Louise Ivers: Long Beach History is Safe as Houses
Louise Ivers, professor of art and chair, Art Department, had her article titled “Swiss Chalets in Long Beach,” published in a recent issue of the Southern California Quarterly. According to Ivers, the “Swiss Chalets” were Craftsman bungalows constructed in Long Beach, CA, so nicknamed by journalists and architects of the day because of their wooden construction.
Ivers, a scholar of architecture in Long Beach, discusses the chalets built by W. Horace Austin and Hugh R. Davies, noted Long Beach architects of the early 20th century. She points out that the buildings were inspired by the homes of Adelaide Tichenor and Jennie A. Reeve, which were built in Long Beach in 1904-05 by Charles and Henry Greene.
“These were the first California bungalows that had the major elements of wooden construction, low-pitched roofs with exposed rafters, open plans, and relation to the surrounding gardens,” Ivers says. “The chalets were influenced both by traditional Japanese buildings and by traditional Swiss chalets, both of which were constructed of wood.”
Ivers, received the 2006 Merit Award from Long Beach Heritage, a nonprofit education and advocacy group promoting knowledge and preservation of historical and architectural resources in Long Beach, for her extensive photographs and publications on that city’s architecture. Exhibitions of her work have appeared nationally at the Phipps Gallery in Long Beach, the Long Beach Museum of Art, the Joslyn Center of Arts in Torrance, CA, the Ettinger Gallery at the Art Institute of Southern California, the Mid-Hudson Arts and Science Center in Poughkeepsie, NY and the Lubbock Fine Arts Center, Lubbock, TX.
“There are a number of large Craftsman bungalows left in Long Beach, but more have been demolished than saved,” notes Ivers, “especially on Ocean Boulevard, which was once lined with notable examples. The City Council and the Redevelopment Agency in Long Beach have been responsible for the lack of historic preservation in Long Beach and they continue to take buildings by eminent domain and demolish them in order to build condos. There are still single-family residences, and some have been carved up into apartments. The only one that serves a different function is the Long Beach Museum of Art on Ocean Blvd., a house in the Bluff Park Historic District, which was founded by the residents to save the old homes.”
- Joanie Harmon-Whetmore