Long Beach Heritage is a nonprofit education and advocacy group promoting public knowledge and preservation of significant historical and architectural resources, neighborhoods, and the cultural heritage of Long Beach.

Houghton Park Buildings in North Long Beach Facing Demolition

The Houghton family donated three acres of land for a lovely park in North Long Beach in 1924 and in 1927 the city bought 25 additional acres from them. Soon a Spanish Revival style clubhouse with Moorish inspired exterior details was built for public programs in the park. It contains an auditorium complete with a raised stage framed by a curvilinear molding, recessed arches with painted heraldic motifs along the walls, and a ceiling with elaborately carved wooden beams. From 1933 to 1935 the newly formed Jordan High School held classes in the Houghton Park clubhouse. In 1946 local architect Harold Wildman designed another structure with American Colonial Revival fanlight windows that enclosed a courtyard next to the earlier clubhouse. A recreation building for Jordan High School students by the Long Beach firm of John Duffy and Leo Dreher was added to the complex in 1959. Designed in a Mid-Century Modern mode, it has large expanses of glass windows and a post and beam motif framing the entrance.

Houghton Park Buildings Facing Demolition

 

All of these buildings have been allowed to fall into disrepair due to lack of maintenance and their exteriors, in particular, need some tender loving care. On September 23 the Long Beach City Council awarded a $1,300,000 contract to Studio Pali Feketi Architects of Culver City to hold meetings soliciting community input for the design of a new recreation center. The architects may decide to save a portion of the original Spanish style clubhouse, but they definitely plan to destroy the 1946 and 1959 buildings. The circa 1930 clubhouse/auditorium is an architecturally significant structure with intact character-defining details found both outside and inside. It is similar to the Bixby Park Band Shell, which dates from the same era and was recently refurbished. The entire Houghton Park clubhouse should be saved and restored to its former glory.


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