Beverly Hills was late to the preservation party, but since the city adopted its historic preservation ordinance last year it's added 10 buildings to its historic register. Now Patch reports that tonight the city council will vote to add three more, including the Beverly Hills City Hall. Completed in 1932, the H-shaped building was the work of local architects Harry Koerner and William Gage and has been on the state register of historic places since the 1990s. According to the report prepared for the council (pdf) on the building's history, though it "was labelled 'Spanish Renaissance' in early descriptions of it, the building suggests the Churrigueresque," a Mexican colonial style of architecture "distinguished by encrustations of intricately carved ornamentation concentrated around archways, columns, entries, window spandrels, cornices, parapets, and bell towers."
In 1925, Beverly Hills built a two-story Classical Revival building on Little Santa Monica (then called Burton Way) for its city hall and fire department. But in 1930 a group of residents presented the city council with a petition signed be nearly 2,000 people asking the city to buy a five-acre parcel at Santa Monica Boulevard and Rexford then owned by the Pacific Electric Railway. Within two months, $1.1 million worth of bonds had been approved to support the project and Koerner and Gage were off and running. The building opened in 1932 to much fanfare, and the LA Times noted it was the "largest and most expensive City Hall of any municipality its size in the country."
The building's exterior has remained largely unchanged, though after 80 years "all but the primary historic spaces" inside have been remodeled. A trawl through the records reveals that more than 100 building permits had been pulled for work on the building over the years.
· City Council Agenda Includes Proposal to Landmark City Hall [BH Patch]
· Cultural Heritage Commission report (pdf) [Beverly Hills]