Project Progress

The project team is hard at work, completing research and evaluating properties in the City. Here are some of the buildings that caught our attention over the last few months!

Fieldwork Finds - April 25

As we near the end of fieldwork, here are a few fieldwork finds!

Fieldwork Finds - March 20

The field team has been hard at work over the last month. Here are some great finds from Downtown, Wilshire-Montana, and Ocean Park!

Fieldwork Finds - February 15

The team surveyed parts of WilMont and downtown Santa Monica last week, and was wowed by what they found!

Fieldwork Finds - February 6

The survey team has been hard at work. Here are some great finds from last week!

Fieldwork Finds - January 27

The team has been hard at work documenting historic sites in Santa Monica! Here are some great finds from the North of Montana neighborhood.

Documentation Begins!

Richard Diebenkorn had his studio at 2444-2448 Main Street beginning in the late 1970s.

Richard Diebenkorn had his studio at 2444-2448 Main Street beginning in the late 1970s.

The survey team is back out in the field, documenting historically significant sites in Santa Monica! Among the sites that we are documenting are artists' studios, many of which were located along Main Street and Ocean Park in the 1960s and 1970s. Artists such as John Baldessari, Richard Diebenkorn, James Turrell, and Sam Francis had studios in Santa Monica during this time.

Carlthorp School

Carlthorp School, 438 San Vicente Boulevard, 1983. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

Carlthorp School, 438 San Vicente Boulevard, 1983. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

In 1939, educators Mercedes Thorp and Ann Carlson Granstrom founded Carlthorp School in a small house on 4th Street. At the end of the first year, the school had ten students, but by 1941, the school needed more space, and purchased a larger house at 438 San Vicente Boulevard. The c. 1925 Mediterranean Revival-style house served as both day and boarding school. During the 1950s, additional classrooms were added across the rear of the campus, and in 1976, the east building was added.

St. John's Hospital

St. John’s Hospital, c. 1941. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

St. John’s Hospital, c. 1941. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

In 1920, Los Angeles Archbishop John J. Cantwell believed Santa Monica needed a Catholic hospital, and began to fundraise for St. John’s Hospital (1942, I.E. Loveless; demolished). Cantwell raised support and recruited the Sisters of Charity, a nursing order based in Leavenworth, Kansas, to erect the hospital. Construction began in 1939, and was completed three years later. Named for St. John the Apostle, the six–story, reinforced steel and concrete structure in designed in the late Streamline Moderne-style was located at 1328 22nd Street on a five-acre site. It cost $300,000 and featured horizontal banding and rounded towers on the front façade. The design featured sun decks on all floors and held 80 beds. The original design also provided for the addition of two wings and space was reserved for a Sisters’ and nurses’ home.

Douglas Aircraft During World War II

Douglas plant under camouflage netting, c. 1945. Source: Santa Monica Airport Association

Douglas plant under camouflage netting, c. 1945. Source: Santa Monica Airport Association

Because of the Santa Monica plant of Douglas Aircraft’s importance in the war effort and the fear of a Japanese attack on the west coast, the Santa Monica plant spent World War II shielded by a sophisticated camouflage structure. Designed by Edward Huntsman-Trout and architect H. Roy Kelley and supplemented with the work of set designers from Warner Brothers, the camouflage consisted of a tension compression structure that covered the entire mile-long plant. The camouflage was a residential neighborhood composed of burlap. A dummy aircraft plant was erected adjacent to the neighborhood. The camouflage structure was erected c. 1942 and remained until July 1945.

Merle Norman

Merle Norman Building, 2525 Main Street (1936, City of Santa Monica Landmark #44), 1983. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

Merle Norman Building, 2525 Main Street (1936, City of Santa Monica Landmark #44), 1983. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

In 1936, the Merle Norman company constructed new headquarters at 2525 Main Street (H.G. Thursby, 1936; City of Santa Monica Landmark #44). 

Douglas Aircraft Company

Original Douglas Aircraft Company plant on Wilshire Boulevard at 25th Street, 1925. Source: Santa Monica Public Library

Original Douglas Aircraft Company plant on Wilshire Boulevard at 25th Street, 1925. Source: Santa Monica Public Library

In 1921, Donald Douglas incorporated Douglas Aircraft. Engineers at his company included James H. Kindelberger, Jack K. Northrop, and Gerard Vultee, all of whom eventually led major Los Angeles County aircraft companies. In 1922, Douglas Aircraft moved to an abandoned movie studio on Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica (present-day Douglas Park). At this time Douglas started using the future site of Clover Field (later the Santa Monica Airport) as a testing ground for production aircraft.

The Penthouse

The Penthouse, Kenneth Lind, 1964. Photo by Julius Shulman. Source: Getty Research Institute

The Penthouse, Kenneth Lind, 1964. Photo by Julius Shulman. Source: Getty Research Institute

The Penthouse (1964, Kenneth Lind) was a $3 million, nine-story, 80-unit Modern style apartment tower constructed at Inspiration Point in Palisades Park. Architect Kenneth Lind and Sarah Jane Lapin developed the project. Innovatively constructed in the lift-slab method, Lind designed the building to have no corridors – instead, each apartment stretches from one side of the building to the other.

Phillips Chapel

Phillips Chapel, 1910. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

Phillips Chapel, 1910. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

The first African American residents arrived in Santa Monica in the late 19th century, and settled between 2nd and 6th Streets (present day Civic Center), in proximity to Phillips Chapel, home to Reverend Charles H. Phillips’ Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (today the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church), established in 1908. The congregation first met in Hull’s Hall at 1519 3rd Street (demolished) before moving to its permanent home at 2001 4th Street (City of Santa Monica Landmark #68), near the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica.

Fairmount Villas, Northeast

Aerial survey of the City of Santa Monica, 1928. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

Aerial survey of the City of Santa Monica, 1928. Source: Santa Monica Public Library.

There are two residential tracts within the Northeast neighborhood, both subdivided in the first two decades of the 20th century. The first of these was Tract 3000, also known as Fairmount Villas and Fairmount Hills, was bounded by Montana on the north, Wilshire on the south, Stanford Street on the east, and 26th Street on the west. In 1906, an unnamed syndicate of Venice, Ocean Park and Santa Monica investors “bought out the entire group of 133 lots…ranging from one-half acre to one acre.” In about 1915, the parcels were re-subdivided from the larger sizes to narrow, 50’ wide parcels. At this time, two large parcels along Wilshire Boulevard were removed from the subdivision.

RAND Corporation

RAND Corporation, 1962. Photograph by Julius Shulman. Source: Getty Research Institute.

RAND Corporation, 1962. Photograph by Julius Shulman. Source: Getty Research Institute.

In December 1945, Commanding General of the Army Air Force H. H. “Hap” Arnold, Secretary of War consultant Edward Bowles, president of the Douglas Aircraft Company Donald Douglas, Douglas chief engineer Arthur Raymond, and Raymond's assistant Franklin Collbohm set up “Project RAND” under special contract to the Douglas Aircraft Company. Taking its name from “research and development,” Project RAND was meant to leverage the importance of technological research and development for success on the battlefield. Based on experiences during World War II, individuals in the War Department Office of Scientific Research and Development identified the importance of private enterprise in connecting military planning with research and established RAND.

Serra Vista Townsite, Mid-City

Advertisement for Serra Vista Townsite. Source: Los Angeles Times.

Advertisement for Serra Vista Townsite. Source: Los Angeles Times.

Advertisement for Serra Vista Townsite. Source: Los Angeles Times.

In early 1905, an L-shaped area bounded by present-day Santa Monica Boulevard on the north, Colorado and Broadway Avenues on the south, present-day Centinela Avenue on the east, and Harvard Street on the west, was developed by F. E. Bundy and R.W. Armstrong as the United Land and Water Company. Designed to be a “model townsite” on “the cream of the valuable holdings of Senator Jones and the Baker Estate,” Serra Vista was demarcated by the placement of 20’ high ornamental columns at the entrance of each street. The 50’ x 187.5’ and 50’ x 150’ lots sold rapidly, with nearly half of them purchased at auction the first day. In 1907, along with Irwin Heights, Serra Vista was annexed into Santa Monica.