1930 – Claude Beelman
403 West 8th Street – map
Lobby declared: 8/22/73
Entire building declared: 3/17/82
So. The lobby of the Garfield is supposed to be exceptional. In fact, while the city eventually gave the whole building Historic-Cultural Monument status in 1982, it was the lobby alone that was designated back in 1973. Too bad the building’s shuttered, preventing me (or you) from getting any glimpse inside. I failed at finding any interior photos on the web, too.
The Sun Realty Company hired architect Ohio-born Claude Beelman to design this Art Deco office tower. Beelman has a bunch of landmarks on the list of HCMs, including No. 294, the Eastern-Columbia Building, and, with Alexander Curlett, No. 267, the Elk’s Lodge Building in Westlake.
Reaching twelve stories, the $1,000,000 Garfield Building hit the very top of the city’s height limit at the time. It’s got more than 91,000 square feet of space.
A Los Angeles Times article from December 1928 announcing the imminent clearing of the northwest corner of 8th and Hill for the Garfield’s construction had this to say:
Of Gothic design, the building will have vertical lines emphasized by Benedict nickel, bronze and cast iron. The Hill-street frontage of fifty-eight feet and the Eighth-street frontage of 160 feet will be faced with terra cotta by the Gladding-McBean Company. A court to provide light and air is planned for the Eighth-street side. Three elevators will open from a lobby of marble floor and walls. The marquise at the building entrance, according to architect Beelman, will be unique in its treatment of marble, nickel, illuminated glass signs and cast iron ornament.Note: The Gladding-McBean Company was doing the terra cotta work on HCM No. 118, the Pellissier Building, right around the same time. G&McB must’ve accounted for a lot of building surface in L.A.
The second to twelfth stories, inclusive, will be divided into offices, twenty-two to each floor. Corridors will have full-height wainscots of light Notre Dame marble.
The side with the trees and main entrance is on 8th.
I know I’ve referred to the stock market crash of 1929 a couple of times, but you gotta wonder if Sun Realty would’ve have put the kibosh on this lavish project, among the tallest in L.A. at the time, had they planned on construction a year later.
The landmark was given a $1,000,000 renovation in the mid-1970s after it was renamed the International Office Building but before it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places (1982).
Today, situated next to the Golden Gopher and the Lindy Hotel in the city’s Jewelry District, the Garfield Building awaits refurbishing, possibly as a boutique hotel. That’s what I read on Angelenic, anyway. I hope it's done soon.
“Skyscraper To Rise Downtown” Los Angeles Times; Dec 16, 1928, p. E1
Up next: Buck House