“California Archives Month: Building on History’s Foundations,” is the theme for the 2018 California Archives Month Poster. The theme is selected each year by the California Archives Month Statewide Coordinating Committee.
From the homes of settlers of early California ranchos, to colorful Victorian-era houses, to mid-century modern structures, to towering skyscrapers, the buildings of California are unique. There are numerous iconic buildings such as the State Capitol in Sacramento, the TransAmerica pyramid in San Francisco, and the Capitol Records Building in Los Angeles. Other buildings, though less well-known, capture the history of significant individuals or communities and their impact on the state. This year’s Archives Month theme celebrates California’s architecture, including the planning and construction phases as well as completed buildings and restoration projects.
We are excited to exhibit images that reflect on this year’s Archives Month poster theme, “Building on History’s Foundations,” and its connection to California history and the unique character of our state. Archives, libraries, historical societies, museums and other repositories from around the state contributed images to this gallery below.
(The images displayed on this website may be protected under U.S. copyright law and are the property of the respective institutions that contributed them and/or the creators of the images. If you are interested in obtaining a reproduction of any of these images, displaying any of these images on another website, or otherwise publishing any of these images, then please contact the contributing institution for more information about permission to use the images. The contributing institutions are credited below each image.)
California Conservation Corps members excavating the Presidio Chapel site at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park prior to reconstruction, 1983. Courtesy of Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. [The Presidio, built in 1782, is the birthplace of the city of Santa Barbara.]
Several layers of wallpaper discovered during the 1990s restoration of Casa de la Guerra, the adobe home of José de la Guerra, the fifth comandante of the Santa Barbara Presidio. Courtesy of the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. [Finished in 1828, his home was the social, political, and cultural center of Santa Barbara during the Mexican period.]
Construction of the U.S. Mint, N.W. corner of 5th & Mission, San Francisco, 1872. Photograph by Eadweard Muybridge, PC-RM-Muybridge_003. Courtesy of the California Historical Society.
U.S. Mint, San Francisco. undated photograph by Taber. San Francisco Subjects Photography Collection, PC-SF, CHS2016_2246. Courtesy of the California Historical Society. [In 1874, construction of the U.S. Mint in San Francisco was complete and the building stood ready to serve a burgeoning state and local economy. As the only surviving financial institution of the 1906 earthquake, the Mint acted as the City’s central bank, receiving all federal relief funds and saving the City from economic chaos. It later served as an official repository for the US gold reserves. The 100,000-square-foot building was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961, and the federal government transferred the Old Mint to the City of San Francisco in 2003. Currently, the California Historical Society, along with the City of San Francisco is conducting studies into restoring this historic building and transforming it into a center of history, culture, and learning.]
University of California Affiliated Colleges (later UCSF) Buildings (in background) and Tent City in Golden Gate Park after the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake. UCSF History Collection. Courtesy of University of California San Francisco, Library, University Archives and Special Collections.
Colorado Street Bridge, circa 1925. B5-1XA. Courtesy of the Archives at Pasadena Museum of History. [The Colorado Street Bridge was designed by John Alexander Waddell of Kansas City, Missouri. Los Angeles contractor John Drake Mercereau modified the design to take advantage of the stronger foundation, which resulted in a curving structure with eleven supporting arches. It was the highest concrete bridge in the world when it was dedicated on December 13th, 1913. The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated as a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark.]
San Francisco City Hall, 1978. Robert Pruzan collection (#1998-36). Courtesy of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society. [San Francisco City Hall during the 1978 San Francisco Gay Freedom Day (now known as the San Francisco Pride Parade).]
California State Capitol, Sacramento, circa 1915. William M. McCarthy Photograph Collection, album 07, photograph 009. Courtesy of the California State Archives. [A view of the California State Capitol building and grounds. Located on the west end of Capitol Park, the neoclassical building’s construction began in 1860 and was completed in 1874. A parked automobile in the foreground has Grace McCarthy at the wheel, with William McCarthy sitting beside her, and two unidentified people in the backseat.]
Aquatic Park (Proposed), San Francisco, 1932 February. Original 36 x 28 inch, ink and pencil on linen drawing. Created by John M. Punnett for the Aquatic Park Committee. San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park architectural drawings collection, SAFR 18765, Collection HDC0555.01, Aquatic Park Series, File 1804. Courtesy of Maritime Research Center at the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park. [Aquatic Park is a designed historic landscape within San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park, west of Fisherman’s Wharf on the waterfront. In the 1930s and ’40s, the Federal Works Progress Administration and the City of San Francisco Department of Public Works collaborated on developing this area. Significant planning and construction of Aquatic Park occurred between 1920 and 1945. This early plan by John M. Punnett is notable in that is shows submerged and undeveloped water lots, proposed buildings and variations for what would become Muni Pier and the Highway 101 ferry terminus at the bottom of Hyde Street. Aquatic Park was successfully developed by the San Francisco Parks Commission and the Works Progress Administration between 1936 and 1939. In 1988 Aquatic Park became part of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park.]
View of Sather Tower, University of California, Berkeley , 1914. UARC PIC 08:7(b). Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Not to be reproduced in any form without written permission in advance from: Rights and Reproductions, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000 [Campanile 1914, Steel tower with granite construction nearly to half-way point]
Early elevation of Casa Grande at William Randolph Hearst’s estate at San Simeon, designed by architect Julia Morgan, with Hearst’s notes. Julia Morgan Papers. Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Construction of Casa Grande at William Randolph Hearst’s estate at San Simeon, designed by architect Julia Morgan, circa 1923. Julia Morgan Papers. Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.
Hearst San Simeon State Historical Monument, circa 1977. CSPA-494. Courtesy of California State Parks Archives.
A view from above the California State Capitol dome, looking over Capitol Park and buildings along N Street and beyond to tree-lined downtown Sacramento streets, 1936. A painting by Alfred Eichler (F3274:378), Dept. of Public Works, Architecture Division, Design Section Records . Courtesy of the California State Archives.
Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan Rendering – E. Stewart Williams, ca. 1959-60. Courtesy of the Palm Springs Art Museum. [The building, purchased by the Palm Springs Art Museum in 2011, is a classic midcentury international style structure designed by E. Stewart Williams in 1961 as the Santa Fe Federal Savings and Loan. After total renovation with restoration designs based on black-and-white photographs of the building taken by Julius Shulman, as well as Williams’ original drawings, it today serves as the Palm Springs Art Museum, Architecture and Design Center.]
Frey II Floor Plan – Albert Frey, ca. 1961-62. Courtesy of the Palm Springs Art Museum.
[Frey House II is the historically significant residence in Palm Springs that architect Albert Frey designed for himself in 1963 and bequeathed to the museum upon his death in 1998. This iconic structure is perched hillside above the museum with commanding views of the desert and city below.]
Berryessa Adobe, Martinez, California. Photo 167. Louis L. Stein Collection. Courtesy of the Contra Costa County Historical Society. [This adobe home was built in 1849 on the road to the ferry landing in Martinez by Jose de los Santos Berryessa, who married Francisca, the daughter of Ignacio Martinez. It was primarily a residence, but was also used by city and county officers (until the courthouse was completed in 1855), by teachers for school sessions, and for meetings of the Masonic Lodge. It was torn down after the 1906 earthquake.]
The first Contra Costa County courthouse. Courtesy of the Contra Costa County Historical Society. [Contra Costa County was officially formed on Feb. 18, 1850, and Martinez was selected as the county seat in 1851. The building of a regular courthouse was completed in 1855. The October 1868 quake on the Hayward Fault caused extensive damage throughout the county, and the courthouse in Martinez did not escape: the rear walls collapsed. Even after extensive repairs, the courthouse was still not considered safe. By 1899 there were plans to demolish it and build a larger and grander structure for a growing population that had now reached over 18,000. The old courthouse was razed in 1901.]
Oakley Family Home, Ontario, Calif., circa 1889. Courtesy of the Robert E. Ellingwood Model Colony History Room, Ontario City Library. [The Oakley family, pictured here, were Ontario pioneers. Herbert Oakley brought his family to Ontario in 1884, just two years after the town was founded to ranch citrus. The gentleman farmer had this stick-style home built in 1887, and the proud family poses in front as they boast their wealth as well as the abundance of water. The family is surrounded by orange trees, which transformed the southern California landscape starting in the 1880s. This handsome home still stands today on Ontario’s regal Euclid Avenue.]
University of California Affiliated Colleges Buildings (later UCSF), San Francisco, circa 1910-1915. Postcard by Pacific Novelty Company. photocoll_bpH_hospitals_affiliated colleges. UCSF History Collection. Courtesy of University of California San Francisco, Library, University Archives and Special Collections.
A low-angle view of the entrance of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The “Dick” Whittington Photography Collection, Identifying Number – isla id: S-4272. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Southern California Libraries
La Venta Inn with actors from the 1926 film, “The Girl from Montmartre.” Image number 000025338. Courtesy of Palos Verdes Library District. [This image (important to the history of the City of Palos Verdes Estates as well as to the history of the Los Angeles area film industry) is a view of La Venta Inn, which was the first permanent structure built on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, as part of the “Palos Verdes Project,” one of the first planned communities, not just in California but in the United States. The Project was planned by noted landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. The Inn served as the Project’s first sales office where potential landowners and realtors were entertained, enticing them to buy into the developing “Dream City”. In 1942, the Inn also became the central observation post of the coastal artillery. The building was designated a historic site by the Rancho de los Palos Verdes Historical Society and is is listed as a “Point of Interest” by the California State Historical Resources Commission in 1990.]
“Where Would You Rebuild Los Angeles?” pamphlet cover. Number cpv_000019. Courtesy of Palos Verdes Library District. [This sales brochure for the “Palos Verdes Project” encouraged people to buy into the newly developing residential area. The brochure noted the rapid growth in the population of Los Angeles and the necessary build-out towards the harbor that the city was facing to accommodate business and industry. The brochure promoted Palos Verdes, the “New City by the Sea,” as the ideal location to live: a residential neighborhood on the terraced land lifting out of the Pacific, secure from the intrusion of manufacturing and business of the “flat lands.” It was also in direct reference to the first planned residential development with zoning various uses including business districts, residential areas, church locations and apartment buildings.]
Pasadena City Hall, 1949. Photograph by J. Allen Hawkins Studio. C14-B12. Courtesy of the Archives at Pasadena Museum of History. [The Beautiful Pasadena City Hall, seen here from its east side featuring its courtyard, was designed by San Francisco Architects Bakewell and Brown and was completed on December 27, 1927. This Beaux-Arts building is an architectural example of the City Beautiful movement and is listed on National register of Historic Places.]
Aerial photograph of the Carson Mansion and lumber mill in Eureka, California, circa 1930. Palmquist Collection. Courtesy of Humboldt State University Library Special Collections.
Aerial photograph of the Carson Mansion and lumber mill in Eureka, California, August, 15, 1957. Shuster Collection. Courtesy of Humboldt State University Library Special Collections.
San Diego’s Carnegie Library, March 1948. Courtesy of Special Collections, San Diego Public Library. [Since its founding in 1882, the San Diego Public Library had struggled to find adequate funding
and a permanent home. The Wednesday Club, an “artistic and literary culture” club of San Diego women, adopted the library as their special project. Led by Lydia Knapp Horton, the wife of San Diego founder Alonzo Horton, the women began a library building fund. Lydia Horton corresponded with philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and he responded with the offer of $50,000 to build “a suitable library building.” San Diego’s Carnegie Library opened in 1902 and was the first Carnegie library building in California. A beautiful, Classical Revival style structure, it served San Diego for the next fifty years.]
Dome Theater, Santa Monica, 1957. The Osterhout Family Collection. Courtesy of the Santa Monica Public Library. [Scaffolding on top of the Dome Theater during the construction of Pacific Ocean Park amusement park in Santa Monica, 1957.]
Rendering of the Penguin Coffee Shop at the corner of Lincoln Blvd. and Olympic Blvd. in Santa Monica, 1959. Armet Davis & Newlove Collection. Courtesy of the Santa Monica Public Library. [This Googie style building was designed by architects Armet & Davis.]
Architectural model of Kaiser Center with rooftop garden, Oakland, Edgar F. Kaiser papers, BANC MSS 85/61. Courtesy of The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley. Not to be reproduced in any form without written permission in advance from: Rights and Reproductions, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-6000.
Castro Theater: Crawford Wayne Barton collection (#1993-11). Courtesy the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Historical Society.
The Farrar “Copper Spine House,” Carmel. Mark Mills Papers. Courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. [Designed by architect Mark Mills, the residence brought the owner as close to the water as possible. Built in 1965, it was demolished in 1996 and the archival record is the only remaining presence.]
Bonaventure Hotel, 404 South Figueroa Street, Los Angeles, Calif., 1977. The Wayne Thom Photography Collection, Identifying number – 7701-1050-33. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Southern California Libraries.
“Tower Trip: The Audio Adventure Designed to Expand your Musical Universe,” 1988. Client/Agency: Margo Chase Design. Design firm: Capitol Records. Art Director: Tommy Steele. Margo Chase Collection. Courtesy of Chase Design Group Archives. [This poster, featuring an abstract image of the Capitol Records building, was designed by Margo Chase and Lorna Stovall and was used as a promotional advertisement for a seminar on new music for college students.]
SLAC from the Sky, 2017. Courtesy SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
[Spread across 426 acres, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory’s campus boasts an array of distinctive and historic buildings, headlined by the 2-mile-long klystron gallery, the building that sits on top of the longest linear particle accelerator in the world. The End Station A Counting House and SPEAR (Stanford Positron Electron Accelerating Ring), where Nobel-Prize winning experiments in physics were conducted, are pictured in the forefront. The Highway 280 overpass is also visible in the background.]
SLAC Linac at Sunset. Courtesy SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory.
[The linear accelerator (or simply “linac”) at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is the world’s longest linear particle accelerator and has been designated an ASME National Historic Engineering Landmark and IEEE Milestone. Powered by klystrons housed in an above-ground gallery since its construction in 1962, it has been accelerating electrons and positrons over its 2-mile length in service to cutting-edge research and development. Today, portions of the accelerator power the Linac Coherent Light Source (LCLS), the world’s most powerful X-ray laser.]