Category: Architecture

Arrowhead Springs Hotel

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After destruction by fire in 1938, an all-new hotel designed by Paul Revere Williams opened on December 16, 1939. The star-studded opening was broadcast over CBS radio.

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Images: uncited newspaper articles via https://www.sakoguchi.info/arrowhead-springs-hotelnew-gallery/ .

“Overlooking the San Bernardino Valley, the location was ideal for a resort. It sat atop natural hot springs, whose waters, at a scalding 202 degrees Fahrenheit, were much hotter than those at Europe’s most famous spas, one reporter dutifully noted. To partake of them, guests had only to press the down button when they stepped into the elevator. The curative powers of the springs had long been advertised, and the hotel that opened that December was actually the fourth on the site. Its predecessor, a massive Victorian pile, had burned down just the year before. That was the point at which an enterprising tycoon, Jay Paley, the uncle of CBS president William Paley, jumped in and recruited some of the movies’ biggest names to invest in what he hoped would be the industry’s most glamorous getaway.

“For the overall design, Paley hired Gordon B. Kaufman and Paul R. Williams. An African American who had done something unheard of in those days—he had erased the color barrier—Williams was one of Hollywood’s favorite architects and the designer of Paley’s own house in Los Angeles. He and Kaufman produced a U-shaped structure with six floors, 150 rooms and suites, a 300-seat theater and three dining areas. “Georgian modern,” it was called, but it also showed the influence of Art Déco. For the interior, Paley went all the way to New York and to a woman who knew very little about life in California but just about everything there was to know about interior design—Dorothy Draper. “First chop in the decorating business,” was how she was irreverently characterized in Westways magazine.”

Excerpt from Architectural Digest magazine: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/hotels-arrowhead-112008 . Click on the link for more information.

Learn about the architect at http://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/about/paul-revere-williams-architect/ .

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For a complete history, read Arrowhead Springs, California’s Ideal Resort by Mark Landis. http://landispublications.com/Publications_pg1.html .

 

•  •  •

Today marks one year of daily posts about southern California in 1939. In the future, posts will be less frequent.

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Lane-Wells

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Image: circa 1939 photo via https://martinturnbull.com/2013/10/12/lane-wells-company-headquarters-in-los-angeles-circa-1939/ .

“The work of architect William E. Mayer, Lane-Wells’ west coast headquarters was completed in 1937. Even in a city full of Streamline Moderne buildings, these two were exceptional. In addition to the horizontal banding typical of streamline style, Lane-Wells had vertical bands as well. On the main Administration Building these vertical bands cascade over the top, like a fountain.

“Were the vertical bands just a design flourish? Perhaps. Maybe they were meant to create a visual balance with the horizontal bars.

“I think the answer is none of the above. I think those vertical bands represent a fountain of oil. This place is an Art Deco temple to the gods of petroleum.”

Excerpt from http://www.decopix.com/the-lane-wells-story/ .

 

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Image: 1939 Lane-Wells company newsletter from http://www.decopix.com/the-lane-wells-story/ .

 

About Lane-Wells (from the excerpt link above):

“In December 1932, Walter T. Wells and Wilfred G. Lane convinced the Union Oil Company to let them test their “gun perforator” on a dry well in Montebello, California. The gun was a device, lowered into the well, that fired .45 calibre bullets laterally into the well housing.

“It was dangerous work and carried the possibility of damaging the well. But it worked. The next day, the “dry” well was pumping 32 barrels.

“Rejuvenating wells was good business. By 1947, the two-man startup had nearly 100 gun perforating trucks and had completed 92,000 perforating jobs. There were offices in Houston and Oklahoma City plus 40 field branches, but none could compare with company headquarters in Los Angeles.”

 

Arvin Co-Op Store

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Image: Dorothea Lange photo for U.S. Department of Agriculture via https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Arvin,_Kern_County,_California._Co-op_store_and_gas_station_established_December_1939_in_the_Arvin_F_._._._-_NARA_-_521769.jpg .

Arvin, Kern County, California. Co-op store and gas station established December 1939 in the Arvin Farm Labor Camp (F.S.A.) by sixty camp members each of whom contributed $1 to start the enterprise.

Arvin is 15 miles southeast of Bakersfield, California.

Guest ranch interior, Palm Springs

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Images: Deep Well Ranch, interior: California State Library, Mott Studios, 1936-1939 via http://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/gallery/deep-well-ranch-palm-springs-ca/ .

“America’s fascination with cowboys and the West has been part of our popular culture for more than a century. Capitalizing on this interest, Hollywood film studios produced hundreds of movies that romanticized cattle ranching and cowboy life. Ironically the majority of movie executives, directors and scriptwriters making these Westerns were ignorant of western life but this lack of knowledge did not stop them from creating hosts of fictional film heroes. During the Great Depression, when ordinary Americans only dreamed of the excitement seen on the movie screen, the wealthy could experience the western life by staying at a dude or guest ranch.”

Excerpts from the image link above. Learn more about the ranch at the link.

 

Theosophical Society

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Images: 1939 postcard via cardcow.com .

“The Theosophical Society is part of a universal, ethical and intellectual Movement, which has been active throughout the ages. In accordance with the cyclic laws of Nature, this Movement brought forth spiritual impulses which gave the initial impetus to the great religious and philosophical systems produced by humanity.”

Excerpt from http://www.blavatskyhouse.org/Theosophical_Society .

For a more in-depth story about this once-flourishing utopian community, see the Los Angeles Times 2003 newspaper article: http://articles.latimes.com/2003/aug/03/local/me-then3 .

 

Steamship moderne

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Image: artists concept from unknown source.

Of course, it’s streamline moderne.

“The Coca-Cola Building is a Coca-Cola bottling plant modeled as a Streamline Moderne building designed by architect Robert V. Derrah with the appearance of a ship with portholes, catwalk and a bridge from five existing industrial buildings in 1939. It is located at 1334 South Central Avenue in Los Angeles, California.”

Excerpt from https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Coca-Cola_Building_(Los_Angeles) .