Original Arcadia City Hall
(Click image for enhanced view.)
Location: Northwest corner of First Avenue and Huntington Drive.
Dedicated in 2008.
Sign text (back side): The first official Arcadia City Hall building was a two-story brick Colonial structure fronted by four white columns at this location on the northwest corner of First Avenue and Huntington Drive (1924 photo below). It was dedicated on July 13, 1918, just a few months prior to the end of World War I when the population of Arcadia was approximately 2,000. This City Hall came 15 years after Arcadia was incorporated as a city in 1903 with only a few hundred residents. Arcadia used the Oakwood Hotel (southwest corner of First Avenue and Santa Clara) to conduct its business until a fire destroyed the landmark on 1911. Offices were moved temporarily, first to the two-story McCoy Building at 233 N. First Ave.(near St. Joseph Street), and then across First Ave. to the Hibbard Building in 1914. This Colonial-style City Hall remained in operation for 30 years until the second City Hall was opened in 1948 at 240 W. Huntington Dr.
The dedication of City Hall was the culmination of the transformation of Arcadia in 1912 from a town dominated by saloons and gambling to a residential community. During these years the city’s first phone and electric service, water wells, and public library were established while 11 saloons were shut down. A drug store, two grocery stores, a hardware store and a barber shop were opened along First Avenue, which was the first of more than 16 miles of city streets to be fully paved.
In 1929, one of the country’s first drive-in market centers and a gas station opened across the street from City Hall on the southwest corner of the intersection (1934 photo below). The city’s first movie house — The Arcadia Theatre — opened across the street from City Hall, a few doors west on the south side of Huntington Drive (1938 photo below).
On July 1, 1920, the Arcadia Public Library, first established in 1913 as a branch of the Los Angeles County Library, was incorporated as a city library and housed in a small room of City Hall. In 1924, the library was moved to a small frame house just north of City Hall until a new Spanish-style library was built at the corner of First and Wheeler (1955 photo below), which served the community from 1930-1961, when a new library building opened on the southwest corner of Duarte Road and Santa Anita Avenue.
1924 (photo) — A gathering for a July 4th celebration in front of City Hall on the NW corner of First Avenue and Huntington Drive. The crowd is listening to a speaker who is standing in front of seated dignitaries and soldiers in uniform.
1934 (photo) — Looking toward the southwest corner of the intersection opposite City Hall, the Arcadia Drive-In Market was one of the country’s first drive-in market centers when it opened in 1929. On the left is the John C. Baldwin Gas Station. The Pines Cafe is on the right.
1938 (photo) — East Huntington Drive looking west from near intersection of First Avenue. On NW corner (top right) is vine-covered City Hall. The Arcadia Theatre, the city’s first moving picture theater is mid-way on south side of street with a large banner advertising a Charles Laughton Film. From the “Dick” Whittington Collection, Courtesy of the Huntington Library, San Marino, California.
1955 (photo) — Exterior of Arcadia Public Library building at the corner of First Avenue and Wheeler, which was north of City Hall and served the community for three decades.
Except where noted, all photographs courtesy of Arcadia Public Library, Arcadia, Calif.