|19. Sovereign Apartments/Hotel,
205 Washington Ave.
National Register of Historic Places
Sovereign Apartment Hotel
205 Washington Avenue
Postcard of the times
| Once upon a time, long before
SoCal real estate prices spiraled out of control, Santa Monica’s main
purpose was as a summer resort, and lots of properties around town were
built for summer entertainment. In 1928, when the majestic Sovereign Hotel
opened at the corner of Washington and Second Street, the number of single
and one bedroom apartments and the availability of daily maid service indicated
that the target clientele of this 5-story, 130-room complex were people
wishing to summer by the sea. Old time elegance abounds for this property
on the National Register of Historic Places. As you enter the main entrance
via the square pavilion, you stroll through the courtyard to an arched portal
with double iron gates, and wonder what old movies were filmed here. If
1930s films weren’t shot in its corridors of this Spanish Colonial
Revival property, they should have been. The Sovereign has the elegance
and intimacy of old Hollywood. One can only imagine the parties and affairs
that blossomed in the landscaped inner courtyard enclosed by a low wall
with extended pillars topped by urns and connected with an iron railing.
Architect Kurt Meyer-Radon and the Anglo American Building Company took great pains to harmoniously integrate a variety of unique design elements in the Sovereign. Awe at such sublime details as rope moldings, corbelled balconies and French doors. Enjoy the staccato feel on the fifth floor, as the windows which extend toward the roof coping, are separated by pilasters, and corbels below the roof line.
In “Los Angeles: An Architectural Guide,” David Gebhard and Robert Winter, wrote, “There was no reticence here on the part of the architect in showing how many Spanish Colonial Revival forms and details could be used.”
According to former City planner James Lunsford, it was once owned by C.A. Hamilton, the owner of the concessions at Yellowstone Park, but has been owned by a Houston-based conglomerate since 1994, who took it over after the property was severely damaged in the Northridge Earthquake.
In 1997 the Sovereign was declared a National Historic Landmark. For
the record, a National Historic Landmark is a nationally significant historic
place designated by the Secretary of the Interior. Landmark properties
are chosen because they possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating
or interpreting the heritage of the United States and designated under
the authority of the Historic Sites Act of 1935. Look around the country,
you will find few apartment buildings of the style and elegance of the
Sovereign Apartment / Hotel.