Washington Middle School: Exterior Bas-Reliefs – Long Beach CA

City:
Long Beach, CA

Site Type:
Bas Reliefs, Education and Health, Art Works, Schools

New Deal Agencies:
Public Works Administration (PWA), Public Works Funding

Started:
1933

Completed:
1935

Designer:
John Comeley Wilson Austin

Quality of Information:
Very Good

Marked:
No

Site Survival:
Extant

Description

The Public Works Administration (PWA) paid for the reconstruction of Washington Middle School in Long Beach, CA, after the school was heavily damaged in the 1933 Long Beach earthquake. The school reopened in 1935.

The school’s website gives a description of the building’s exterior artworks: “Washington’s design details combine characteristics from all three phases of the Art Deco and Art Moderne architecture. The exterior has Streamline Moderne details. There is a low-relief profile of George Washington (1732-99) above the main entryway on Cedar Avenue. Recessed double vertical lines create the illusion of a two-story lobby area. The two [other] Cedar Avenue entrances are bordered with allegorical low-relief characters reminiscent of Greek vase paintings. They represent literature, engineering technology, art and music. These low-relief sculptures… are characteristic of PWA Moderne structures.”  (Washington Middle School History)

The school website does not mention that the shop building on Long Beach Avenue also has bas-reliefs. 

 

 

Source notes

Washington Middle School History

PWA job cards held at the National Archives (see photos)

Site originally submitted by Richard Walker on May 7, 2023.

Location Info


1450 Cedar Ave.
Long Beach, CA 90813

Coordinates: 33.7850, -118.1948

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