This December, Appease Builders was awarded the opportunity to work in a beautiful historic building, the Cooper Arms Apartments. The building is located in downtown Long Beach on the corner of Ocean and Linden. We were called out to originally do a little bit of a plaster repair, shortly after; while keeping its original nostalgic simple appearance of the early 1920’s, Appease Builders was remodeling a bathroom, replacing a window on the inside of the bathroom, you may ask... inside? Yes, the window in the bathroom, doesn't face the outside, but rather a shaft that joins the levels of the 12 story building. So, there's a metal framed window facing the shaft that serves several purposes, the main two; are moisture control and fire/smoke rated. The louvered window facing the inside of the bathroom (the louvered window, was basically for cosmetic use), is the one we changed, to a single hung vinyl window with tempered glass. We also tiled the back and tub wall, installed a fancier shower curtain enclosure, added additional lighting and added a one foot extension to the shower riser.
Every time we work in an early 19 century construction, I’m intrigued of the past. Long Beach has an array of beautiful older landmarks that date as far back as 1806. So I thought I'd share some research from the past, as well as some pictures that will take you back almost a century during the construction of the first Long Beach high rise building in Long Beach, CA.... enjoy!
A LITTLE HISTORY:
This was the beginning of the skyline in Long beach, California. It all started
in 1921, when the boom for housing begun. His name was Larkin Cooper, which owned 8 homes on the land where the Cooper Arms Apartments were erected. Mr. Cooper made it in the feed and grain business in Kansas. Cooper gathered together the most prominent business figures of Long Beach to head the Cooper Arms project. Jointly, Nelson McCook, president and founder of the California National Bank; Colonel Walter J. Horne, partner in Van Lester & Horne, a real estate firm that developed downtown business blocks and residences; Vat Lester, Horne's partner whose successful real estate methods earned him the pseudonym "The Bungalow Merchant;" William Prisk, founder of the Independent Press Telegram; Dr. W. Harriman Jones, surgeon and Director of the City National Building Company, and others that helped to organize such an undertaking.
The Cooper Arms, 12 story Apartment high-rise, was built in 1924 and construction started in March of 1923; the architecture is said to resemble a Renaissance Revival… I have to admit, I had to look this up “(Renaissance Revival (sometimes referred to as "Neo-Renaissance") is an all-encompassing designation that covers many 19th century architectural revival styles which were neither Grecian (see Greek Revival) nor Gothic (see Gothic Revival) but which instead drew inspiration from a wide range of classifying Italian modes.”
This amazing building was one of the first structures to be designated a Long Beach Historical Landmark in 1980 and it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the year 2000. The building was originally an own-your-own, which in Southern California, was very common place in the early 1900’s. Own-your-owns, were a pre-condominium Co-op, with an opportunity to convert to a condominium complex later. Here’s something of a jolt back, the original cost of the units back then ranged from $3,800 for a studio, to $17,000 for one a bedroom, with the owner being able to request variations in floor plans and built-in amenities. Today, these same studios range from 190k to 250k and 1 bedrooms can set you back between, 275k and 450k. The Cooper Arms was built with a budget of $1,350,000. Today at an annual inflation rate of 2.87%, that same structure would cost today a whopping $19,285,988.17.
Oh yes, let's not forget parking
With 150 units sold, parking for those who had cars, could park on the side and behind the Cooper building, (In those days, parking wasn’t an issue). Today parking is neither simple nor free. Times have changed; residents of the Cooper Arms Apartments, now have to pay for parking at around $100 per space at a nearby structure or park on the street that has metered two hour parking.
One of the biggest opportunities in Downtown Long beach today is parking, yet this is an issue that is common place with downtown areas. If we look back to the early 1900's, the boom for the automobile was not until the early 1920's and keep in mind, that at first, cars were only available to society’s elite, those who could afford the expensive inventions. So, in the very early 1900's, if one had a storage place for such an expensive way to commute, they were called carriage houses, once used to house horses, buggies, and horse travel paraphernalia, it was for those that were of upper class, that had these conveniences. This is why we see homes in downtown Long Beach that don't have a garage and if they do, it would most likely be smaller then a one car garage. In those early days, if you could afford a car, it was one car (a family car). Today, both parents have cars and the siblings can't wait to be of age to drive and have there own car as well.
By the way, these car ports seen here as pictured, are long gone.
"Historians have mapped out a three- or four-stage transportation chronology for the American city: walking city (pre-1880), streetcar city (1880-1920), and automobile city (post-1920). One historian has divided the latter period into a “recreational vehicle” period (1920-1945) and a “freeway” period (post-1945)."
I hope you enjoined this journey as much as i did, I truly had a fun time doing the research and going back in history. Our customer is thrilled with the outcome of his bathroom, A bit of new and some from the past, with a few thrown in conveniences, how could we go wrong.
Appease Builders Co.,
Building Trust and Loyalty One Project Seed at a Time.
Toll free: 800.646.0566