for its alternative approach to architecture. The building also qualified under Criterion 5 because of Kappe himself as a personage of note.

John Arnold, who represented the owner, said that the owner was “ambivalent” about designation due to the building’s alleged poor condition and past alterations. The owner thought a commemorative plaque might be appropriate.

Some Commissioners expressed a liking for aspects of the building’s design, evoking the “Bauhaus” style of the early 20th century. “As an example of early industrial buildings, it has certain character-defining features, even though it has been altered,” said Ruthann Lehrer.

The Commission voted to designate 3030 Nebraska with the augmentation of adding John Drescher as a second historic personage connected to the building. Drescher, who originally owned the property, was associated with the arts community in Santa Monica and was a noted philanthropist. Some of his other properties in the area near 3030 Nebraska were used as artists’ studios and became known as “Drescherville.”

In other actions, the Commission approved Certificates of Appropriateness for site improvements at 370 Santa Monica Pier (to be used as a trapeze school), for designation of the NuWilshire Theatre, for denial of designation for the ficus trees on 2nd and 4th Streets, and for denying the application for an addition to a non-contributing structure at 2617 1/2 3rd Street.

A building proposed for demolition at 733 19th Street was continued with a request for more information.

No action was taken on the following proposed demolitions: 1434 14th Street; 2162 San Vicente Boulevard; 1207 Cedar Street; 620 17th Street; 1122 Pico Boulevard; 1116 Pico Boulevard; 1112 Pico Boulevard; and 2636 5th Street.

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