by John Edward Powell
The Mainplace Merced Project, site of the proposed Cinemark multiplex theater, obligates the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Merced to make a reassessment of the historic significance and architectural integrity of the Central Hotel and all other properties located within the Area of Potential Effects (APE) bordering the perimeter of the project.
ARCHITECTURAL AND SOCIAL
The Central Hotel evolved over a 60-year
period (1879-1939) from a small rectangular two-story corner structure into a
much larger landmark building. This cornerstone Merced property has stood and
continuously functioned at the intersection of Main and Canal Streets for the
ensuing 60 years as well. Its natural and successful adaptation from a
vernacular brick box into a subtly-streamlined building was completed in
sequential phases by successive historic owners. By 1939, the property was
fully enlarged and equipped to meet the rapidly changing needs of a community
entering the modern era. Prominent regional architect C. E. Butner (1888-1957)
completed plans for the significant Streamlined Moderne style renovation of the
hotel in late 1939.
The Central Hotel's present appearance reflects "modernistic" architectural trends popularized during the 1930s. Adopting these styles, the nation systematically shed vestiges of the "old" (i.e., intricately-wrought surface ornamentation) by energetically embracing visible symbols of the "new." What was then considered new had a more spartan "modernistic skin." Examples of this metamorphosis from "old to new" preserve for us today a visual record of the concerted effort this country made to pull itself out of the economic chaos of the Great Depression. Modernistic styles symbolized new jobs, better wages, more personal spending and renewed hope for cities, counties and a country ravaged by mass unemployment and devastating stagnation in the building industry.
After World War II, the transitional modernistic styles of the 1930s (i.e., Art Deco, Moderne, PWA Moderne, Streamlined Moderne, Modernistic, Proto-Modern et al.) gave way to the more rigid and reductive design tenets of the International style. The new internationalism was almost universally adopted for commercial and institutional building during the worldwide construction boom of the 1950s. Within the context of a handful of extant modernistic properties still found in Merced, the Central Hotel is a representative example of a short-lived, intermediate moment in American architectural history. Locally, these properties exemplify the national stylistic trend that emerged between the passage of the lengthy Period Revival-style era (circa 1890-1940), and the rapid postwar proliferation of international minimalism during the second half of the 20th century. They also represent the widespread use of this stylistic model to upgrade and/or recycle older buildings during the 1930s. The Central Hotel qualifies for listing in the National Register of Historic Places with architectural and social significance.
A recounting of the owners, builders and architects who fashioned the Central Hotel for six decades reveals broad patterns of history. The documentation outlined in this media packet represents the level of review that will most likely surface when the Redevelopment Agency of the City of Merced meets state- and nationally-mandated environmental review procedures. The preparation of an EIR under CEQA or Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act will corroborate the historic significance of the venerable Central Hotel.
The following is a detailed summary of the 120-year history of the Central Hotel:
1873: A. M. Hunter purchased the Main and Canal corner (Block 162, Lots 9-11) for his blacksmith shop and home from the Contract and Finance Company, Samuel A. Hopkins, President.
Alexander M. Hunter (1822-1901), pioneer central valley blacksmith, moved to California from Wisconsin with his wife and four children during the early 1860s. Hunter, who initially settled in Sierra County, moved to Paradise, Stanislaus County, in 1867, then to Merced in 1870. His first blacksmith shop was located on Beer Creek, one mile below the townsite. In 1872, Hunter purchased the corner lot at Main and Canal Streets, on which he built a wood-frame building to house his business. After his retirement, A .M. Hunter's sons, Tom (Caswell Thomas) and Jim, carried on the business. With the conversion of the building into the Central Hotel by D. M. Bruschi, the brothers continued at the blacksmith trade working for William McDonald. C. T. Hunter (1875-1935) ran successfully for a seat on the city trustees and later served as mayor of Merced.
1878: Fire destroyed Hunter's blacksmith shop.
1878: Hunter & Sons cleared away the debris after the fire and announced that they would build a new brick building.
1879: Hunter's brick building approached completion.
1879: The Merced Express, a pioneer Central Valley newspaper, moved its publishing operation to the second floor of Hunter's new brick building.
1879: The Merced Express operated as of this date out of Hunter's new building under the proprietorship of William P. Stoneroad and W. L. Howell. During the late 19th century, the upper story also accommodated law offices, the justice court and the rooms of the Coakley Lodging House.
1884: A. M. Hunter sold his residence on lots adjoining his blacksmith shop. The dwelling was moved to make way for new commercial buildings.
1886: A. M. Hunter remodeled the front of his building to add two storefronts to the elevation facing Canal Street.
1893: D. M. Bruschi purchased Hunter's building.
Demetro M. Bruschi (1867-1937) was born in Coulterville, California, one of ten children of a pioneer Mariposa County merchant family. During his professional career, he owned the Quail Mine and managed a portfolio of diverse real estate holdings, including the Central Hotel from 1893 to 1912. His Main Street addition to the Hunter building, constructed in 1900, became known as the "Bruschi Building." Bruschi was a lifelong bachelor who made his fortune in the mining industry. His younger brother Frank, who died in 1939, was heralded as one of the finest ball players ever produced in Mariposa County. Frank was immortalized for being "the first to pitch a fast breaking curve ball on the Santa Clara [College] team." He later pitched for the Coulterville Miners, a much-honored Mother Lode ball club.
1898: D. M. Bruschi announced that he would make much-needed improvements to the Hunter building.
1899: It was announced that architect W. W. Oates of Stockton would remodel an unnamed building in Merced for D. M. Bruschi.
William W. Oates (1860-1908?), a native of Wisconsin, practiced in the Dakota Territory before moving west. By 1891, Oates had established himself in Stockton working as a carpenter. He subsequently formed a partnership for several years with Albert W. Keitle as Keitle & Oates, manufacturers of cabinets. During the mid-1890s, Oates worked both as an architect and as a plumbing inspector for the City of Stockton. He appears to have abandoned the inspector position by 1896. After this, he worked solely as an architect, taking on Walter King (1867-1940?) as a draughtsman. King, a native Californian, had trained in the San Francisco office of pioneer California architect Page Brown. The architectural partnership of Oates & King was formed by 1902, with offices in the Old Salz Building, 238 Main Street, Stockton.
Shortly thereafter, in June of 1902, Oates sold his home in Stockton and relocated to San Francisco to manage the firm's branch office there. That office was located in the Cape Ann Building at that time. Oates' son, W. Howard Oates, initially remained in Stockton working as a draughtsman alongside King. By 1907, the younger Oates had relocated to San Francisco, where his father's office was then listed in the Monadnock Building. There is no reference to either William W. Oates or W. Howard Oates in San Francisco after 1908. Neither is represented in 1914 state licensing records.
A short catalogue of turn-of-the-century work completed by W. W. Oates suggests that his practice stretched from Stockton to Merced and from San Francisco to Monterey. His commissions included the Salbach Building, Stockton (1897); a residence for the Superintendent of the [Stockton] State Hospital (1897); the J. D. Peters Residence on the Buhach Plantation (1899); the Bruschi Building, Merced (1900); alterations to Hale's Store, Stockton (1901-02); and a remodeling of the Stockton Masonic Temple (1902). Other projects credited to W. W. Oates include the Hotel Del Monte, Monterey; North School, Stockton; and the Odd Fellows Building, Tracy.
1899: D. M. Bruschi announced that he would let a contract to build a two-story building on his lot adjoining the Hunter building. The Hunter corner would also be remodeled into an "up-to-date building" reflecting an eclectic combination of popular 19th-century commercial styles with simple applied ornamentation.
1900: D. M. Bruschi let a contract to W. H. McElroy to build a first-class hotel. A newspaper editorial commented that it would be "a sadness" to see the old landmark Hunter building removed. This was an early expression of preservation sentiment for the then 21-year-old building.
William H. McElroy (1866-1946) was born in Keokuk, Iowa, of Irish immigrants. Raised on a farm, he left Ringgold County, Iowa, at age 17. After apprenticing three years as a carpenter, he took a job in the bridge department of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad Company, rising to the position of foreman of bridge construction. In 1888, McElroy migrated to California. After working as a carpenter in Merced and Fresno, he established his own construction firm in Merced in 1892. During the 1890s, he engaged in a short-lived partnership with pioneer contractor and builder Frank Rehorn (1862-1916) of Fresno. It is noted that the 1905 Rehorn Residence (Frank Rehorn, builder; Alexander Culbertson Swartz, architect) is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. In 1914, McElroy relocated his business to Eureka, but later returned to Merced. McElroy's expertise in bridge construction led to countless contracts to erect bridges throughout the central valley. He was also a leading manufacturer of brick in the region. He built many of Merced's finest older homes, Merced City Hall, Merced County Jail, the General Hospital and numerous commercial buildings, including the 1903 Pedreira Building located at Main and K Streets and the 1905 Merced Security Savings Bank (Goodwill Store) at 435 West Main Street. W. H. McElroy was a member of the Merced Elks Lodge No. 1240, the Fresno Builders Exchange, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Woodmen of the World.
1900: Architect W. W. Oates of Stockton traveled to Merced to attend to the Bruschi building project.
1900: D. M. Bruschi accepted his new building from the contractors.
1900: The second-floor lodging rooms in the new Bruschi Building were renamed the Central Hotel.
1900: The Central Hotel opened.
1905: A new annex to the Central Hotel was under construction and scheduled for completion by July 1. O. T. McCoon was the contractor. The 60' x 60' addition extended from the rear of the building to the alley. It had two stories and added seventeen hotel rooms.
Omer Trent McCoon (1878-1962) was born at Fort Scott, Kansas, the son of George Henry McCoon (1829-1917). G. H. McCoon was a native of New York and a Civil War veteran. He subsequently settled in Oregon, where he "engaged in mining and later followed the carpenter trade." Emulating his father, O. T. McCoon entered the field of building construction and real estate development, settling in Fresno at the turn of the century. One of his earliest projects was a contract to build the Central Hotel Annex in 1905. After this, O. T. McCoon entered into a number of lucrative real estate partnerships and speculative ventures. He was associated with John Bedford Daly (1870-1952), son of pioneer Superior Court Judge R. H. Daly, in the firm of McCoon & Daly; was a principal in City & Country Property Lands Loan Company; and served as president of the Fresno Realty Syndicate. With J. B. Daly he placed the 400-acre McCoon Colony on the market.
For some years McCoon also held large real estate holdings with S. N. Griffith (1852-1930), Charles Teague (1867-1942) and Alvin S. Kellogg (1864-1952). Griffith built the Griffith-McKenzie Building (Helm Building) with William H. McKenzie; made a fortune in the Coalinga, Kern and Taft oil fields; subdivided the Griffith Tracts and Forthcamp Addition; and laid out Recreation Park. Teague co-founded the Shepherd-Teague Land Company, colonized over 60,000 acres in Fresno County, organized Producers Oil Company (developing oil in the Midway field) and maintained offices in New York, St. Paul and London. Kellogg, who resided in Fresno before relocating to the Bay Area, was an active capitalist and investor in Fresno County properties. McCoon's association with these and other land investors earned him major press in local newspapers for negotiating "big deals" in agricultural land sales.
In 1916, O. T. McCoon moved to Yuma, Arizona, where he "became a leading real estate operator and took a prominent part in instigating the Yuma Project and the Wellton-Mohawk Project." Active in civic affairs in Arizona, he served as president of the Yuma County Chamber of Commerce, and was identified as a "Pioneer Yuma Realtor" at the time of his death in 1962 at the age of 83.
1905: The Central Hotel Annex was completed. O. H. McCoon was the architect.
Otis Henry McCoon (1883-1958) was born in Vancouver, Washington, the son of George Henry McCoon (1829-1917). G. H. McCoon was a native of New York and a Civil War veteran. He subsequently settled in Oregon, where he "engaged in mining and later followed the carpenter trade." Emulating his father, O. H. McCoon worked as a carpenter, builder-architect and then as a superintendent of construction. Although he settled in the East Bay in 1896, where he resided almost exclusively in Oakland and Berkeley until his death, O. H. McCoon did move for a short period of time to Fresno. There he worked with his brother, Omer T. McCoon, a builder and real estate developer at that time. It was during this association with his brother that O. H. McCoon prepared plans and specifications for the Central Hotel Annex.
1912: A. F. Pedreira and T. R. Stone bought the Central Hotel. It had 75 feet of frontage on Main Street by 150 feet frontage on Canal Street.
Antonio Freitas Pedreira (1860-1922) was a native of the Azores Islands. He emigrated to the United States in 1878. After settling in Merced in 1882, Pedreira became "one of the best known and most prominent residents" of the city. Building one of the largest sheep ranching operations in the region while managing herds in Merced, Madera and Fresno Counties, Pedreira became one of the most successful wool growers in the San Joaquin Valley. His principal ranch, still held by the Pedreira family, was located between Mendota and Coalinga. Additionally, he represented Simon & Manasse, San Francisco wool merchants, in Merced. Later in life he operated a dry goods store, Pedreira & Pitzer, with Albert Pitzer, and managed his extensive real estate holdings. Among these were the 1903 Pedreira Building (sold by the family in 1928 after Pedreira's death) and the Central Hotel, which he purchased in partnership with T. R. Stone in 1912. A. F. Pedreira served as a city trustee from 1902 to 1904, and was recognized during his career for actively "promoting the civic advancement" of the community. His civic associations included membership in Yosemite Lodge No. 99, F. & A.M.; Blue Lodge and Merced Chapter No 12, R.A.M.; Fresno Consistory No. 8, Scottish Rite; Islam Temple, A.A.O.N.M.S., of San Francisco; and the Snelling I.O.O.F. Lodge.
Thomas R. Stone (1862-1928) was born in Alamo, Alameda County, though he was later raised and educated in Los Angeles. After working for a time as a clerk in San Francisco, he settled in Merced in 1883. There he initially served as a clerk in several local stores. He also worked for the Chowchilla Ranch. He founded a stationary, notions and confectionery shop in the late 1880s, which he sold at the time of his retirement in 1914. At the turn of the century, he also operated the only fine art gallery in the community. During his 45-year tenure in Merced, Stone acquired extensive property interests, including his partnership in the Central Hotel. In addition to his business concerns, T. R. Stone was a charter member of Yosemite Parlor, No. 24, of the Native Sons.
1913: Fire destroyed a ground-floor storefront in the Central Hotel. The fire started in the basement.
1915: A. F. Pedreira and T. R. Stone had plans and specifications prepared to "lower the floor to official grade and . . . install modern plate glass fronts."
1917: Contractor W. K. Widenmann was awarded a contract for $3000 to remodel the Central Hotel. The floors of the hotel lobby and of the vacant storefronts were lowered to street level, and a "modern front" was installed.
William K. Widenmann (1866-1952) was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, of German-born parents. He settled in Merced in 1899. After working as a carpenter in the community for 10 years, he established his own construction firm. During his career he completed numerous renovations of older Merced buildings. One of his landmark projects was a two-story home for Dr. D. W. Zirker in 1916. His community affiliations included membership in the Merced Elks Lodge No. 1240, the Yosemite Masonic Lodge No. 99, and the R.A.M. Chapter No. 12. His wife, Julia Keller Widenmann (1870-1955), a native of Denmark, was instrumental in organizing the Merced County Old Timers Association.
1927: The Central Hotel underwent a major remodeling to add a stamped metal marquee awning. J. E. Fritz was the general contractor.
Julius Edward Fritz (1886-1973) was a prominent early 20th-century building contractor in Merced. A native Californian, Fritz settled in the community in 1915, and quickly established himself as leading builder of custom homes and commercial structures. During the late 1930s, he completed striking modernizations of the Olcese-Garibaldi Building and the Lewis Building, the latter the former opera house. Both of these facade upgrade projects were designed by architect Charles E. Butner of Salinas. In addition to being a prominent member and officer of the Merced Builders Exchange, Fritz served as a city trustee from 1934 to 1937, though he ultimately resigned over philosophical objections to the city administration's approach to democratic governance. Fraternally, he was active in the Yosemite Lodge No. 99 F. & A.M.
1928: Upon completion of the imposing Hotel Tioga in 1928, the Central Hotel ranked third in size after the Tioga (Shea & Shea, Architects, of San Francisco) and the El Capitan (Edward T. Foulkes, Architect, of San Francisco, Portland and Fresno). In 1936, reconstruction and expansion plans for the fire-damaged El Capitan, originally built in 1912, were prepared by Kent & Hass, Architects, of San Francisco.
1939: The Central Hotel underwent a major remodeling for Isaac Pedreira (and his sister, Jessie Pedreira) and Mrs. David D. Dowst. Charles E. Butner of Salinas was the architect. C. B. Cameron of Merced was the general contractor.
Charles E. Butner was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, on July 31, 1888. He completed his education at the University of Pennsylvania in 1911, studying under legendary Beaux-Arts architect and educator Paul Cret. After leaving Philadelphia, Butner worked in New York for the Russell Sage Foundation, for which architect Grosvenor Atterbury and landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr. were then designing Forest Hills Gardens, a socially progressive suburban community in New York.
In 1914, Butner and his former college classmate Edward Glass (1886-1954) formed the firm of Glass & Butner in Fresno. The young firm secured many substantial residential and commercial commissions until the advent of World War I, when Butner joined a U.S. Army Aero Squadron and served in France as a pilot. In 1919, after the war, Glass & Butner opened a branch office in San Francisco. Winning a design competition for a War Memorial Veterans Building in San Francisco, the two architects saw their grand proposal fall to controversy arising from regional architectural politics. Glass and Butner dissolved their partnership in the early 1920s. Glass remained in San Francisco, Butner in Fresno. During the mid-1930s, the partnership was revived for several years after Edward Glass returned to Fresno.
During the early Depression, Butner moved to Salinas. He quickly became a prominent civic leader there and built a thriving architectural practice in the Monterey Bay area. Nonetheless, from his Salinas-based office Butner continued to serve clients throughout the central valley. Butner's 1932 design for Fresno Hardware Company's new facility, featuring a "modern tile and glass front," and plans, a year later, for a medical office project for Dr. Roscoe F. Wallace of Fresno, were among his first bold experiments using imagery popularized by the Moderne Movement during the 1930s.
From 1934 to 1939, Butner completed a number of high-profile projects in Merced, including John Simonson's Bear Creek residence (1934); Joe Fausone's restaurant and bar (1935); alterations to D. K. Stoddard's residence (1935); the Physicians Building (1936); the Andrew R. Schottky Residence (1936); a "Cape Cod" style residence for A. H. Woodside (1936); a "modernistic" facade for the 1885 Lewis Building (1937), formerly the community Opera House; modernization of the 1928 Hill Building (1938), originally designed by Swartz & Ryland, Architects, of Fresno; the 1939 Streamlined Moderne remodel of the Olcese-Garibaldi Building, originally designed by pioneer California architect John W. Bones (1818-1901) in 1886 and redesigned after an 1896 fire by Alexander Culbertson Swartz (1846-1919), also a pioneer California architect; a Spanish Revival style bell tower for Ivers & Alcorn Mortuary (1939); the Nash Booth residence (1939); and the dramatic "Moderne-ization" of the venerable Central Hotel (1939).
During 1939, Butner also secured a number of commissions in Salinas. These included a Danish style Lutheran Church, an Early California Ranch style clubhouse for Boy Scout Troop No. 44, a Colonial style clubhouse for the Airport Civic League and a Moderne style medical office for Dr. W. H. Lawler and Dr. W. D. Meyenberg.
Unlike many Beaux Arts-trained architects, Butner adapted well to the Modern Movement as it took hold after World War II. One of his distinctive works from this period was Mel's Drive-In Restaurant in Salinas, a classic International style period piece published nationally in 1952.
Charles E. Butner managed the firm until his death on June 10, 1957. Three Butner-designed buildings located in Fresno are listed in the National Register of Historic Places with architectural significance: the Fresno Republican Printery Building (1919), now home of the Downtown Club; the Physicians Building (1926); and Twining Laboratories (1929).
Carl B. Cameron (1872-1954) was born in Clark County, Missouri. He moved as a child with his family to Hutchinson, Kansas, where he received his education in local schools. In 1905, Cameron came to California. He settled in Merced in 1914, establishing the firm of C. B. Cameron & Son with his son Lawrence. This father and son construction company built a wide range of projects including custom homes, commercial stores, schools and bridges. Among his notable projects were contracts for the Elks Club, Merced Clinic, Safeway Grocery and the Central Hotel. Fraternally, he was affiliated with the Yosemite Lodge No. 99, F. & A.M., Merced.
Isaac A. Pedreira (1899-1961), son of A. F. Pedreira and Mary Freitas Pedreira, was raised in Merced and received his early education there. During summer breaks from his studies at the University of California, Berkeley, Isaac Pedreira worked for N. L. Salter at the latter's Emerald Bay resort on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Pedreira began his professional career with the Bank of America, assigned to positions in San Francisco and later Merced. In 1937, he was appointed to the Merced Planning Commission. With his sister, Jessie Pedreira Nosman (a resident of San Francisco who taught elementary school in Merced during the 1920s), and Julia S. Dowst, Pedreira commissioned Charles E. Butner to modernize the Central Hotel in 1939. Pedreira subsequently resigned his position with Bank of America in 1943, to assume management of Valley Finance Company. Like his father before him, Isaac Pedreira was visibly involved in community affairs. During his career he maintained affiliations with Yosemite Lodge No. 99, F. & A.M., Merced Lodge No. 1240 B.P.O Elks, American Legion Post No. 83, Merced Rotary Club and Merced Council No. 29 U.P.E.C. He also served as director of the Merced Irrigation District, treasurer of the Merced Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the community Heart Fund.
Julia S. Dowst (1875-1954), widow of retired Merced Captain of Police David D. Dowst (1873-1938), was a homemaker. She inherited a one-half interest in the ownership of the Central Hotel upon the death of her husband. David D. Dowst had inherited the property from his sister, Lydia Dowst Stone, widow of T. R. Stone.
1939: The Streamlined Moderne style remodeling of the Central Hotel was completed.
The Central Hotel was the last in a series of major modernizations of prominent downtown Merced buildings completed between 1936 and 1940. This burst of construction activity followed what had been a prolonged period of severe economic plight locally. Merced's fiscal problems mirrored national conditions, but were greatly exacerbated by the protracted bond crisis suffered by the Merced Irrigation District (MID). Resolution of the water district's debt, under terms arranged by the U.S. Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC), triggered a local building boom in 1935.
The modernization projects that followed the MID settlement were conceived to stimulate employment in the construction industry, upgrade and improve the appearance of the community during the depths of the Depression, encourage retail shoppers to take their business to the central district, and help Merced qualify for federal grants and loans available through the WPA and PWA. Hence, the Merced downtown modernization program paralleled a national momentum to strengthen the American economy and put people back to work.
Local newspapers, federal housing initiatives like FHA and influential journals such as Architect & Engineer actively promoted modernization programs of this type. In California, cities like San Francisco, Oakland and Fresno actively encouraged similar initiatives as well. Much of the local modernization was coordinated in Merced for private-sector clients by architect Charles E. Butner.
A proposed Gateway Theatre, designed by renowned Los Angeles architect S. Charles Lee (1899-1990) in 1939, was never completed. The dramatic rendering of its design also reflected the Moderne trend that Merced embraced during this period. Lee's Tower Theatre in Fresno was, however, built at this time.
1947: The newly-completed United Airlines Passenger Station became the first International style building in Merced to receive major national and international attention. Designed by San Francisco architects Franklin, Kump & Falk (the firm of Franklin & Kump had formerly been active in Fresno), the facility was profiled in the influential professional journal Progressive Architecture. In an issue devoted to the International School of architectural design, the periodical reviewed Modern style buildings in Germany, Sweden, Brazil and the U.S., stating emphatically that this was the "architecture of the United States emerging."
1961: Thomas O. Pedreira, CPA, assumed management of the Central Hotel for the Dowst and Pedreira heirs.
1981: The second story of the Bruschi Annex to the Central Hotel was destroyed by fire. The entire Main Street elevation, the corner facade, the Moderne style bartizan bay window, the concentrically-stepped parapet of the tower and over 83% of the L Street elevation were spared.
1985: The Central Hotel was inventoried in a historic building survey completed by the City of Merced. It was given a rating of 3/3D. This designation indicated that the property was potentially eligible for listing in the National Register at that time. The rating also identified the building as a "contributing property" within the boundaries of a proposed downtown historic district.
1997: Cherilyn Widell, State Historic Preservation Officer, confirmed the 3/3D rating and the eligibility of the Central Hotel for listing in the California Register of Historic Resources and the National Register of Historic Places.
1998: The Mainplace Merced Project is approved, threatening the future of the historic Central Hotel.
1999: The Fifth District Court of Appeals issues its opinion in the matter of Citizens for Historical Preservation of Downtown Merced, a California nonprofit public benefit corporation, Petitioner & Appellant, vs. Redevelopment Agency of the City of Merced, Respondent.
The Central Hotel, historically known during its earliest incarnations as Hunter's Brick Building and the Bruschi Building, has stood for 120 years. It evolved through six major architectural phases during that period on one of the most prominent intersections in downtown Merced.
Enduring floods, fires, a threat to its economic viability during the Great Depression and multiple renovations, the Central Hotel has met the single greatest test of historic preservation: IT HAS SURVIVED THE TEST OF TIME.
1. It has survived 120 years, far in excess of the 50-year period required to merit historic recognition.
2. It displays substantial architectural (material) integrity and embodies revealing aspects of each of its significant construction phases.
3. It has, through independent research, revealed broad patterns of heretofore unrecognized, or previously undocumented, regional architectural history.
4. It reflects strong associations with prominent pioneer personalities who distinguished themselves during the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the Central San Joaquin Valley.
5. In its present form it represents a distinctive moment in the architectural history of Merced.
This chronicle of the Central Hotel clearly supports its eligibility for listing in the National Register at the local level of significance under Criterion C (architectural significance) and Criterion B (social significance and association). If listed, the Central Hotel would join an unusually restrictive catalogue of only eight Merced properties presently recognized by the U.S. Department of the Interior in the National Register of Historic Places.
Basic Rule of Integrity
Department of Interior guidelines definitively state that all "properties change over time. It is not necessary for a property to retain all its historic physical features or characteristics. The property must retain, however, the essential physical features that enable it to convey its historic identity. The essential features are those features that define both why a property is significant (Applicable Criteria and Areas of Significance) and when it was significant (Periods of Significance)." National Register Bulletin No. 15 (NRB 15 8.46)
The architectural integrity of the Central Hotel meets or exceeds U.S. Department of the Interior requirements for individual and/or district listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Comprehensive integrity calculations are as follows:
1. The building exceeds the minimum age requirement of 50 years.
2. Structural components of the oldest wing of the building are 120 years old.
3. Design features of the principal facades facing Main and L Streets are 60 years old, exceeding the 50-year minimum by a full decade.
4. As observed today, the building's general appearance, allowing for multiple dates and periods of significance (1879, 1900, 1905, 1917, 1927 and 1939), predominantly conforms to the most recent date of 1939. This 1939 Streamlined Moderne exterior modernization of the building yields solid integrity statistics. The integrity of the Central Hotel is in excess of minimum applicable standards that customarily range from 66 to 75%.
a. Historic 1939 floor plates are 80% intact.
b. Historic 1939 exterior fenestration, construction fabric, material finishes and distinctive ornamental features are 75% intact.
c. Exterior structural walls are 85% intact.
d. Extant historic second-story hotel interiors are virtually 90% intact, aside from a missing section of stairwell bannister railing. A full section of extant bannister remains in place at the top landing of the hotel reception room.
e. Other than its second-story hotel rooms, which have not been operational since 1960, the Central Hotel is fully leased. Its ground-floor retail bays have remained in continuous mixed-use commercial operation (retail and service sector uses) since 1904, far exceeding the 50-year test for uninterrupted function by 45 years. It is a self-supporting, income-producing property at this time.
f. Since 1955, alterations to the building have been minor in nature, consisting of minimal tenant improvements, electrical and mechanical repairs, HVAC upgrades and sign installations. A 1981 fire on the second floor destroyed 17 hotel rooms. Twenty-three rooms survived intact, preserving both turn-of the-century and 1939 interior decors.
Under NRB 15 8.44-46 (Integrity), the Central Hotel handily meets provisions for integrity of location, design, setting, materials and workmanship. Additionally, categories of integrity related to "feeling" and "association" are supported by the architectural history of the property.
Annotated Major Bibliography
The following libraries, public agencies, historical archives, collections, indexes and community directories were utilized to document the architectural history of the Central Hotel, as well as to assess other significant historic properties located within the Area of Potential Effects (APE) generated by the Mainplace Merced project:
California State Library, California History Room
California State University, Fresno; Microforms Department, Henry Madden Library
California State University, Fresno; Sanoian Special Collections Library, Henry Madden Library
Fresno Bee Editorial Library
Fresno County Library
Los Angeles Public Library, Regional History and Genealogy Room
Merced County Library
Salinas Public Library
Stockton Public Library
University of California, Berkeley, Architecture & Urban Planning Library, College of Environmental Design
University of Southern California, Art & Architecture Library
Yuma (Arizona) County Public Library
Alameda County Recorder
City of Merced, Development Services Department (post-1950 building permits)
Fresno County Recorder
Los Angeles County Recorder
Merced County Recorder
San Francisco County Recorder
San Joaquin County Recorder
Santa Cruz County Recorder
Yuma (Arizona) County Recorder
Fresno City and County Historical Society Archives
Merced County Historical Society Photographic Archives
Yuma (Arizona) City Cemetery Burial
Archives (block 3, lot 12, spaces 1-3)
Collections and Indexes
Architect and Engineer of California/Architect and Engineer Index
Ben Walker Index
California Architect & Building News Index
California State Death Index
CenCal Archidex: Central California Architectural Index, 1874-1955
Central Hotel Accounts Payable Ledger, courtesy of Thomas O. Pedreira
Image Group Marketing Communications, Inc., Claude "Pop" Laval aerial photography series
Index to Assessment Roll, Merced County, California, 1905
Index to Precinct Registers, Fresno County, California, 1916
Index to Precinct Registers, Merced County, California, 1900-1912
LDS (Latter-Day Saints) Genealogy Index
National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places Database
Sanborn Insurance Maps, 1888, 1891, 1898 and 1907
Simonson & Harrell Abstract of Title, courtesy of Thomas O. Pedreira
Sam Suhler Local History and Newspaper Index
Social Security Death Index
Southwest Builder & Contractor Index
Thirteenth Census of the United States: 1910 Population
Guide to Historic Architecture in Fresno, California
Berkeley City Directories
Fresno City Directories
Merced City Directories
Oakland City Directories
San Francisco City Directories
Stockton City Directories
Yuma (Arizona) City Directories
Building References: 19th Century
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, April 12, 1879, p. 3. [The Merced Express newspaper moved its printing operation to the second floor of Hunter & Sons building]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, April 19, 1879, p. 3. [The Merced Express newspaper occupied its printing operation on the second floor of Hunter & Sons building]
Publication Information, Merced Express, April 26, 1879, p. 1. [Wm. P. Stoneroad & Co., Wm. P. Stoneroad and W.L. Howell, Proprietors. The location of the newspaper's office was noted as the corner of Seventeenth and L Streets on the second floor of Hunter's new building]
"Town and County Matters," Merced Express, September 28, 1878, p. 3. [Fire destroyed Hunter & Sons blacksmith shop]
"Town and County Matters," Merced Express, October 12, 1878, p. 3. [Hunter & Sons announced construction of a new brick building]
"Town and County Matters," Merced Express, January 11, 1879, p. 3. [Hunter & Sons new brick blacksmith shop was nearly completed]
"Looking Backward: December 20, 1884," Merced Express, December 19, 1914, p. 3. [A. M. Hunter sold his dwelling at Main and L (Canal) Streets]
"Looking Backward: January 23, 1886," Merced Express, January 22, 1916, p. 3. [A. M. Hunter remodeled his building to include two storefronts on L (Canal) Street]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, February 25, 1898, p. 3. [D.M. Bruschi announced his plans to make improvements to his property at the corner of Main and Canal Streets]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, May 12, 1899, p. 3. [D.M. Bruschi retained architect W. W. Oates of Stockton to design a new building to adjoin the Hunter Building]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, November 17, 1899, p. 3. [D. M. Bruschi let a contract for construction of his new building and the remodeling of the Hunter Building]
Snyder, John William, Index of San Francisco Building, 1879-1900, Berkeley, University of California, Graduate Division, 1975. [This resource is a comprehensive index of California Architect & Building News and includes announcements of architectural commissions and building permits in the Central San Joaquin Valley]
Building References: 20th Century
Advertisement, "The Central Hotel," Merced Evening Sun, April 8, 1902, p. 2. [This and other advertisements indicate that the Central Hotel catered to traveling businessmen]
"Brief Items of Local Interest," Merced Evening Sun, August 31, 1903, p. 4. [The Central Hotel came under new management]
"Brief Items of Local Interest," Merced Evening Sun, September 7, 1903, p. 4. [D. M. Bruschi announced his preliminary plans to add fourteen hotel rooms to the Central Hotel]
"Brief Items of Local Interest," Merced Evening Sun, October 6, 1903, p. 4. [Stockton architect W. W. Oates was sued for divorce and removed his office to San Francisco]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, February 2, 1900, p. 3. [D.M. Bruschi planned to improve his building]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, March 30, 1900, p. 3. [Stockton architect W.W. Oates was in Merced to inspect Bruschi's building]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, June 8, 1900, p. 3. [D.M. Bruschi accepted the completed building from the contractors]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, July 20, 1900, p. 3. [The Bruschi Building was renamed the Central Hotel]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, August 3, 1900, p. 3. [The Central Hotel opened]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, March 28, 1903, p. 3. [D.M. Bruschi announced plans to build an annex to the Central Hotel]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, April 1, 1905, p. 3. [D.M. Bruschi remained in Merced to superintend construction of the annex to the Central Hotel. His original plans were amended to add seventeen new guest rooms, as well as new bath and toilet facilities]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, May 13, 1905, p. 3. [A.H. Murray received the plumbing contract for the Central Hotel Annex]
"Memorandum of Builder's Contract," Simonson & Harrell Abstract of Title, pp. 184-6. [Contract dated March 9, 1905. Plans and specifications for the construction of the Central Hotel Annex were filed with the Merced County Recorder's office on March 25, 1905; O. T. McCoon, General Contractor; O. H. McCoon, Architect]
"Notice of Completion of Building," Simonson & Harrell Abstract of Title, p. 204. [Merced County Records, August 18, 1905 (bk. c, misc.)]
"The Central Hotel Annex," Merced Express,April 1, 1905, p. 3. [O. T. McCoon listed was as the contractor]
"Brief Items of Interest," Merced Evening Sun, June 14, 1917, p. 3. [W. K. Widenmann installed a modern front on the Central Hotel]
"Deed," Simonson & Harrell Abstract of Title, p. 243. [A. F. Pedreira and T. R. Stone purchased the Central Hotel from D. M. Bruschi. Merced County Records, January 23, 1912 (bk. 95, p. 538)]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, July 31, 1915, p. 3. [A. F. Pedreira and T. R. Stone prepared plans to remodel the ground floor of the Central Hotel with "modern" plate glass storefronts]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, September 11, 1915, p. 3. [W. K. Widenmann remodeled tenant space in the Central Hotel]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, June 16, 1917, p. 5. [A. F. Pedreira and T. R. Stone hired W. K. Widenmann to remodel the ground floor of the Central Hotel]
"Looking Backward: Interesting Items Taken from the Express Files - August 30, 1913," Merced Express, September 1, 1938, p. 2. [The Central Hotel suffered $20,000 in fire damage, but was saved from total destruction]
"Looking Backward: Interesting Items Taken from the Express Files - January 27, 1912," Merced Express,
January 28, 1937, p. 3. [A. F. Pedreira and T. R. Stone purchased the Central Hotel from D.M. Bruschi]
"Construction Soars to New High Record for Merced in 1927," Merced Sun-Star, January 5, 1928, pp. 1, 5. [The 1917 remodeling of the Central Hotel was referenced in this article]
"Two Cafes Sell in Merced; New Building Starts," Merced Sun-Star, November 3, 1927, p. 1. [The new Central Hotel metal awning was mentioned]
"Work Speeds on New Buildings," Merced Sun-Star, December 15, 1927, p. 3. [W. K. Widenmann began installing all-metal Marquise awnings downtown]
"Building Activity During '39 Nears All-Time Record," Merced Express, December 28, 1939, p. 2.
Central Hotel Accounts Payable Ledger, October 5, 1939, check entry no. 18. [Payment was issued to C. B. Cameron & Son for balance of the building contract]
Central Hotel Accounts Payable Ledger, October 5, 1939, check entry no. 19. [Payment was issued to C. E. Butner for architectural fees]
"Rad's Ramblings: Central Hotel Building," Merced Sun-Star, June 24, 1939, p. 8. [The Moderne style rehabilitation of the Central Hotel was under way by this date]
Reich, Vic, "Jottings," Merced Express, August 10, 1939, p. 1. [Renovation of the Central Hotel was completed as of this date]
"Panoramic Photographic View of Main Street, Merced, California," circa 1941, Historic Postcard Collection, Merced County Historical Society. [An excellent view of the Central Hotel along its Main Street frontage documenting the 1939 "modernization" of the building shortly after its completion]
Abeyta, Daniel for Cherilyn Widell, State Historic Preservation Officer, State of California: Correspondence to Frank Quintero, Development Coordinator, City of Merced, July 18, 1997. [This statement, referencing the Mainplace Merced project, clearly identified the potential of substantial adverse change to the built environment and historical resources that would require the completion of an environmental impact report (EIR)]
Foster, Nanette, "Nighttime Fire Guts Central Hotel Building," Merced Sun-Star, August 5, 1981, pp. 1, 3.
Griffith, Jerry, "Another Landmark of Merced History is Victim of Fire," Merced Sun-Star, August 5, 1981, p. 3.
Contributing Biographies and Local Biographical News Items
Advertisement, "C.O.D. Store: A. F. Pedreira and Albert Pitzer," Merced Evening Sun, May 7, 1902, p. 1.
Advertisement, "Own Your Own Home," Merced Express, March 25, 1905, p. 3. [O. T. McCoon, Contractor and Builder]
"Brief Items of Local Interest," Merced Evening Sun, May 4, 1903, p. 4. [B. G. McDougall registered at the Central Hotel]
"Building a Cottage," Merced Express, August 28, 1909, p. 3. [A.F. Pedreira built a new dwelling]
"Bullard Secures 1,600 Acre Silva Ranch for $100,000," Fresno Morning Republican, June 18, 1911, p. 7. [McCoon & Kellogg negotiated large land transactions]
"City Planners to Study City Number Plans," Merced Express, November 18, 1937, p. 1. [Isaac Pedreira sat on the commission that implemented this review]
"Council Names R. A. Jones to Succeed Fritz," Merced Express, June 17, 1937, p. 1.
"Do You Remember? Interesting Items from Express Files: 30 Years Ago - July 17, 1909," Merced Express,
July 13, 1939, p. 2. [A. F. Pedreira hired W. H. McElroy to construct an addition to Pedreira's Main Street building]
"Do You Remember? Interesting Items from Express Files: 20 Years Ago - August 16, 1919," Merced Express, August 17, 1939, p. 2. [Isaac Pedreira spent the summer at Emerald Bay working for N. L. Salter, then returned to study at Berkeley]
"Do You Remember? Interesting Items from Express Files: 20 Years Ago - December 6, 1919," Merced Express, December 7, 1939, p. 2. [Jessie Pedreira was a student at San Jose Normal School at this time]
Guinn, J. M., "William H. McElroy," History of the State of California and Biographical Record of the San Joaquin Valley, California, Chicago, Chapman Publishing Co., 1905, p. 527.
"Local and Personal," Merced Express, December 16, 1927, p. 1. [Isaac Pedreira lived and worked in San Francisco at this time]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, July 16, 1897, p. 3. [A. F. Pedreira and his bride, Mary Frietas, returned from their honeymoon]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, March 16, 1900, p. 3. [A. F. Pedreira and Albert Pitzer opened a dry goods store on Main Street]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, April 27, 1907, p. 3. [Mrs. A. F. Pedreira, who had been ill for several weeks, was taken to Burnett Sanitarium in Fresno]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, July 17, 1909, p. 3. [A. F. Pedreira let a contract to W. H. McElroy to build a 54-foot single-story building on Main Street]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, September 18, 1909, p. 3. [A.F. Pedreira and Albert Pitzer enlarged their dry goods store on Main Street]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, June 6, 1914, p. 3. [Local league baseball was played at "Pedreira Park" at this time]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, September 9, 1916, p. 3. [W. K. Widenmann built a residence for Dr. D. W. Zirker]
"Married," Merced Express, July 16, 1897, p. 3. [A. F. Pedreira and Mary Frietas were married in Oakland on July 4, 1897]
"Planning Commission Appointed," Merced Express, November 4, 1937, p. 1. [Isaac Pedreira was one of six citizens appointed to the commission]
"Rad's Ramblings: Frank Bruschi," Merced Sun-Star, April 10, 1939, p. 8.
"66 Acre Vineyard Sold for $19,600," Fresno Morning Republican, July 12, 1913, p. 10.
"Stone, T. R.," Fresno, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced and Tulare Counties Telephone Directory, Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Co., January 1909, p. 145.
"Two Stores to be Refinished," Merced Sun-Star, November 7, 1935, p. 3. [W. K. Widenmann remodeled building for J. R. Flynn]
Vandor, Paul E., "Charles Teague," History of Fresno County, California, Los Angeles, Historic Record Co., 1919, pp. 828, 831.
Vandor, Paul E., "Frank Rehorn," History of Fresno County, California, Los Angeles, Historic Record Co., 1919, p. 1551.
Cameron, Carl B. (1872-1954), Merced County Death Records, September 10, 1954 (bk. 19, p. 176).
Daly, John B. (1870-1952), Fresno County Death Records, July 24, 1952 (bk. 45, p. 73).
Dowst, David D. (1873-1938), Merced County Death Records, November 12, 1938 (bk. 12, p. 138).
Dowst, Julia S. (1875-1954), Merced County Death Records, June 22, 1954 (bk. 19, p. 116).
Fritz, Julius Edward (1886-1973), Merced County Death Records, October 15, 1973 (bk. 35, p. 48).
Hart, Edward George (1880-1953), Santa Cruz County Death Records, June 29, 1953 (no. 4401-55).
Hunter, Caswell T. (1875-1935), Merced County Death Records, May 9, 1935 (bk. 10, p. 305).
McCoon, George Henry (1828-1917), Alameda County Death Records, March 10, 1917 (local register no. 82).
McCoon, Omar Trent (1914-1929), Los Angeles County Death Records, May 24, 1929 (local register no. 5930).
McCoon, Otis Henry (1883-1958), Alameda County Death Records, December 29, 1958 (local register no. 6005-964).
McElroy, William H. (1866-1946), Merced County Death Records, August 6, 1946 (bk. 15, p. 135).
Pedreira, Antonio Freitas (1860-1922), Alameda County Death Records, July 16, 1922 (local register no. 1599).
Pedreira, Isaac A. (1899-1961), Merced County Death Records, April 21, 1961 (bk. 24, p. 188).
Widenmann, Julia Keller (1870-1955), Merced County Death Records, May 26, 1955 (bk. 19, p. 378).
Widenmann, William K. (1866-1952), Merced County Death Records, December 9, 1952 (bk. 18, p. 214).
"A. F. Pedreira Funeral is Held," Merced Evening Sun, July 19, 1922, p. 1.
"Civil War Veteran Called by Death," Berkeley Daily Gazette, March 13, 1917, p. 7. [George Henry McCoon]
"Charles Teague, Retired Fresno Banker, Dies," Fresno Bee, April 4, 1942, p. 1B.
"Coulterville Pioneer Dies En Route to Hospital: Death Claims D.M. Bruschi," Merced Sun-Star, April 19, 1937, p. 3.
"David D. Dowst, Former Police Captain, Dies; Rites Tuesday," Merced Sun-Star, November 14, 1938, p. 1.
"Death Calls S. N. Griffith, Former Fresno Resident," Fresno Bee, December 22, 1930, pp. B1, B3.
"Death of Mrs. Pedreira," Merced Express, July 6, 1907, p. 3.
"Deaths: Otis Henry McCoon," Berkeley Daily Gazette, December 30, 1958, p. 15.
"Deaths: George Henry McCoon," Oakland Tribune, March 12, 1917, p. 4.
"Frank Rehorn Dies Following an Operation: Pioneer Contractor of this City Passes Away in S.F.," Fresno Morning Republican, September 1, 1916, p. 14.
"Funeral Notices: Jessie Pedreira Nosman," San Francisco Chronicle, September 23, 1966, p. 40.
"Funeral Rites Today for Omar McCoon," Yuma Morning Sun, May 26, 1929, p. 2.
"Hunter Services Booked Saturday at Local Chapel," Merced Sun-Star, May 10, 1935, pp. 1-2.
"Julia S. Dowst Taken by Death," Merced Sun-Star, June 23, 1954, p. 1.
Keddie, Hamilton, "Rest in Peace, Omar," Yuma Morning Sun, May 25, 1929, p. 1.
"Mrs. Widenmann Merced Oldtimer Dies at Age 85," Merced Sun-Star, May 28, 1955, p. 1.
"Obituaries: Carl B. Cameron," Merced Sun-Star, September 10, 1954, p. 2.
"Obituaries: Julius Fritz," Merced Sun-Star, October 16, 1973, p. 24.
"Obituaries: Otis McCoon," Berkeley Daily Gazette, December 30, 1958, p. 15.
"Obituaries: William K. Widemann [sic]," Merced Sun-Star, December 9, 1952, p. 2.
"Omer [sic] McCoon is Reported as Improved," Yuma Morning Sun, May 24, 1929, p. 1.
"Omer [sic] McCoon Seriously Ill with Meningitis," The Yuma Morning Sun, May 23, 1929, p. 1.
"Omar McCoon Dies after Brief Illness," Yuma Morning Sun, May 25, 1929, p. 1.
"Otis Henry McCoon," Oakland Tribune, December 30, 1958, p. 23.
"O. T. McCoon, Pioneer Yuma Realtor, Dies at Age of 83," Yuma Daily Sun, April 11, 1962, p. 5.
"Pedreira Services to be Held Monday," Merced Sun-Star, April 22, 1961, p. 9.
"Pioneer: W. H. McElroy Dies After Long Illness," Merced Sun-Star, August 7, 1946, p. 1.
"Prominent Merced Man Passes Away," Merced Express, July 22, 1922, p. 3. [A. F. Pedreira]
"Services Tomorrow for Edward Hart," Santa Cruz Sentinel-News, June 30, 1953, p. 16.
"Stone Services Here Monday," Merced Sun-Star, May 26, 1928, p. 2.
"Thomas Stone Dies in San Francisco," Merced Sun-Star, May 25, 1928, pp. 1, 6.
Historic Properties within the Area of Potential Effects (APE)
Bank of Italy, 1928 (a.k.a. Mondo Building)
Proposed Administrative Center
University of California, Merced
"Building in Merced During 1927 Exceeds Any Year in History," Merced Sun-Star, October 6, 1927, pp. 1, 4.
"Excavation to Start Tuesday for New Block," Merced Sun-Star, September 2, 1927, p. 1. [H. A. Minton, Architect, San Francisco]
M., A., "Bank of Italy Block Opens Saturday," Merced Sun-Star, April 19, 1928, sec. 2, pp. 1, 7. [K.E. Parker Co., Contractor, San Francisco]
"A New One for Seventeenth," Merced Sun-Star, May 4, 1927, p. 1.
R., C., "Bank Purchases Unite Concerns of Pioneer Day," Merced Sun-Star, April 19, 1928, sec. 2, pp. 1, 5.
[The Bank of Italy merged with Merced Security Savings Bank]
Hill Building, 1928/1938
"City Buildings Point Growth," Merced Sun-Star, April 19, 1928, sec. 2, p. 3. [Attributed in 1928 to Swartz & Ryland Architects] Reference note, www.fresno.edu/preserve:
Fred L. Swartz (1885-1968) was born in Girard, Kansas, on June 9, 1885. He graduated in 1903 from Fresno High School, where he was a star football player. After a short period working as a logger at Shaver Lake, Swartz took a job with an architectural office in San Francisco. In 1907 he entered a two-year program at the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied under the legendary Paul Cret.
In 1909, young Swartz returned to Fresno to work for his father, A. C. Swartz (1846-1919), a pioneer California architect. The senior Swartz had settled in Fresno in 1890, after training and teaching at the University of Illinois. As junior partner in the firms of Swartz & Son, Swartz, Hotchkin & Swartz, and finally Swartz & Swartz, Fred Swartz established a solid reputation as an architect of schools, commercial blocks, and homes. After his father's death in 1919, Swartz formed a partnership with C.J. Ryland.
Columbus J. Ryland (1892-1980) was born in San Jose, California, on December 6, 1892. He studied at the Western Normal California School of Arts and Crafts. After passing his architectural examinations in 1916, he took a position as an engineer with Pacific Portland Cement Company. In 1918, Ryland entered military service and was sent to France. After World War I he remained in France to study architecture at the University of Toulouse. A gifted renderer, he completed a handsome catalogue of architectural travel sketches during this period.
Swartz & Ryland built a large practice that included projects throughout the San Joaquin Valley, the East Bay, and the Monterey Bay Area.
Among their early Valley projects were the Rustigian Building (1920) in Fresno, the Carlton Hotel (1920) in Turlock, the C. H. Ingram Home (1923) in Fresno and the Lemoore City Hall (1925). Fresno's Tower District contains fine examples of Swartz & Ryland's residential work, including homes for A. B. Clark (1924), Cleve Stout (1924), and A. B. Knapp (1925).
By 1926, their influence extended to the Bay Area, where they designed the Union Stage Depot in Oakland. In 1927, they designed St. Brigid's Church and the handsome Cousins Residence in Hanford. Further expanding their territory, they opened a branch office in Monterey in 1928, and another in Salinas in 1931. Their Bank of Carmel (1929) was designed during this period. One of their last premier commissions together was the masterfully designed Fresno State College Library (1933).
In the mid-1930s, Swartz and Ryland dissolved their partnership. Swartz then associated with Allied Architects of Fresno to design the County Hall of Records and the Memorial Auditorium, both funded by the PWA. He briefly joined W. D. Coates (1880-1953) in 1937 to design the Fresno Scottish Rite Temple. During World War II, Swartz worked as a civilian architect for the Navy and designed a SeaBees base near Pleasanton, California.
After the war, Swartz formed the firm of Swartz & Hyberg with William G. Hyberg. They designed the Fresno County Library (1958) and C. L. McLane High School (1959). Swartz retired from practice in 1965.
During the mid-1930s, Ryland established an independent practice in Monterey, capturing such important commissions as Monterey City Hall (1936) and Santa Cruz City Hall (1937). Ryland continued his influential career after World War II designing buildings for Santa Clara County in San Jose.
Fred L. Swartz was regarded as the dean of Fresno architects when he died in Fresno on October 13, 1968. C.J. Ryland died on January 30, 1980, in Walnut Creek, California.
"Hill Building Offers Model Store and Office Quarters," Merced Sun-Star, July 13, 1928, sec. 2, p. 1.
"Newest Business Development," Merced Sun-Star, October 14, 1938, p. 1. [Rendering of modernization proposal, Charles E. Butner, Architect]
I.O.O.F Building, 1909
"Builders Had Busy Year in 1909," Merced Evening Sun, December 18, 1909, p. 4.
"Canal Street," Merced Express, December 25, 1909, p. 3.
"Lodge Hall for Merced: Contract for Odd Fellows' Building Awarded to W.H. McElroy for $17,836.50," Merced Sun-Star, April 12, 1909, p. 1.
Olcese-Garibaldi Building, 1886/1896/1939
"A Big Blaze," Merced Express, June 19, 1896, p. 3. [The Olcese-Garibaldi Building was destroyed by fire]
"Building is Rebuilt," Merced Sun-Star, March 29, 1939, Spring Opening Section, p. 3. [Photograph]
"Change Buildings' Faces," Merced Sun-Star, September 15, 1938, p. 3.
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, July 24, 1896, p. 3. [A. C. Swartz designed a new building for the site after the fire]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, August 7, 1896, p. 3. [Work commenced on the new building]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, August 21, 1896, p. 3. [Frank Rehorn was awarded the building contract]
"Looking Backward: March 27, 1886," Merced Express, March 25, 1916, p. 3. [John W. Bones designed the new building]
"Modern Merced Structure to Rise," Merced Sun-Star, August 27, 1938, p. 3. [Rendering, C.E. Butner, Architect]
"Olcese Building Project Looms," Merced Sun-Star, August 27, 1938, p. 3.
"Six Business Firms to Hold Forth in New Building: Old Structure Now is Modern," Merced Sun-Star, January 19, 1939, p. 2.
Merced Security Savings Bank Building, 1905 (a.k.a.. Goodwill Store)
Demolished by the Merced Redevelopment Agency, July 1999
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, October 10, 1903, p. 3. [It was announced that W. H. McElroy would be awarded the building contract to construct the new Merced Security Savings Bank]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, June 4, 1904, p. 3. [W. H. McElroy was awarded the building contract for the Merced Security Savings Bank]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, March 18, 1905, p. 3. [It was announced that the new Merced Security Savings Bank would be occupied by July 1905]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, November 16, 1907, p. 3. ["The brick and steel vault in the old (Front Street) Merced Security Savings Bank building has been taken down and is being reconstructed in the rear of the new bank building. It will be used for storing account books and other things belonging to the bank. The old building will be fitted up for business purposes."]
"Security Bank Building Will Have Palatial Home: The Contract for its Construction was Awarded to W. H. McElroy," Merced Evening Sun, October 9, 1903, p. 3. [B. G. McDougall, Architect; W. H. McElroy, Builder]
Bids were opened by the Merced Security Savings Bank yesterday for the construction of their new banking building which will be located on Main street [sic] between Albright & Landram's store and A. C. Corwin's jewelry establishment. The contract was awarded to the well known contractor, W. H. McElroy, of this city. Work on the building will commence immediately, and it is estimated that about nine months will be consumed in its construction.
The building and its equipment will cost the bank about $50,000. The statement is within the bounds of truth that the building will be the finest one of its kind between San Francisco and Los Angeles. A recently constructed bank building in Bakersfield is the only one in the territory mentioned that will approach it in any respect. The building will have a frontage of 44 feet and will be 107 feet long. The general character of architecture employed is of the Italian Renaissance. The front exterior will be of white Raymond granite. The interior of the first story will be finished in green marble and mahogany, with a marble mosaic tile floor. The metal work throughout will be of antique brass, and the glass used is to be the finest polished plate. The upper story will be finished in stained yellow pine. There will be a side street entrance to the upper floor, and the staircase will be of white marble with a wainscoating [sic] of green marble. The upper floor will be divided into office rooms.
President Robert Gracey of the bank and B. G. McDougall, the architect whose plans are used, will go to San Francisco next week and investigate matters in connection with the vault to be installed in the new bank. The vault will be of the highest type known in the construction of devices for the safe keeping [sic] of treasure. The metal work for it will cost about $10,000. It will be of tool proof chrome steel.
When this bank building is completed Merced will be in a position to bost [sic] of not only a million dollar bank but the finest bank building in this part of California as well.
"What the Year 1904 has done for Merced," Merced Evening Sun, December 31, 1904, p. 3.
www.fresno.edu/preserve, Enns-Rempel, Kevin (Editor), and John Edward Powell (Architectural Historian), "McDougall Bros.," A Guide to Historic Architecture in Fresno, California, expanded and updated 1999.
The historically significant architectural practice of McDougall Bros. consisted of a partnership between Charles C. McDougall (1857-1930), Benjamin G. McDougall (1865-1937) and George B. McDougall (1868-1957).
Charles C. McDougall was born in San Francisco in 1857. He trained as an architect in the office of his father, Barnett McDougall (1825-1905), who came to California in 1856. Barnett McDougall was a pioneer builder/architect with offices in San Diego and San Francisco.
Benjamin G. McDougall was born in San Francisco on January 10, 1865. He began his architectural studies in 1883, studying at the California School of Design and working in his father's office. During the late 1880s he worked with his father and two brothers under the firm name B. McDougall & Sons.
George B. McDougall was born in San Francisco on October 11, 1868. Like his brothers, he trained under his father. The three sons formed McDougall Bros. during the 1890s.
During the mid-1890s the brothers had offices in San Francisco and Bakersfield. Benjamin moved to Bakersfield to manage their Valley projects. Their first major effort to do work in Fresno came in 1896 when they submitted plans for an orphanage. However, the project was later abandoned by the County Board of Supervisors as too costly. At the turn of the century, Benjamin moved the office to Fresno. Among the firm's projects were the Kings County Jail (1898), the Merced Security Savings Bank (1905), the Hanford Carnegie Library (1905), the Visalia First National Bank (1905), and many residences in Fresno.
After the 1906 earthquake, McDougall Bros. closed its Fresno office. Benjamin started his own practice in San Francisco. Charles and George continued as McDougall Bros. until George became State Architect in 1913. Charles then practiced alone, sharing office space with Benjamin.
The McDougall Bros. architectural partnership is ranked today as one of the state's premier design and production offices of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Charles McDougall died on July 12, 1930; Benjamin McDougall on June 11, 1937; and George McDougall on April 20, 1957.
Pedreira Building, 1904
"Levy Brothers Buy Home for Sterling," Merced Sun-Star, May 4, 1928, p. 1. [Isaac and Jessie Pedreira sold the Pedreira Building to the owners of the Sterling Store which had occupied the ground floor retail space circa 1911]
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, June 4, 1904, p. 3.
Bibliographer's note: Shortly before the Pedreira Building was completed, Edward G. Hart (1880-1953) leased office space there for his Merced architectural practice. He had previously worked as a draftsman for McDougall Bros. in Fresno. In Merced he joined William K. Widenmann in 1904 to build a substantial warehouse structure in Livingston for the H & K Company. In 1906, Hart entered into an association with W.H. McElroy to manage the latter's building contracts in Tulare. Later Hart practiced in San Francisco and Oakland as a builder/architect. At the time of his death, he resided in Santa Cruz where he had been a general contractor for twenty years. His last major project was the Santa Cruz Clinic completed in 1953.
"Notice to Contractors," Merced Evening Sun, June 7, 1902, p. 4. [A.F. Pedreira took bids for construction of a new two-story building at the corner of Seventeenth (Main) and K Streets]
United States Post Office, 1932
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
"Allison, David Clark," Who's Who in America, Chicago, A.N. Marquis Co., 1948, vol. 25, p. 53.
[Allison & Allison, Architects, Los Angeles, D.C. Allison and J.E. Allison]
"Architectural & Construction News," Southwest Builder & Contractor, November 30, 1916, p. 12 [Allison & Allison, Architects, of Los Angeles received the commission to design new high school buildings in Merced]
Hughes, Edan Milton, "Forbes, Helen Katharine," Artists in California, 1786-1940, San Francisco, Hughes Publishing Co., 1989, p. 186.
Hughes, Edan Milton, "Puccinelli, Dorothy Wagner," Artists in California, 1786-1940, San Francisco, Hughes Publishing Company, 1989, pp. 449-50.
National Register of Historic Places, 1966-1988, Washington, D.C., National Park Service, 1989, p. 57. [Listed in the N.R.H.P. on February 10, 1983]
Contributing Historic Hotel Context
Advertisement, "Tuolumne Hotel," Merced Express, October 5, 1878, p. 3. [Rendering]
"Church Rites Held for Frank T. Shea," San Francisco Chronicle, September 21, 1929, p. 4.
"Death Takes Frank T. Shea, S.F. Architect," San Francisco Chronicle, September 18, 1929, p. 16.
"El Capitan Opened," Merced Express, July 6, 1912, p. 3.
"Frank T. Shea and John O. Lofquist," Davis' Commercial Encyclopedia of the Pacific Southwest, Berkeley, Ellis A. Davis, 1911, p. 171. [Tioga Hotel]
"Kent, Thomas J.," Who's Who on the Pacific Coast, Chicago, A. N. Marquis Co., 1949, p. 344.
"Local Brevities," Merced Express, June 29, 1912, p. 3. [El Capitan Hotel]
M'Clung, Peter, "City Now Offers Rooms for 2000 in Many Hotels," Merced Sun-Star, May 21, 1928, sec. 2, pp. 2, 7. [The Central Hotel is identified as the third largest hotel in Merced after the Tioga and the El Capitan]
"Merced's New Hotel," Merced Sun-Star, January 26, 1928, p. 8. [Rendering of the Tioga Hotel, Shea & Shea Architects, San Francisco]
Metropolitan Attention for Newest Hotel," Merced Sun-Star, May 21, 1928, sec. 3), pp. 3-4. [Tioga Hotel, Shea & Shea Architects, San Francisco]
"Obituaries: Architect Thomas Kent Dies at 74," San Francisco Chronicle, November 30, 1963, p. 21.
"Open New Church: Merced has $30,000 Edifice," Fresno Morning Republican, December 23, 1917, p. 23. [Photograph of the "Nuestra Sonora de la Merced" Catholic Church designed by Shea & Lofquist, Architects, San Francisco] See also: "Churches," Southwest Builder & Contractor, September 14, 1916, p. 16; "Local Brevities," Merced Express, October 7, 1916, p. 3; and "Local Brevities," Merced Express, September 16, 1916, p. 3.
Radcliffe, Corwin, "Merced's Pioneer Hotel History: Noted Men Visit Hotels of City in Pioneer Days," Merced Sun-Star, May 21, 1928, sec. 3, pp. 1-2.
"William D. Shea, Architect, Dead," San Francisco Chronicle, July 19, 1931, p. 11.
"With the Architects: El Capitan Hotel Addition," Architect and Engineer, vol. 124, March 1936, p. 55. [Kent & Hass, Architects]
Withey, Henry F., and Elsie Rathburn Withey, "Will D. Shea," Biographical Dictionary of American Architects (Deceased), Los Angeles, Hennessey & Ingalls, 1970, pp. 548-9. [Tioga Hotel]
Contributing Architectural Context: Charles E. Butner, Architect
"Airport Sub-Division near Salinas Experiences Rapid Growth: Building of Club House is Planned," Salinas Index-Journal, September 13, 1939, p. 2. [Rendering of proposed Colonial style Airport Civic League Club House]
"As New Church Here Will Look," Salinas Index-Journal, April 11, 1939, p. 3. [Rendering of Danish Lutheran Church]
"Big Crews Speed Construction of New Merced Homes," Merced Sun-Star, August 31, 1935, p. 3. [Major remodel of D. K. Stoddard residence]
"Doctor to Build Office Building on North Fulton," Fresno Bee, May 27, 1933, p. 1. [Moderne style office for Dr. Roscoe F. Wallace]
"Funeral Home Builds Addition," Merced Express, September 7, 1939, p. 1. [California Mission style facility for Ivers & Alcorn]
"Kiwanians Proposed Boy Scout House," Salinas Index-Journal, May 22, 1939, p. 3. [Rendering of Monterey Colonial style facility]
"Medical Center Construction to Begin in Merced," Fresno Bee, May 17, 1936, p. 4B. [Rendering of Spanish Revival style facility for Dr. Chester A. Moyle]
"Merced to Have Modern Clinic," Fresno Bee, May 17, 1936, p. 4B. [Rendering of Spanish Revival style facility for Dr. Chester A. Moyle]
"Modern Medical Building Under Construction," Salinas Index-Journal, August 23, 1939, p. 2. [Rendering of Moderne style medical office for Dr. W. H. Lawler and Dr. W. D. Meyenberg]
"Mortuary Builds New Addition," Merced Sun-Star, September 4, 1939, pp. 2-3. [Article and photograph of California Mission style facility for Ivers & Alcorn]
"New Medical Office Building," Fresno Bee, May 28, 1933, p. 4B. [Rendering of Moderne style medical office for Dr. Roscoe F. Wallace]
"Rad's Ramblings: A New House," Merced Sun-Star, November 30, 1939, sec. 2, p. 4. [Georgian Colonial style Booth Nash residence]
"Rad's Ramblings: Carrots and a Blue Dog," Merced Sun-Star, January 23, 1939, p. 8. [Commentary on C. E. Butner's high-profile architectural presence in Merced]
Radcliffe, Corwin, "Merced Building Spurt is Likened to that of 1928," Merced Sun-Star, June 6, 1936, pp. 1, 3. [Monterey Colonial style residence for Senator Andrew R. Schottky and a Cape Cod style residence for A. H. Woodside]
"Work Begins on New Restaurant," Merced Sun-Star, August 23, 1935, p. 3. [The conversion of the old post office building into a restaurant for Joe Faustone was attributed to C. E. Butner]
Contributing Merced Irrigation District (M.I.D.) Context
Advertisement, "A Message to the Merced Irrigation District Taxpayers and Voters," Merced Sun-Star, March 13, 1935, p. 4.
"Big Crews Speed Construction of New Merced Homes," Merced Sun-Star, August 31, 1935, p. 3.
"M.I.D. Debt Settlement Starts Building Boom Here," Merced Sun-Star, August 29, 1935, pp. 1-2.
Radcliffe, Corwin, History of Merced County, Merced, A. H. Cawston, 1940, pp. 184-6.
"Residential Building Increases in Merced Section," Merced Sun-Star, August 30, 1935, p. 2.
Contributing Modernization and Modernist Style Contexts
"Annual Progressive Architecture Awards," Progressive Architecture, vol. 29, June 1948, p. 47.
"Award: Ernest J. Kump Company, Architects - United Air Lines [sic] Airport Terminal, Merced, California," Progressive Architecture, vol. 29, June 1948, p. 50. Reference note, www.fresno.edu/preserve:
Ernest J. Kump, Jr. (1911-1999), who began his career in Fresno, achieved early recognition within a small circle of American modernists as one the most advanced architectural thinkers of the late 1930s and early 1940s. Kump initiated his experiments in modernism working with architect and engineer Charles H. Franklin (1891-1956).
C. H. Franklin was born in San Francisco on March 3, 1891. He apprenticed to Reid Bros. in San Francisco in 1906, then moved to Fresno to work for R.F. Felchlin Company in 1912. In 1917, Raymond Shaw (1890-1967) joined the firm. Shaw, who had studied at Stanford University and worked in George Kelham's San Francisco Architectural Club atelier, became Felchlin's chief designer. Franklin assumed duties as Felchlin's chief engineer. Franklin and Shaw became full partners in the firm of Felchlin, Shaw & Franklin in 1925. Major projects completed by Franklin and his partners during this association included the Bank of Italy (1918), the San Joaquin Light & Power Building (1923), and the Pacific-Southwest Building (1923), all embellished in typical Period Revival detailing of that era. The firm was dissolved in 1930.
For nearly five years, Franklin practiced alone as he undertook a series of exploratory designs working in the new modernistic idioms. His Kearney Boulevard monumental pylons of 1933, which strongly reflected constructivist design principles, were an early demonstration of his natural ease expressing form through underlying engineering. In 1935, Franklin hired Ernest J. Kump, Jr., recently out of graduate school and a visionary designer, as a draftsman.
Ernest J. Kump, Jr. was born in Bakersfield on December 29, 1911, and was raised by his mother. His architect father had abandoned the family in 1914. The senior Kump then settled in Fresno. While in high school, young Kump drafted for pioneer architect J. M. Saffell, and studied under noted architectural educator Clarence Cullimore FAIA in Bakersfield. After taking his undergraduate degree at Berkeley in 1932, he began graduate studies at Harvard for one year. Lacking funds to continue, he returned to California to work for his classically trained father, who promptly fired him over conflicts arising from his son's modern ideas, which the senior Kump characterized as "chicken coop architecture."
Just as Kump Jr. found himself unemployed, Franklin received a commission for a modern home for Fresno merchant Sam Pudlin. Franklin hired young Kump, a passionate modernist, to design it. Pudlin, who had attended the Century of Progress International Exposition at Chicago in 1933, had been greatly impressed by the avant-garde housing types displayed there. He called for a home in the European modern tradition. Prior to meeting with Franklin, Pudlin had interviewed architect Richard Neutra, the expatriate Austrian modernist in Los Angeles, for the job. The Pudlin home set a dramatic new standard for design simplicity along Fresno's prestigious North Van Ness Boulevard, long identified with Period Revival style residential architecture. From the same period, the duo's 1936 Fresno School Administration Building, designed for Allied Architects, a Depression-era architectural collaborative, was a "gem" in the Dutch Modern style. This expressive building was greatly admired statewide at the time of its construction..
The firm of Franklin & Kump, with offices in Fresno and Bakersfield, was announced in 1937. One of its earliest advanced designs was Fowler Grammar School (1937), which Kump purportedly submitted as his Harvard University master's thesis. The completion of Kump's graduate degree was supervised by Walter Gropius, the famed German Bauhaus modernist who had only recently been appointed head of the Harvard architecture program. Other early innovative Franklin & Kump projects followed, including Bakersfield's impressive Sill Residence (1937) and the extraordinary Sill Building (1938). Acalanes High School (1939) in Lafayette, California, and Exeter High School (1941) were early examples of the much imitated "finger-plan" campus model developed by the firm at that time.
Franklin and Kump shot into national prominence when their radically modern Fresno City Hall (1941) was selected by the Museum of Modern Art in New York as one of the most significant American structures built between 1932 and 1944. During World War II, both men left Fresno for the Bay Area, Franklin to work for the Corps of Engineers and Kump to work for the Navy as an architect. They subsequently formed the new firm of Franklin, Kump & Falk with offices in San Francisco. This firm's legacy is preserved in the San Joaquin Valley in the high-profile United Air Lines [sic] Airport Terminal at Merced. First published in 1947, this advanced International style facility received highest honors in the annual awards competition sponsored by the influential journal Progressive Architecture in 1948.
Identified as "an altogether distinguished work," the Merced airport facility, along with Kump's Ordnance and Optical Shop for the U.S. Naval Shipyard in San Francisco (Kump & Falk), set benchmark standards for American design during the 1940s. Locally, the Merced terminal building signaled an evolutionary step forward, setting aside prewar modernistic idioms that characterized the 1930s city. Building projects such as Charles Butner's handsome Streamlined modernization of the Central Hotel, completed in 1939, best exemplify that modernistic era. Franklin, Kump & Falk's terminal building heralded the postwar trend toward an American International style that would ultimately dominate worldwide architectural thinking by the 1950s.
After the war, Charles Franklin returned to Fresno. There he entered into a partnership with his former office manager, Alastair Simpson (1910-1992). Tragically, Franklin was forced into retirement in 1953, suffering at the height of his mature career from Lou Gehrig's disease. He returned to San Francisco and died there in 1956. Kump, who had remained in San Francisco, formed a partnership with Mark Falk (1896-1965).
Mark Falk was born in San Francisco on June 30, 1896. A structural engineer, Falk trained at Stanford University. He completed military service in France during World War I, as well as serving in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II. After working professionally in Los Angeles for many years, he returned to the Bay Area in 1942.
During the late 1940s, Kump & Falk garnered a succession of awards and recognitions coinciding with Kump's increasing stature as a public spokesman for modern architecture. Notable among Kump's appearances was his high-profile presence at Princeton University's Bicentennial Conference in 1947. Identified then by Princeton as a "specialist in school architecture" and for "Fresno City Hall," Kump was selected to serve as a delegate to the university's now legendary symposium, Planning Man's Physical Environment. Joining Kump were Alvar Aalto, Serge Chermayeff, Sigfried Gideon, Walter Gropius, Philip Johnson, George Fred Keck, Richard Neutra, Konrad Wachsmann, Frank Lloyd Wright, William Wurster and other eminent practitioners and scholars.
Likewise, Falk rose to prominence in professional organizations. He served as president of the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California, president of the California State Board of Registration for Civil Engineers, and president of the Northern Group Consulting Engineers Association of California.
During his lifetime, Falk was an avid aviationist. He was credited with designing the prototype for the twin-tailed P-38 fighter. At the time of his death in 1965, he had been a partner with University of Illinois-trained architect Corwin Booth (1915- ) since 1950. Falk & Booth established a solid reputation designing school facilities throughout Northern California and the Central Valley, including Lodi High School in 1955. Booth continued a vigorous practice after Falk's death. Corwin Booth & Associated Architects went on to complete significant campus commissions for College of Marin and California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
Kump subsequently formed Ernest Kump Associates with offices in Palo Alto and New York. As an internationally recognized expert in school architecture, Kump was most closely associated with his 1962 design for Foothill College in Los Altos, California. The Foothill facility is considered a masterpiece of college campus planning and design. Included among Kump's other significant projects are De Anza College, Cupertino (1967) and Crown College, University of California, Santa Cruz (1967).
Charles H. Franklin died on August 6, 1956. Mark Falk died on February 21, 1965. Ernest J. Kump, Jr. died in Zurich, Switzerland, on November 4, 1999. After retiring from active practice in the United States, Kump lived abroad and maintained a London office from which he continued working as an international architectural consultant. Until his death, Kump remained dedicated to his research on low-cost modular building systems for housing and community facilities in Third World countries.
Baker, Clark, "Building Modernization," Architect and Engineer, vol. 124, January 1936, pp. 39-40.
"Building to be Remodelled Here," Merced Sun-Star, May 3, 1939, p. 3. [The A. G. Trabucco Building, located on L Street between Seventeenth and Eighteenth, was "Streamlined"]
" 'Drive-In' Cleaning Plant Shows New Trend in Customer Service," Merced Express, March 9, 1939, p. 4.
Foulkes, Edward T., "Modernization," Architect and Engineer, vol. 118, September 1934, pp. 11-8. See also "A Correction," Architect and Engineer, vol. 119, October 1934, p. 59. [This high-profile illustrated journal article, written by an influential architect who had trained extensively in the classical tradition, advocated the modernization of older buildings] Reference note, www.fresno.edu/preserve:
Edward T. Foulkes (1874-1967) was born in Monmouth, Oregon, on August 14, 1874. He began his architectural education at Stanford University in 1893, then transferred to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After graduating from M.I.T. in 1898, he apprenticed under Clarence Blackall in Boston. In 1901, Foulkes moved to New York to work for the renowned Cass Gilbert and later for the prestigious classicists Carrere and Hastings.
In 1903, Foulkes won the coveted Rotch Scholarship to study abroad. After attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, Foulkes traveled to England, Wales, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Egypt, Turkey, India, China, and Japan. He returned to the United States in 1906, and opened an office in San Francisco.
In 1910, Foulkes opened a branch office in Fresno after winning a private competition to design the Hotel Fresno. His plan adapted the caravansary model of the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. He also captured commissions for a number of large Fresno residences between 1910 and 1912, including mansions for H. H. Brix, Louis Gundelfinger, Louis Einstein and W. A. Sutherland. In late 1914, Foulkes abandoned his Fresno office to devote his energies to large commissions connected with the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition at San Francisco.
In partnership with Chester Hogue of Portland, Oregon, Foulkes designed the Oregon State Building at the San Francisco exposition. Known as the "Rustic Parthenon," this huge log building was a somber and distinctive temple-like structure that won Foulkes and Hogue a diploma and a medal as the "most artistic building of its kind in the fair." Foulkes also designed the Inside Inn, a 3,000-guest hotel on the exposition grounds.
For most of his lengthy career, Foulkes resided in Oakland. His monumental Oakland Tribune Tower (1922) has been that city's symbolic landmark for almost seven decades.
Edward T. Foulkes died in Oakland on December 10, 1967.
"Fresno Hardware Firm to Build Downtown Store," Fresno Bee, July 13, 1932, p. 2B. [Rendering, C. E. Butner, Architect]
"How It Will Look," Merced Sun-Star, May 4, 1937, p.1. [Rendering, Lewis Building/Opera House modernization, C.E. Butner, Architect]
Kierulff, E. N., "Recent Work of Thomas J. Kent and Andrew T. Hass, Architects," Architect and Engineer, vol. 112, January 1933, pp. 10-28. [Rendering, El Capitan Hotel, Merced]
"Leonard Company Distributors for Four Valley Counties," Merced Sun-Star, June 15, 1940, p. 2. [Photograph of new Streamlined style Mohawk Super Station]
"Masonic Temple Plans are Opened," Merced Express, March 31, 1917, p. 3. [C. H. Russell, Architect, Los Angeles. The ground floor of the building was occupied by Welch & Company, Undertakers]
McGuire, P.J., "Modernization," Architect and Engineer, vol. 120, January 1935, p. 19.
"Merced Building Spurt is Likened to that of 1928," Merced Sun-Star, June 6, 1936, pp. 1, 3.
"Merced Masons to Dedicate Temple," Fresno Morning Republican, May 25, 1917, p. 12. [Rendering, C. H. Russell, Architect, Los Angeles]
Bibliographer's note: The Masonic Temple is a strong architectural design reflecting both Sullivanesque and early Wrightian commercial storefront forms. Intricate incised ornamentation and bands of horizontal fenestration are trademark characteristics of this genre.
"Merced's Newest Food Center Opens Saturday," Merced Sun-Star, September 16, 1937, sec. 2, p. 2. [Rendering, Lewis Building/Opera House modernization, C.E. Butner, Architect]
"Modern Exterior Conceals True Age of Oakland Building," Architect and Engineer, vol. 112, March 1933, pp. 25-7. [Reference to the "Northern and Central California Movement to Modernize"]
"New $8000 Building under Construction: Modern in Every Detail," Merced Sun-Star, March 11, 1940, p. 2. [Architectural rendering, Dutra's Electric Shop, 230 Seventeenth Street]
"New Structures and Repairs to Buildings Feature 1938 Construction Program in Merced," Merced Express, December 29, 1938, p. 1.
"New Theatre to be Built Here in June," Merced Sun-Star, May 6, 1939, p. 1. [Architectural rendering, Gateway Theatre, S. Charles Lee, Architect, Los Angeles]
"On Planning Man's Physical Environment," Architectural Record, vol. 101, April 1947, pp. 98-100.
"Planners' Platform," Architectural Forum, vol. 86, April 1947, pp. 12-3.
Reich, Vic, "Jottings," Merced Express, May 6, 1937, p. 1. [Seven buildings modernized along Seventeenth Street were profiled]
Reich, Vic, "Jottings," Merced Express, December 30, 1937, p. 1. [Modernization projects totally $132,500 were profiled]
Reich, Vic, "Jottings," Merced Express, October 19, 1939, p. 1. [Shively's, a newly remodeled Streamlined style store in Merced, was compared favorably to buildings designed in a similar modernist style in San Francisco]
"United Air Lines [sic] Passenger Stations in California," Pencil Points, vol. 28, August 1947, pp. 52-6. [United Air Lines [sic] Airport Terminal, Merced]
"Work Starts on New Store Here," Merced Sun-Star, May 3, 1937, p. 3. [Lewis Building/Opera House]
General Historical Context
CenCal Archidex: Central California Architectural Index, 1874-1955, a vertically integrated biographical and periodical database compiled and edited by John Edward Powell, 1977-2000. [Private resource]
Radcliffe, Corwin, "Gabriel Moraga Comes to Banks of Merced in 1806: Merced County Starts in 1885," Merced Sun-Star, March 29, 1939, Golden Jubilee Section, pp. 1-6.
Standards and Guidelines for Historic Preservation
Code of Federal Regulations, Title 36, Part 60.
"How to Evaluate the Integrity of a Property: Defining the Essential Physical Features," National Register Bulletin 15: Technical Information on Comprehensive Planning, Survey of Cultural Resources, and Registration in the National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C., Interagency Resources Division, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1982, sec. 8, p. 46.
All properties change over time. It is not necessary for a property to retain all its historic physical features or characteristics. The property must retain, however, the essential physical features that enable it to convey its historic identity. The essential physical features are those features that define both why a property is significant (Applicable Criteria and Areas of Significance) and when it was significant (Periods of Significance). They are the features without which a property can no longer be identified.
National Register Bulletin 16: Technical Information on Comprehensive Planning, Survey of Cultural Resources, and Registration in the National Register of Historic Places: Guidelines for Completing National Register of Historic Places Forms, Washington, D.C., Interagency Resources Division, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1986.
"Archeology and Historic Preservation; Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines," Federal Register, Washington, D.C., National Archives and Records Service, vol. 48, September 29, 1983, part 4, pp. 44,716-42.
Thomas O. Pedreira (1929-2000)
"The Central Hotel - 120 Years," Merced Sun-Star, May 12, 2000, p. B7.
Conway, Mike, "Historian, Accountant T. Pedreira: Led Nonprofit Group to Preserve Old Downtown Merced," Modesto Bee, May 12, 2000, p. B4.
"Merced Leader Pedreira Dies at 70," Fresno Bee, May 12, 2000, p. B3.
"Obituaries: Thomas O. Pedreira," Fresno Bee, May 12, 2000, p. B4.
"Obituary Notice: Thomas O. Pedreira, 70," Merced Sun-Star, May 12, 2000, p. A5.
"Obituary Tributes - Services & Announcements: Thomas O. Pedreira," Fresno Bee, May 12, 2000, p. B5.
Wong, Audrey, "Member of Pioneer Family Dies: Thomas Pedreira Sr. Succumbs to Complications from Pneumonia," Merced Sun-Star, May 12, 2000, pp. A1, A3.
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Last modified: 1/30/02