Living La Vida Local


38. Horatio West Court
140 Hollister Avenue
National Register of Historic Places

During the first third of the 20th century, the work of American architect Irving Gill radically redefined the architectural landscape of Southern California, by making bold use of concrete and hollow tile to create an inexpensive tilt-wall construction system that allowed for artistic expression. This system allowed Gill to modify the existing California mission style into a simplified modern style. Gill was a tireless designer of small-scale, low-cost housing projects.

39. Hollister Court, 1904-1920s
2402 Fourth St. and 2401 Third St.

An early 20th Century bungalow court consisting of 13 individual Craftsman style
units, with a friendly central courtyard. Bungalow courts offered many benefits
of a house at a more affordable price — the grandparent of garden apartments.

40. John W. & Anna George House, circa 1911
2424 Fourth St.

A beautifully balanced Craftsman bungalow. Robert Winter, in his book, “The
California Bungalow,” explains: “The bungalow was practical, and it also symbolized for many the best of the good life. The feeling of independence (the bungalow) gave, even on a tiny plot of land, is part of the freedom which even today one senses in Southern California.”

41. Merle Norman House, 1935
2523 Third St.

Just north of the historic district, this Mediterranean Revival-style villa designed
by Ellis Martin was the principal residence of the renowned cosmetics goddess
Merle Norman. Mrs. Norman’s cosmetics business began in a garage in Ocean Park, where she created her own line of cosmetics to help women care for their skin and enhance their natural beauty. During the Great Depression, Norman offered free samples of her products to neighbors, believing they would return as paying customers. Free had a lot of value during that era. Norman built a loyal customer base. The cosmetic company is an active family-owned business today.

42. Charles Warren Brown House, 1908
2504 Third St.

Everything you could possibly want in a turn-of-the century Craftsman — built
and occupied by Charles Warren Brown — a turn-of-the- century councilman who
liked civic affairs, Brown also was a speculator, buying land and building homes,
like this local charmer.

43. Merle Norman Building, 1936
2525 Main St.

This Streamline Moderne building defines this architectural movement —
clean, stylish, and dynamic with airy walkways. Uniquely appealing. Architect
H.G. Thursby distinguished the Merle Norman Cosmetics headquarters with a
unique circular cupola. This uplifting building and successful business brought
hope to Santa Monica during the Great Depression.

44. Ocean Park Library, 1917-1918
2601 Main St.

The Ocean Park Library is one of the remaining branches of the Carnegie
Library operating in California. Designed by architects Kegly & Gerity, the property
is a variation of the Classical Revival design.

Carnegie Libraries were a turn-of-the-20th Century innovation. A public library
movement had blossomed across the United States. Steel magnate Andrew
Carnegie retired in 1900 at age 65 and devoted the rest of his life to philanthropy.
In 1900, he established the Carnegie Library grants program. In total, his Carnegie Corp. provided more than $41 million for 1,689 free public library buildings in 1,419 communities around the United States.

The Carnegie grant was to be used to construct the building, while the community
was expected to provide a site and to tax itself at the annual rate of 10 percent
of the grant amount for the purchase of books and for staffing and upkeep of the

45. First Roy Jones House, 1894
2612 Main St.

Constructed for Santa Monica Civic leader Roy Jones, this is the earliest known American Colonial Revival style design of Sumner P. Hunt. In the late 19th Century, the renowned architect Sumner P. Hunt built the home for Roy Jones, son of the founder of Santa Monica, Sen. John Percival Jones. The Roy Jones Home is designed in a style in transition from the elaborate Victorian Queen Anne Revival, to the simpler American Colonial or Georgian Revival style. Once upon a time, Santa Monica was a large ranch. It was purchased by Nevada Sen. John Percival Jones. In 1895, he founded Santa Monica. Originally located at 1007 Ocean Ave., the house was donated to the Heritage Square Museum and moved to its present location in 1977. Don’t miss the Sunday farmer’s market in the parking lot.

46. Third Street Historic District
Bound by Ocean Park Boulevard, Second, Hill and Third streets

Santa Monica’s first historic district consists of 38 buildings constructed between 1875 and 1930. The neighborhood offers many of the historical and architectural patterns around the city. Many of the properties were once the homes of “persons of significance” to Santa Monica.

Early on, the Third Street Historic District was the “backyard” of the home of Mrs. Nancy A. Lucas, the first Caucasian to own property in Ocean Park. Lucas arrived in 1874, and purchased 861 acres just east of the ocean and south of what is today Pico Boulevard for $11,000, or $14 per acre. The property at 237 Beach St. was originally a farmhouse on her property. The house built by Moses Hostetter in 1893, located at 2601 Second St. (with adjoining properties on 236 and 242 Beach) still stands. It is a single-family residence with two rental units. There’s another Hostetter home at 2623 Third St. Hostetter was a member of the Santa Monica Board of Trustees between 1896 and 1900, as well as chairman of the police, fire and light committees.

Another significant property in the neighborhood is the Colonial Revival four-square with a hipped roof and clapboard siding at 245 Hill St. It was built the late 1890s by Alvin Archer — founder of Ocean Park’s first volunteer fire brigade — and his wife Louetta, Ocean Park’s first postwoman.

For a complete list of the properties in the historic district e-mail to or visit

47. Moses Hostetter House, 1893
2601 Second St.

Moses Hostetter was an Iowa farmer who migrated to Santa Monica in 1893. He served on Santa Monica’s first Board of Trustees, and was chairman of the police, fire and light committees. In 1893, he bought lots at what are now 2547, 2601 and 2628 Second St.; 236, 237 and 242 Beach St. and 2623 Third St. for $45 each. Choosing to live next door to his son, he built a home at 2601 Second St., the second oldest house in the Third Street area.

48. Methodist Episcopal Church, 1875- 1876
2621 Second St.

The First Methodist Episcopal Church at 2621 Second St. is the fourth oldest historic building still standing in the Third Street district and the original First Methodist Episcopal Church of Santa Monica. The structure was originally built at the corner of Arizona Avenue and Sixth Street in 1875, and was moved to its Second Street location in 1900. In 1923, the Ocean Park congregation built a new church (at what is now the site of the Church in Ocean Park) and sold the building to the Stephen Jackson Women’s Relief Corps No. 124 of the Grand Army of the Republic, which held meetings there until 1971, when it was sold to an individual as a private residence.

49. Parkhurst Building, 1927
185 Pier Ave.
National Register of Historic Places

This property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This Spanish Colonial Revival statement has more to do with Venice’s history than Santa Monica. It was constructed for Clinton G. Parkhurst, the second to last mayor of Venice — before Venice became incorporated into the city of Los Angeles. Designed by Norman Marsh of Marsh, Smith and Powell; Marsh was responsible for the design of many of the prominent structures in Venice, including the plans for its arcaded streets and canals.

50. Craftsman-style Residence, 1913
502 Raymond Ave.

This property typifies residential development of the Ocean Park neighborhood during the first quarter of the 20th Century. The main structure was added in 1913; the guest house added in 1940.

51. Baxter Residence, 1907
2450 25th St.

This structure of merit is an intact example of American Foursquare style. The American Foursquare or the Prairie Box was a post-Victorian style common in the early 20th Century. Its boxy shape provided roomy interiors for homes on small city lots. This property originally resided at 1140 7th St.

52. Shotgun House, circa 1899
Santa Monica Airport

Shotgun houses were typically used as low-cost housing after the Civil War through the 1920s. Each room in this narrow one-story dwelling without halls is placed behind the other in single file. The style got its name because if fired a shotgun through the front door, the shot would pass through the lined-up doors of each room and out the back door.

53. Santa Monica Airport Rotating Beacon Tower, 1928
Adjacent to 3223 Donald Douglas Loop

The Rotating Beacon Tower represents one of the earliest navigational tools used in night flying. In the early air mail days of 1923, the Post Office worked to complete a transcontinental airway of beacons on towers spaced 15 to 25 miles apart, each with enough brightness, to be seen for 40 miles in clear weather. By June 1927, 4,121 miles of airways had lights. By 1933, 18,000 miles of airway and 1,500 beacons were in place. This tower was part of the Los Angeles national airway system and was moved from its original installation in Downey in 1952.

Addendum: “Schwarzenegger Plaza”, 1986
3110 Main St.

A personal vote for a local structure of note would be the office plaza at 3100
Main St. The most noteworthy aspect of property, which houses the eatery Schatzi, cigar emporium, is the mural of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger back in his
Terminator days and currently delights many local visitors. It has finally made it
into the Japanese tourist guides, along with Zuma J boardshop.

This series was originally written for the Santa Monica Daily Press.

If you have stories to tell of early Santa Monica and its property, share them with us. For your real estate needs, e-mail Jodi Summers at or call 310-260-8269.

A map of Santa Monica Landmark properties can be found by clicking here.