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Santa Monica Asks for Help Updating Landmarks Inventory
Santa Monica Real Estate Company, Roque and Mark
Roque & Mark Real Estate
2802 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310)828-7525 -

Harding Larmore Kutcher & Kozal, LLP  law firm
Harding, Larmore
Kutcher & Kozal, LLP

Convention and Visitors Bureau Santa Monica


By Niki Cervantes
Staff Writer

June 22, 2016 -- From Santa Monica’s old Rapp Saloon on Second Street, built in 1875 as a beer garden, to the lavish Spanish Colonial Revival/ Art Deco-inspired Charmont Apartments, constructed on California Avenue for the 1920s rich and famous, Santa Monica has more than a century’s worth of modern history tallied and saved.

City officials are asking for the public's help in updating its inventory of historic designations, a list that currently includes 1,663 items.

The reexamination of Santa Monica’s oldest and most influential locations is being conducted for the City by the consulting firms Architectural Resources Group and Historic Resources Group.

Teams from the firms will survey structures built through 1977. The updated data base, which was started in late 2015, is due to be completed in 2017, officials said.

In the meantime, consultants are meeting with Santa Monica’s neighborhood associations and asking the public for input.

Photo of Santa Monica’s old Rapp Saloon. Credit City of Santa Monica  Public Library Image ArchiveSanta Monica’s old Rapp Saloon on Second Street. Photo courtesy the Public Library.

“We are particularly interested in the lesser-known places that might have shaped your community,” the project’s website states. “These places may be important for a broad range of reasons, including architecture or landscape design; association with an important person; social, cultural and/or ethnic heritage; residential development, commerce, or industry.”

Anyone interested can download suggestions for landmarks at the project’s website, email the information to the consultants and even find out what locations others have recommended.

A submission was made by the Santa Monica Conservancy. The group is recommending the home of Dr. Marcus O. Tucker, designed by architect Paul Revere Williams in 1937 for the first African American physician to live and work in Santa Monica.

One of the very oldest buildings on the list is the beer hall constructed by William Rapp in 1873, two years before the town of Santa Monica was created.

In its many lives since then, the Rapp building served briefly as City Hall in the late 1800s, was used by an early movie studio, was home to the Salvation Army, became home to a variety of small businesses and an art gallery – and was named the city’s first landmark in 1975.

Years later, it became the American Youth Hostel. The site is now used for poetry readings.

Consultants ask that those interested in submitting possible historic sites consider some key questions, including the following:

What are the distinctive architectural or cultural characteristics of the site? Do they reflect key aspects of Santa Monica’s social history and development? Has the site been a long-time focal point of the community, or linked to well-known architects, builders and others whose work helped define a neighborhood’s evolution through time.

Locations on the inventory don’t automatically enjoy landmark status, but being on database carries weight with the City’s Landmark Commission established in 1975 to designate landmarks, structures of merit and to help with the creation of possible historic districts.

The City’s designated landmarks are protected from some alterations. Owners also can receive tax savings and reductions in construction costs when they attempt to upgrade.

Talk of turning the City by the Sea into a town started in 1872 with a prominent cattleman. Plots of land began selling not long after, and in 1886 Santa Monica decided to incorporate by a vote of 97 to 71.

It grew to a population of 7,208, rose in popularity during the 1920s as the “Gold Coast” and was back again as the place to be in the post-World War II years with easy Freeway access.

Santa Monica’s preservation movement started during Southern California’s boom in construction in the 1960s and 1970s. Feeling the pressure of so much development, the City Council adopted a law preserving local landmarks and historic districts in March of 1976.

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