Thursday, June 27, 2013

Historic Landmark Number 128

Like most departments within City Hall, the Planning staff wears many different hats.  In addition to land use approvals, zoning inquiries, and design review, the Planning Division also administers the City’s Historic Preservation Program.

The Historic Preservation Ordinance was adopted in 1995 and created a program to recognize structures that have historic or architectural significance by designating them as historic landmarks.  What makes Monrovia’s program unique and so successful is the fact that it is voluntary.  The property owner has to consent to the application.  The Historic Preservation Commission, a panel of Monrovia residents, was established to serve as an advisory body to the City Council on matters related to historic preservation.  

A couple of weeks ago, upon recommendation of the Historic Preservation Commission, the City Council approved the 128th historic landmark for the house at 201 Acacia Avenue.   This house was built in 1928 and is an example of the Tudor Revival style.  The house has been wonderfully maintained over the years and is substantially “intact”.  There are many typical elements incorporated into this house that are representative of the Tudor style including the steep gabled roof, half timbers, vertically oriented windows and an attractive arched entry trimmed with brick.  This house represents typical residential housing built in the late 1920s in Southern California reflecting the aesthetic of the Eclectic movement.

Eclectic movement?

As the California/Craftsman Bungalow craze of the teens and early 1920s began to fall out of favor, residential structures built during this period were a mix of architectural styles.  The Eclectic Revival styles took their cue from the Old World styles: Spanish, French, Mediterranean, Dutch and in the case of this house, English Tudor.  Name some architectural style from the past and there was probably a revival and it was probably in the Los Angeles area.  Here’s a few that come to mind:

Mayan Revival—Monrovia’s own Aztec Hotel
Pueblo Revival—338 Highland Place
Egyptian Revival—Egyptian Theater in Hollywood

While Eclecticism typically emphasized accurate copies drawn from the originals, Southern California examples from this period frequently took liberties by incorporating other architectural elements which often resulted in whimsical interpretations of established architectural styles, not unlike a Hollywood movie set.  Coincidence?  Some architectural historians think not.

For Monrovians, the Spanish Colonial Revival seemed to be the predominant style of choice during this period, but there are a fair number of Tudor, French and even a few Monterey and Colonial Revival sprinkled throughout our neighborhoods.

We hope we sparked your interest.