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19. Sovereign Apartments/Hotel, 1928 19. Sovereign Apartments/Hotel, 1928
205 Washington Ave.
National Register of Historic Places
Architect: Meyer-Radon

Sovereign Apartment Hotel
205 Washington Avenue

Another view


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.