All Over the Place Via Your Suggestions – Part 2 Santa Ana, St. Louis, St. Paul & St. Pete

This is a new on-going series called “All Over the Place Via Your Suggestions” where I will continue to research your suggestions, and follow the many clues you all provide that helps to uncover our hidden history.

In Part 2 of this series, I will be researching places which viewers have suggested or provided photos from, including, but not limited, to Santa Ana, California; St. Louis, Missouri; Saint Paul, Minnesota; and Florida’s Tampa Bay area in St. Petersburg and Tampa.

Viewer KM sent me some photographs from around Santa Ana that I am going to share.

First, she sent me photos of the Santora Arts building there.

This is an historic photo of the Santora Arts Building in Santa Ana.

It was said to have been designed by the premier regional architect Frank Landsdowne in the “California Churrigueresque” Style of “Spanish Colonial Revival” architecture, with construction starting in July of 1928.

Churrigueresque refers to a Spanish Baroque-style of lavishly elaborate sculptural ornament, said to have emerged in Spain in the late 17th-century, and used up to about 1750, and credited to Jose Benito de Churriguera, who trained as a joiner of altar-pieces.

He was said to have an excessively elaborate style of filling the entire surface with detail, leading to the adjective “Churrigueresque.”

Among other churches and palaces Churriguera received the credit for, he was credited with the design of the altar in the Church for the Convent of Saint Steven in Salamanca, Spain.

The California Churrigueresque-style was said to be a revival-style native to California that originated in the early 20th-century by architects Bertram Goodhue and Carleton Winslow Sr. for the 1915 – 1917 Panama-California Exposition in San Diego, which was said to have been held to celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and touting San Diego as the first Port of Call for ships travelling north after passing westward through the canal.

The Exposition’s buildings and infrastructure, including the Cabrillo Bridge, some said to be meant to be permanent and others temporary, were said to have been constructed specifically for the Exposition in San Diego’s Balboa Park between 1911 and its opening in 1915.

But wait – doesn’t that look like the same kind of architecture in San Diego that you find in Moorish Spain?

Speaking of the Alhambra, there are details on the outside of the Santora Arts Building, still standing today housing art galleries, retail stores and restaurants in Santa Ana that look like details you find at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

KM sent photos she took at the Old Orange County Courthouse, said to have been built in 1900, and opened in 1901.

A museum today, the Old Orange County Courthouse was said to have been designed in the Romanesque-Revival-style first that opened in 1901.

It is located on Civic and Broadway Streets in Santa Ana’s Historic Downtown District.

We are told that in 1869, William Spurgeon established the City of Santa Ana on land he purchased from an old Spanish land grant from 1810 called the Rancho Santiago de Santa Ana, which stretched for 22-miles, or 35-kilometers, between the Santa Ana River to the Santa Ana Mountains.

Santa Ana was said to have been chosen as the county seat of Orange County because it was growing faster than the surrounding towns.

There are pavement prism lights at the Old County Courthouse, which can be seen from above outside, and below inside.

Prism pavement lights are even to be found in smaller towns, like this one remaining strip of pavement lights on Gurley Street I came across last year in Prescott, Arizona.

Prism Pavement or Vault lights were once found around the world, and while you can still see them in some places, they have largely been removed.

What we are told about these pavement lights is this:

Prism lighting was commonly found on flat-topped, walk-on skylights, known as pavement lights in the United Kingdom; Vault Lights in the United States…or floor lights and sidewalk prisms that were set-in sidewalks or floors to let sunlight into the space below, and that it was the use of lighting to improve the distribution of light, usually daylight, within a space. 

We are told prism lighting was only popular starting from its introduction in the 1890s…until cheap electric lights became commonplace in the 1930s, at which time prism lighting became unfashionable.

Shout out and thank you to Jon (AKA Beags) of the Stuffed Beagle YouTube channel for first bringing them to my attention and inviting me to collaborate with him on his three-part series about prism pavement lights in March of 2020.

The Spurgeon Square Jail, historically located next to the Old Orange County Courthouse and the county’s third jail, was said to have been built in 1897 as a turreted and stone structure for a cost of $31,000, and had gas and electricity, and it was considered fire-proof.

It was demolished in 1924, would would have been after only 27-years of existence.

The Spurgeon Square Jail became known as “Lacy’s Hotel,” after Theophilus Lacy, a farmer, stable operator, and Santa Ana City Treasurer turned Sheriff.

Sheriff Lacy and his family resided in and oversaw the lock-up.

The “Old Sycamore Jail,” in Santa Ana was across from the Old Orange County Courthouse, and located next to the First Presbyterian Church on Sycamore Street.

It was in use from 1924 until 1968, when it was closed after the completion of the $10.4-million Central Jails Complex in Santa Ana.

The “Old Sycamore” jail was located next to the First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana, which is still standing today, and located directly across the street from the Old Orange County Courthouse.

The First Presbyterian Church of Santa Ana was first established in the early 1880s.

The semi-circular and triple windows of the first church building on the left brought to mind the Geelong Exhibition Building I had seen tracking an alignment through Australia

Both were said to have been built in the same year.

The Geelong Exhibition Building was closed in 1936 and turned into a motor garage; in 1961 it was turned into a concrete car park; and it was finally demolished in 1984 to make room for a new shopping center.

The building on the left was said to have been built in 1906 to house the growing First Presbyterian Church, andthe building on the right is how the church looks today.

The 1933 Long Beach Earthquake resulted in building damage, including the destruction of the cupolas, and some of the original building’s ornate trim.

The Old Santa Ana City Hall #2 building is several blocks south of the First Presbyterian Church & Old County Courthouse, and a couple of blocks east of the Santora Arts Building.

The Old Santa Ana City Hall #2 building today is utilized as commercial office space.

This courthouse was said to have been built in the Art Deco Architectural-style between 1934 and 1935 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression, in which we are told the City of Santa Ana could have access to skilled labor at low prices.

The exterior of the building has a dark marble base and durable stonework…

…carved friezes…

…and two bearded giant statues flanking the front entrance…

…and the Old Santa Ana City Hall #1 was said to be reminiscent of a construction from ancient Mesopotamia.

The giant bearded statues at the Old Santa Ana City Hall brought to mind the two giant statues at the entrance of the Central Railway Station in Helsinki, Finland.

The Helsinki Central Railway Station was said to have come into existence as the result of a design contest in 1904.

The winner of the design contest was Eliel Saarinen, and we are told the new station he designed opened in 1919.

The first Santa Ana City Hall was said to have been erected in 1904 on the spot where the second was erected starting in 1934.

Next, I am going to take a look at noteworthy architecture in St. Louis, Missouri, via viewer GS.

GS sent me photos of several places in St. Louis, including:

The Civil Courts Building.

The Civil Courts Building was said to have been part of an $87-million bond ratified by voters in 1923 to build monumental buildings along the Memorial Plaza, and that its construction was said to have been completed in 1930, during the Great Depression.

We are told the pyramid-roof of the Civil Courts building was designed to resemble the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus in Turkey, considered one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, and said to have been destroyed by a succession of earthquakes centuries-ago.

The Civil Courts Pyramid has thirty-two ionic columns, and are 42-feet, or 13-meters-, high, and 5 1/2-feet, or almost 2-meters, wide.

On top of the pyramid, there are two sphinxes, facing in opposite directions.

Each sphinx is 12-feet, or 3.7-meters, high…

…and said to have been sculpted by Cleveland sculptor Steven Rebeck in 1930.

The Civil Courts Building is in alignment with the famous Gateway Arch of St. Louis.

The Old and New ATT buildings are right next to the Civil Courts building.

From what I can gather from internet searches, both AT & T buildings, the two tallest office towers in St. Louis, are currently vacant.

GS also shared photos with me of the St. Louis City Hall.

The St. Louis City Hall was was said to have been designed by architects Eckel and Mann, the winners of a national design competition.

Construction was said to have started in 1890, and completed in 1904.

Next, LAD directed my attention to the James J. Hill House in St. Paul, Minnesota, saying that it looks like the Ames Free Library in Easton, Massachusetts.

The Ames Free Library in Easton, Massachusetts, was said to have been commissioned by the children of Oliver Ames, Jr, after he left money in his will for the construction of a library.

The building of it we are told took place between 1877 and 1879.

The architectural-style of the building called Richardsonian Romanesque, named after 19th-century architect, Henry Hobson Richardson who was said to have actually designed the Ames Free Library.

Interestingly, Mr. Richardson is said to have never finished his architecture studies in Paris due to the Civil War.

He also was said to have died at the age of 47, after having a prolific career in the design of mind-blowingly sophisticated and ornate buildings of heavy masonry.

Oliver Ames, Jr, was a co-owner of the Ames Shovel Shop, along with his brother Oakes Ames.

Oliver was also the President of the Union Pacific Railroad from when it met the Central Pacific Railroad in Utah for the completion of the first Transcontinental Railroad in North America.

James J. Hill was a Canadian-American railroad magnate, and CEO of the family of lines headed by the Great Northern Railway.

The James J. Hill House is the largest house in St. Paul, the construction of which was said to have been completed in 1891, after Hill purchased three lots on Summit Avenue in 1882, at a time when wealthy citizens wanted to build fashionable homes there.

The James J. Hill House was said to be an example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture desgined by the East Coast architectural firm of Peabody, Stearns and Furber, and that Hill himself supervised the design and construction closely.

There was even a pipe organ in the home because apparently that was also a fashionable trend back in Hill’s day.

The James J. Hill House is located near the Cathedral of St. Paul on Summit Avenue, and both are relatively close to the Minnesota State Capitol building.

The Cathedral of St. Paul was said to have been built between 1906 and 1915.

It is considered to be one of the most distinctive cathedrals in the United States.

The Cathedral of St. Paul was said to have been designed by French Beaux-Arts architect Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, who was also credited with being the Chief Architect of the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair.

There are two pipe organs in the Cathedral of St. Paul.

We are told one is a 1927 Skinner Sanctuary Organ…

…and the other is a 1963 Aeolian-Skinner Organ, recently restored.

The Minnesota State Capitol building was said to have been designed by architect Cass Gilbert, and completed in 1905.

Gilbert’s Beaux-Arts/American Renaissance Design was said to have been influenced by by 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, and by the Rhode Island State Capitol Building, said to have been designed by the architectural firm of…McKim, Mead & White.

Architect Cass Gilbert was als0 credited with the design of the Supreme Court building in Washington, DC, which was said to have been built between 1932 and 1935…which also would have been during the Great Depression.

Next, I am going to head over to the Tampa Bay area in Central Florida, and take a look at the City Halls and some other architecture in the neighboring cities of Tampa and St. Petersburg.

First, JR sent me photographs of the Old Tampa City Hall.

The Old Tampa City Hall was said to have been designed by local architects M. Leo Elliott and Bayard Clayton Bonfoey.

Widely regarded as one of Tampa’s finest architects, Elliott was said to have come to the area from New York, and that he won first place in design competitions for the Centro Asturiano Club in Tampa’s Ybor City and the Tampa YMCA.

In September of 1907, he formed the architectural firm of Bonfoey and Elliott.

M. Leo Elliott is also credited with the following buildings in the Tampa area:

Masonic Temple #25…

…the DeSoto County Courthouse in Arcadia, Florida…

…the Cuban Club of Tampa in Ybor City…

…and the Leiman-Wilson House in Tampa…

Lastly, I am going to hop across Tampa Bay to St. Petersburg, also known as “St. Pete,” and take a look at the St. Petersburg City Hall.

Still in use today, St. Petersburg City Hall was said to have been built in 1939 with federal funds.

As a matter of fact, it was said to be one of the few buildings in St. Pete constructed under a Public Works Administration, or PWA, grant made possible through President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

Its design credited to nationally-known architect, A. Lowther Forrest, it is said to be an example of the Mediterranean Revival-style of architecture.

Interestingly, I can’t find out anything about an A. Lowther Forrest architect in an internet search.

The historic downtown of St. Pete included the Snell Arcade, also known as the Rutland Building, also said to have been built in the Mediterranean Revival-style said to have been built starting in 1926, and developed by wealthy landowner Perry C. Snell.

…which remains standing today as a result of preservation efforts.

Other historic St. Pete buildings that remain standing today include:

The Vinoy Renaissance Hotel, said to date from 1925, closed in 1974 – 1975, and re-opened in 1992…

…the Sunset Golf and Country Club on Snell Island, said to have been constructed in 1926 in the Romantic Revival-style, with an onion dome, tile-detailing and minaret…

…and today it is the Vinoy Renaissance Golf Club.

…and the Princess Martha Hotel, said to have first opened in 1924.

We are told it was originally called “The Mason” after New York steel magnate Franklin Mason and the hotel’s first owner.

The Princess Martha Hotel is a Senior Living Community today.

The Don Cesar Hotel on St. Pete Beach, also known as the “Pink Palace,” was said to have been designed by Indianapolis architect Henry H. Dupont for developer Thomas Rowe in a Moorish and Mediterranean style, and first opened in 1928 as a Gulf of Mexico playground for the pampered rich of America at the height of the Jazz Age during the 1930s, which would have been during the same time-frame of the Great Depression.

One of the really neat things that has been happening when I do the research of places that people have suggested, invariably unplanned themes emerge, like ones seen in this post, including architecture explained by world fairs and expositions; the Depression-era New Deal; winning designs in contests; and so forth.

I am going to end this post in St. Pete, and will continue to investigate your suggestions in the on-going series “All Over the Place via Your Suggestions.”

Author: Michelle Gibson

I firmly believe there would be no mysteries in history if we had been told the true history. I intend to provide compelling evidence to support this. I have been fascinated by megaliths most of my life, and my journey has led me to uncovering the key to the truth. I found a star tetrahedron on the North American continent by connecting the dots of major cities, and extended the lines out. Then I wrote down the cities that lined lined up primarily in circular fashion, and got an amazing tour of the world of places I had never heard of with remarkable similarities across countries. This whole process, and other pieces of the puzzle that fell into place, brought up information that needs to be brought back into collective awareness.

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