News & Advocacy

Save the History Building at Samohi!

May 11, 2021

The pending demolition of Samohi’s History Building has gained national attention! Spotlighted in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s spring issue of Preservation magazine, this advocacy issue has reached national readership just in time for the observance of Historic Preservation Month in May throughout the U.S.

Image: The National Trust for Historic Preservation

Please join the Santa Monica Conservancy as we make one final energetic effort to save this important historic resource! Write directly to School Board members and ask them to reconsider their approval of demolition and evaluate adaptive reuse and rehabilitation.

About the History Building
Built in 1913 by renowned architects Allison & Allison, the History Building was the first and original building of the new high school campus atop Prospect Hill. It was then the Academic and Administration Building, serving as the heart of the new campus, which grew around it over time.

Severely damaged by the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, the rebuilding program by eminent architects Marsh, Smith & Powell cast the reconstruction in Streamline Moderne style. It became the crowning centerpiece of a number of WPA designs at the high school, linked architecturally and thematically with other important Streamline Moderne civic buildings in Santa Monica, such as City Hall.

As the City’s only high school, the History Building was part of many residents’ life experiences, creating strong feelings of loyalty to the place. However, the School Board approved a replacement project and was not willing to investigate the potential renovation or adaptive reuse of the History Building although it recently approved new historic preservation policies for the other school sites.

This demolition threat came to the Santa Monica Conservancy’s attention in October 2020 through an online petition that garnered around 6,000 signatures. We have actively advocated for historic preservation of this key building and other historic resources on school sites. Today, we need to make one more effort to turn the tide on the History Building, and we need your help!

How You Can Help
Please send an email to School Board members expressing your support for saving this irreplaceable historic building and ask for a study of adaptive reuse and renovation of the History Building. Your message, whatever length, will add to the public voices in favor of saving the History Building!

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