Long Beach Courthouse (Demolished) | Los Angeles Conservancy
Long Beach Courthouse. Photo by Adrian Scott Fine/L.A. Conservancy

Long Beach Courthouse (Demolished)

Completed in 1960, the Long Beach Courthouse was an important example of the Corporate International Style, an architectural style that gained prominence in Southern California in the early 1960s. The eleven-story building was designed by master architect Kenneth S. Wing in collaboration with Francis J. Heusel. A celebrated modern architect, Wing's career spanned more than sixty years in Long Beach. 

The rectangular-plan courthouse had curtain walls set with panels of glass and blue porcelain enamel corresponding to each floor and floor plate, while the west and east elevations featured a contrasting treatment with precast aggregate concrete panels.

Other distinguishing features of the building’s design included the recessed first floor set behind the columns of the structural framing, the transparant quality of the glass-enclosed staircase of the building’s southwest section, and terrazzo paving and raised concrete planters.

Demolition of the building began in March 2016 as part of a larger plan to redevelop the Long Beach Civic Center

Though the City of Long Beach had hosted a branch of the Los Angeles County Superior Court prior to the onset of World War II, the postwar population boom led the City to seek funding for a more efficient courthouse building. In 1953, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors offered $2 million towards the project, and the City selected Wing and Heuse as the architects. 

Disagreements over the location of the courthouse, which would serve both the Municipal and Superior Courts, delayed the project for several years. Although residents believed that the courthouse should be constructed near the center of the city, decision-makers ultimately selected a downtown location. 

More than one thousand people attended the opening ceremony of the new Long Beach Courthouse in December 1960, which featured Chief Justice Earl Warren as a guest speaker. 

Photo by Joel H. Mark/West Hollywood Preservation Alliance

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