Gaytonia Apartments

No, that title is not a typo.
Living and working around Belmont Shores, I drive by some pretty bizarre things. One building in particular rises above the rest. One, because it is a rather tall building. Two, because at night the name is lit up in neon green lights: Gaytonia.

In all of my years visiting and then living in Belmont Shore, I never knew what that building once was, or what it was now. I figured now would be as good a time as any to take a look.

The building was an apartment hotel that was built in the 1930’s. Named after the owner-contractor George Gayton, was catered towards Naval Officers stationed in Long Beach. Gayton also built the Belmont Theatre in Belmont Shores. The building was fairly expensive and high-end for its time, offering services such as maid service, valet and included  furnishings like dishes and linen.

gaytonia

Remember that neon sign I mentioned earlier? It is the only remaining aspect of the original building that is in tact. It’s so-called “interesting” architecture has been remodeled over the years, but is said to be a combination of old-Gothic and the “Norman Revival” style. The outside looks like an old castle: old bricks and stone, a few turrets, and a somewhat out-of place red tile roof (now where have we seen that before)?

Studio and 1-bedroom apartments can still be rented from this building. While they might not have all of the modern tech updates that many people look for today, these rooms, and the entire building, comes with a long-standing history that can only mean its here to stay.

2 Comments

  1. Elvin Mabborang

    The picture in your blog looks dope, sans the Gaytonia sign. I know Professor Smith and probably some of the class would agree that the mashup of architectural styles can looks gaudy and awful, but I personally dig them (most of the time). They’re pretty unique structures that I feel represent how conflicted we are as people with our own identity, and the more we “advanced” we get, the more we lose sight of this. Anyways, I just feel like that photo looks really picturesque and postcard/painting/hang up the photo on a wall worthy, but the sign just seems out of place to me. Since we’re so advanced, maybe someone can Photoshop it out?

  2. Sean Smith

    The Gaytonia is done in what’s called Chateauesque design, meant to mimic the look and feel of a French countryside chateau. Long Beach was a staging ground for many of LA’s most famous architects many of whom built test houses, and buildings here, before building them in LA proper. Long Beach is full of “The Eclectic Revival” style homes and apartments from the 20s and 30s like the Gaytonia.

    The period between the World Wars was one of intense building activity in Los Angeles, and a wide range of revival styles were built in the area during this period. The Eclectic Revival styles popular in Los Angeles between the First and Second World Wars include the Colonial Revival, Dutch Colonial Revival, Spanish Colonial Revival, Mission Revival, French Eclectic, Chateauesque, English and Tudor Revival, Italian Renaissance Revival, Mediterranean Revival, Neoclassical Revival, Egyptian Revival, Monterey and HispanoMoresque
    styles.

    The Craftsman and Craftsman Bungalow styles continued to develop as popular styles through this period. Many of these styles were popular both as residential and commercial styles, with a few, particularly the Egyptian Revival and Chateauesque styles, being particularly popular for use in small and large scale apartment buildings.

    All of these styles were based on an exuberantly free adaptation of previous historic or “foreign” architectural styles. The Los Angeles area is home to the largest and most fully developed collection of these styles in the country, probably due to the combination of the building boom that occurred in this region in the 1920s and the influence of the creative spirit of the film industry. Prominent architects working in these styles included Paul Revere Williams,Walker & Eisen, Curlett & Beelman, Reginald Johnson, Gordon Kauffman, Roland Coates, Arthur R. Kelley, Carleton M. Winslow, and Wallace Neff.

    Many surviving examples of these styles exist in Los Angeles, particularly in the Hancock Park, Windsor Square, La Fayette Square, Spaulding Square, Larchmont Heights, Whitney Heights, Carthay Circle, South Carthay, Miracle Mile North, and Los Feliz areas.

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