Looking for Warner Huntington info

posted by guidoh on September 11, 2006 at 7:53 am

HUNTINGTON PARK, CA — For the purpose of preparing a preliminary feasibility study for the Warner Theater in Huntington Park, we are searching for the original architectural plans.

In order to properly evaluate things like exiting issues, accurate dimensions of the building are needed. However, we do not have access to the building, which is why the original design plans would be of great help in coming up with potential future uses for the building.

Supposedly, there is an archive that keeps the drawings of B. Marcus Priteca, the theater’s architect, but I have not been able to locate it.

Does anybody know where I can find those plans?

Thanks,
Guido
Historic Consultants, Inc.

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Comments (8)

JimRankin
JimRankin on September 11, 2006 at 11:27 am

Your best bet —and that for everyone else seeking such— is to inquire of The Theatre Historical Society of America via there web site, where on the bottom of the first page is the link to their Ex. Director, Rich Sklenar. who can direct you to what they may have, as well as elsewhere. They are at: www.historictheatres.org

guidoh
guidoh on September 11, 2006 at 11:34 am

Thanks Jim,

I did ask the THS already. They were helpful and gave me a few leads, I but was not successful in finding the plans. Also already inquired at Warner Studios and WB Archives.

Thanks again,
Guido

JimRankin
JimRankin on September 11, 2006 at 12:14 pm

Some municipalities put their old Building Inspection records on microfilm, and these may have included the prints originally submitted to get a building permit. It may pay to track down which municipality was then doing the permits for the theatres' area.

Sometimes State offices at the capitol were responsible, and possibly you could track them down through the State Historic Preservation Officer there.

Lastly, Any descendants of either or both the architect as well as the original owners may well have kept mementos of their famous ancestors, and a local geneologist can help you track them down. Daughters will have married under their husband’s names, but knowledgeable people can find them, and the girls often have such keepsakes.

Be discreet in how you approach such women: offer to come to them in the company of a lady friend; make it clear that you don’t want their originals (unless they offer to give them to you) but only seek to look at them for a few minutes. If once there, they seem willing, offer to buy the prints, or at least the opportunity to have them photographed, if the lady will kindly accept some small expression of your gratitude in the form of some gift. Don’t mention having them duplicated, merely “photographed;” to many women “duplicated” connotes some nasty machine that may shred their beloved keepsakes.

In the event they will not let the fragile prints/drawings out the door, have ready in your car a complete photo stand with close-up lenses and flood lights to copy them there, since you have no way of knowing if you will ever get back in again. Most such women will be elderly, so practice your sweetest manners to gain trust and allay their fears of a stranger. If they are in a complex where there is a public room you might use together, ask about that and offer to come during daylight, but leave the time to be ‘at her convience.’ Be prompt at the appointed time and all smiles and neatly dressed. Fail some of these points, and she may never open the door even after your initial phone call, or you could be asked to leave even if the prints are out on a table in plain view! (There is no legal reason anyone HAS to cooperate with you.) Best Wishes.

William
William on September 11, 2006 at 12:53 pm

Did you try Pacific Theatres? Since they picked-up the Southern California Stanley Warner Theatre locations back in 1968. Because they were the chain that also did the twinning of the theatre like they did the Warner Hollywood Theatre (Pacific 1,2,3).

William
William on September 11, 2006 at 1:22 pm

On B.Marcus Priteca’s Warner Bros. houses he worked with the firm of A.T. Heinsbergen for the interior designs on that theatre. He passed away a few years ago. But the firm was still doing restoration work. They were located on Beverly Blvd. a few blocks west of La Brea Blvd. on the north side of the street near the old Spanish Kitchen. During the mid 40’s I think Priteca had offices located in Palomar Bldg, in Seattle, Washington.

BhillH20
BhillH20 on September 11, 2006 at 6:50 pm

Last time I recall, Richard McCann had taken over for Priteca in his practice. He might still be based out of Seattle, Washington. Let me know how the project turns out.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on September 12, 2006 at 4:40 am

Here are some details which may be of help:
Architect: B. Marcus Priteca
Contractor: Lang & Bergstrom
Building Permit: 9600 issued May 14 1930
Construction completed: on or about October 29 1930
Location: 6704 – 6722 (6714) Pacific Boulevard, (Block 47 Lots 6 & 7)
Opened: Tuesday November 18 1930
Manager: Carl Walker

The center front balcony rail was removed after December 6 1951 for the installation of a television projector.

The entire balcony was converted into a second theatre around August 30 1982

RayKaufman
RayKaufman on September 12, 2006 at 5:56 pm

Bill H. above has it correct. Dick McCann, Priteca’s protege, acquired the practice on Priteca’s passing. Any and all drawings Priteca had are likely now with McCann. McCann’s company is now located in the greater LA area. To be certain, architects and others, quite rightly, live off of these archives. That’s true ‘bread & butter’ work for them. In other words. If an architect’s firm that has the original drawings, does not do the work, expect to pay a substantial sum for the drawings.

I’m not sure if Huntington Park is anything like the City of Los Angeles, but if so, you’re in a great deal of luck. In LA, all sets of original blueprints for public buildings are saved and accessible.

Then too, there are firms out there that can digitally, laser scan
and measure a building, in and out and produce a reasonable set of as-built drawings, (which might be needed as it is, since any work done will require the more accurate version.) Obviously, whatever works, will, but it won’t be cheap.

Good Luck and let us know what the outcome is.

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