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24. Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club Building, 1914 24. Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club Building, 1914
1210 Fourth St.
Architect: Henry Hollwedel

Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club

Interior detail


Exterior detail

The Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club was built in 1914 on two lots purchased with funds donated by Arcadia Baker, wife of Colonel Robert Baker, co-founder of Santa Monica, and herself one of the city’s most devoted philanthropists.

The two-story Classical Revival building is sheathed in stucco. Its tiled hip roof has bracketed eaves and a decorated frieze. Six arched casement windows with decorated surrounds and topped by fan lights span the second floor façade. The first floor has a wide inset entrance in the center flanked by triple rectangular casement windows with transoms and stained glass over each doorway. The glazed triple entry is framed by oak set into marble.

The architect of this poignant structure on Fourth Street just south of Wilshire Boulevard, was Henry C. Hollwedel, who also designed the Mayfair Theater on Santa Monica Boulevard and Henshey’s Department Store at Fourth and Santa Monica Boulevard. All three of the buildings were subsequently designated landmarks by the City of Santa Monica, but the Women’s Club is the only one of the three that is still intact. Henshey’s was demolished to make way for Toys ‘R Us, and the Mayfair’s future has been in question since the Northridge Earthquake, January 17, 1994.

Hollwedel is noteworthy for both his professional and civic contributions to Santa Monica in the early part of the century. He was a member of the Santa Monica Board of Trade and served as the city building inspector. As an inspector, he guided the construction of the Santa Monica Pier.

The Santa Monica Bay Women’s Club Classical Revival architecture is based on a design movement that believed in the use of pure Roman and Greek forms.
Federal government buildings of the first half of the 20th century, such as the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., owe much to this Beaux-Arts interpretation of classical design, as does Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, commissions for public buildings and grand houses of industrial moguls went to architects trained in the Beaux-Arts Classical Revival tradition. These architects produced academic designs based on classical or Renaissance features such as symmetrically arranged buildings with smooth surfaces based on simple geometric forms expanded to monumental proportions. Porticos are supported by a series of pilasters, and windows tend to be large single-light sashes.