Erected in 1914, this three-story Renaissance Revival style brick apartment is situated on a large corner lot with street frontage on 2nd Street and Arizona Avenue.
Renaissance Revival buildings in Southern California are generally all or partially sheathed in brick and utilize concrete, stucco, cast stone, and terra cotta as secondary materials. This property displays key signature features of the Renaissance Revival style in both its architectural design and composition. Specifically, the apartment building exterior contains concrete belt courses, lintels, and sills. The building presents a predominantly symmetrical façade segmented into bays and the façade is divided into base, shaft, and capital, which is analogous to the divisions of a column.
In addition, fronting the subject property’s main entrance is an elegant neoclassical portico of the Doric order with squared pilasters, round columns, and, directly above, balustraded balconies. The building is crowned by a flat roof with parapet and an elaborate sheet metal cornice featuring dentil molding, scrolled brackets (some of which are missing), and decorative lion heads. Attractive varicolored brown brick covers exterior surfaces on primary elevations.
The history of the subject property mirrors that of other hotel/apartments in tourist areas around Southern California where accommodations built prior to World War II continued to attract vacationers until, following the war, they quickly fell out of favor for newly constructed “modern” hotels that were less dated in appearance. It was then that widows and retirees on pensions took advantage of low rents to make such buildings their permanent homes.
Of those specifically identified as Hotel Hart/Mar Vista Hotel residents, their composition went from nurses, a dentist, a dancing teacher, a waitress, salesmen, and widows in the 1920s and 1930s to a sizeable contingent of widows and retirees by the early 1960s. Today, the subject property continues to operate as an apartment building albeit in a dense urban area typified by the enormous nine-story parking structure that towers over the apartments on its south side and the massive office skyscraper of recent vintage on the diagonal corner.