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62. William S. Hart House, 1920 62. William S. Hart House, 1920
404 Georgina Ave
Architect: John Byers

404 Georgina Avenue
owned by William S. Hart Jr.
photo by Michael Grandcolas

Single family residence, 8 rooms, owned by William S. Hart Jr.
photo by Michael Grandcolas

Earlier photo, 1951

Heaven forbid that a property by local Architectural god, John Byers, should go unacknowledged in Santa Monica. This aesthetic one-story, adobe home is reminiscent of haciendas from the Mexican Colonial period (1821-1846). The Mexican Colonial Revival style is an evolution of the architecture that was popular in Southern California, the Southwest, and northern Mexico in the 18th Century.

The property is believed to have been constructed by a widow named May MacBennett as a rental property. She never occupied the house, choosing to live closer to the beach on Ocean Avenue. William S. Hart Jr. (1923-2004), child of Broadway actor and silent western film star, William Surrey Hart lived in the home from 1952 to 1989.

404 Georgina features a U-shaped floor plan; it is traditional for hacienda-type structures to be built around an interior courtyard. As is his trademark, Byers uses indigenous materials and traditional construction methods. This home is built using adobe bricks sheathed in stucco and capped by a gabled, red tile roof. The front façade is said to be an authentic reproduction of early adobe structures. The two-story rear addition is rendered in the Mexican Colonial Revival style using compatible surface materials and architectural elements, similar to those of the original house. This property is one of the earliest examples of Byers’ use of adobe for residential construction in Santa Monica.

Common elements of Mexican Colonial Revival style include thick adobe walls finished with smooth stucco; low-pitched, red-tiled roofs; broad front porches or verandas shaded by deep overhangs; deeply recessed, wood-framed, windows; arcaded porches or walkways; heavy wood front doors; and interior courtyards.

Byers, a former Santa Monica High School teacher, became a widely acclaimed architect in Southern California with a celebrity following.

The house is located in what is known as the Palisades Tract neighborhood which began to be developed in 1905. The Tract was laid out with broad, tree-lined streets that provided views toward Ocean Avenue and the Santa Monica Palisades. The area stretches from Montana Avenue to Adelaide Drive. The structure has been determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.