A look at some of the ongoing changes on April 11, 2017.
A look at some of the ongoing changes on April 11, 2017.
In the following sequence of images, watch the trees in front of the building grow over the years. The 1935 image above presents a peculiar angle. The trees line a “street” that runs directly in front of the building, directly through campus. This image appeared in the yearbook the year before the campus opened.
This post is a work in progress as I continue to sift through the archives to identify faculty members.
Don Drury graduated from the college in 1939. He returned by 1948 to teach English and American literature. He advised the Viking and ran the Long Beach News Bureau through the 1950s. In 1977, he published the 50 year history of the college; this source has been invaluable in setting me straight about so much of the history in this blog. A creative writing award is given by the English Department each year with a bequest that Drury established.
The hallways in the building are wide with high ceilings that will get a bit lower in the remodel (in order to accommodate the air conditioning system). Notice the large strip between the tops of the doors and the ceiling.
One of the charming aspects of the P-building was its accretion of pieces that didn’t quite go together. As the functions of rooms changed over the years, walls, hooks, and wires were left behind. In the top photo is a tag on a classroom lectern, cataloguing the piece as the property of the Long Beach Schools, from a time when LBCC was part of the Long Beach Unified School District. Here are a few of the vestiges of former times that I managed to record.
Kirtland Cutter (1860-1939) was born in Ohio, but spent the major part of his career in Spokane, Washington. A fire in 1889 destroyed much of downtown Spokane, so Cutter’s work in the city was especially influential in shaping a city that Elbert Hubbard praised as “the most beautiful city ever created within so short a time in the history of the world.”
Evolution of styles
Cutter won the commission to build the Idaho State Building for the 1892 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The building gave him national exposure as part of a fair that had wide-reaching architectural influence. The “White City” of the fair’s central courtyard, for instance, inspired cities around the country to construct neoclassical public buildings, and the Japanese pavilion was noted as a distinct influence on Southern California Arts and Crafts architects Charles and Henry Greene.
In his Idaho Building, Cutter created an enormous log cabin, held together primarily by the weight of the lumber, which included twenty-two different types of wood, all available in Idaho. The entire building included details that showcased the natural resources of the state–volcanic rock on the ground floor, a fireplace made of rocks that contained various precious metals, and hallways of Idaho marble.
Certain design elements are common throughout Cutter’s work. He moved easily through various historical styles, beginning with work modeled on the Swiss chalet through the Spanish colonial revival that we know at Long Beach City College. In every style, he returns consistently to elements that we stand out in his design for the English Building.
Cutter favored the irregularity of English medieval design and convinced patrons to incorporate these features into their plans.
Open ceiling beams with decorative elements
Library of the Stimson house (1898-1900) (143)
The inglenook, or chimney corner–a small enclosed area around the fireplace adjoining the main room. In the Little Theater, the surviving stage is evocative of the traditional inglenook.
Davenport’s private suite (1904) (167)
The stage of the Little Theater in the English Building, now the Marian Sims Baughn Center for the Literary Arts, is a variation on the residential inglenook.
First Church of Christ Scientist, Spokane (1907-8) was one of Cutter’s first building in the Mission Revival style.
Eucalyptus Hills (1913-14), Santa Barbara was one of his first project in a style suitable to California (301)
Cutter moved to Long Beach (from Spokane) in 1923. His office was in the Farmers and Merchants Bank downtown. Jess J. Jones worked with him as a draftsman and builder and was active in the design of Long Beach City College.
Palos Verdes became a focus of Cutter’s work. He served on the architectural jury that approved designs within the community, exerting extraordinary efforts to maintain standards of the City Beautiful movement.
He created the design for the Lunada Bay Plaza in Palos Verde, modeled on an Italian piazza. This project was never executed.
Cameron House, Palos Verdes (1924) is one of several of Cutter’s California residential projects that incorporates a courtyard.
Buchanan House, interior (1927)
Ceiling elements (351)
Cutter’s John Russell Lowell Elementary School (1926) was destroyed by the 1933 earthquake (photo from the Orange County Register).
The entry elements of Lincoln School are similar to those of the English Building:
Pacific Coast Club interior
A significant collection of Cutter’s drawings for his Long Beach work are in the collection of Richard and Phyllis Poper, housed in the Architecture Library at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Poper (1920-2009) was an architect whose firm designed a number of buildings at LBCC.
The most comprehensive study of Cutter is Henry C. Matthews’ Kirkland Cutter: Architect in the Land of Promise (University of Washington Press, 1998). Many of the pictures on this page are selections from this book.
A 1985 documentary, Kirtland Kelsey Cutter: Vision of an Era, is available on YouTube. Part four covers the Long Beach portion of his career. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7yor4PfCMk
Well into the second decade of the 21st century, the following “Emergency Procedure” was still posted in many of the classrooms and in the hallways of the P-Building:
At the sight of a brilliant flash of light or of the sound of an explosion, or when the command “DROP” is given, occupants of this room shall immediately assume the following position: drop to their knees, under desks or other equipment; clasp hands behind the head, covering the neck; bury face in arms, protecting the head; close eyes and cover ears with forearms. Remain in this position until instructed to do otherwise.
Clearly an artifact of the Cold War, the date at the bottom of the instruction sheet is 1974. It is pleasing that the instruction “This poster must be placed in a conspicuous permanent location” was followed so rigorously. By the time this “permanent” poster finally was removed, there was nobody in the building who would be able to locate room 812. For many years, the English Building was the 600 building, so I’m not sure where to direct you for first aid.
When the English Building opened, the lounge (later the English Lounge, P110) was a women’s social hall where students gathered, worked, met with their clubs, and displayed their art work. Before the student union building opened, this was a student gathering space. In the 1936 Saga yearbook, all the student clubs had their pictures taken in this room.
More recently, the lounge has fallen into some disrepair. Due to classroom shortages, we brought in desks and chairs so that we could teach in the room. A persistent leak in the courtyard doors caused the wooden floor to buckle, so the room has been entirely off-limits this last year.
Built in the mid-1950s, the swimming pool provided a state-of-the-art aquatic facility that attracted some of the world’s greatest talent to LBCC. Olympic Coach Monte Nitzkowski led the swimming and water polo teams for years when the team routinely defeated the likes of UCLA, USC, and Stanford. The diving pool included a window into the deep end where divers could be photographed with a Long Beach City College wall behind them.
Here are a few of the ads from the back pages of the SAGA yearbooks. Like the 1951 picture of the Weber’s truck, most of images seem to have been created for the yearbook (rather than as part of a larger advertising campaign).