Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - commercial buildings - stores

Designers: Chapman, Charles, Structural Engineer (firm); Durfee, M. Eugene, Architect (firm); Mounce, H. Wendell, AIA, and Associates, Architects (firm); Charles Chapman (structural engineer); Morien Eugene Durfee Sr. (architect); Howard Wendell Mounce (engineer)

Dates: constructed 1923

5 stories

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110 East Wilshire Avenue
Downtown, Fullerton, CA 92832-1900

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Anaheim architect M. Eugene Durfee (born 1886) designed this 5-story Italian Palazzo in 1923, then the tallest building in Orange County. It originally was to rise only three stories, but two were added to accommodate the Chapman/Wickett Department Store, one of many enterprises operated by the city's mayor, Charles C. Chapman.

The City of Fullerton's Landmarks page said of the Chapman Building: "The Chapman Building is a good example of how commercial architecture in California in the early part of the 20th century reflected the background of its transplanted property owners. Instead of developing a native style, the architecture was usually imported from other parts of the country, just like much of the population. Charles Chapman began his entrepreneurial career in Chicago in the 1870s, leaving for California in 1894, when the Chicago Skyscraper style was at its peak. When the opportunity arrived, it was natural for Chapman to attempt to recreate this architecture in Fullerton. In using the style of Louis Sullivan, Mr. Durfee evidently 'borrowed' some of the detailing from Sullivan's Bayard Building, constructed in New York in 1897." While the building may have reminded Chapman of Chicago, its ornamentation had little to do with Sullivan; it drew on Italian Renaissance Revival sources, seen especially well in the paired arched windows of the top floor, cable moldings, ornate cornice, arched corbels, and other Romanesque and Classical ornamentation. The Bayard Building, Sullivan's only work in New York, did feature similar paired top-floor windows, but the ornamental vocabulary was entirely different. (See "The Chapman Building," City of Fullerton,Accessed 05/01/2013.)

Collingwood Corporation of Pasadena, CA, and Illig Construction Company of Los Angeles, CA, joined with the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency to renovate the Chapman Building in 1982. It was set to cost $3.3 million, with $3 million of it being financed by bonds sold by the Fullerton Redevelopment Agency. H. Wendell Mounce, AIA, and Associates served as the Architect for the renovation and Charles Chapman worked as Structural Engineer. New terra cotta ornamentation was fabricated to surround the main entrance which had been removed in the 1950s during an exterior modernization.

Fullerton Local Landmark: ID n/a

PCAD id: 10379