AKA: Old City Hall, Santa Ana, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - city halls

Designers: Austin and Wildman, Architects (firm); William Horace Austin Jr. (architect); Harold C. Wildman (architect)

Dates: constructed 1934-1935

3 stories

view all images ( of 3 shown)

217 North Main Street
Civic Center, Santa Ana, CA 92701

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map
The Old City Hall was located on the southeast corner of West 3rd Street and North Main Street.


This city hall had three stories and a strongly vertical, Art Deco appearance. Its front facade was divided into five bays, the central one containing the main entry and a single-story tower projecting above the parapet line. The front door had two bearded term guardians on either side, rendered in a cross between Classicial and the Art Deco Styles. A Depression-era project funded in part by the Works Progress Administration (WPA), the City of Santa Ana could take advantage of skilled labor at low prices. The exterior had elegant, carefully crafted details--a durable stone facing, carved friezes, bronze screenwork and window casings and a dark marble base. Its form recalled both an ancient Assyrian or Mesopotamian bastion and a contemporary skyscraper.

Building History

The first Santa Ana City Hall, erected in 1904, stood on the spot where the second was erected. Architects W. Horace Austin (1881-1942) and H.C. Wildman (1894-1964) prepared plans for the Santa Ana City Hall c. 1933; the City of Santa Ana applied to the WPA for a $30,000 grant and a $70,000 loan to erect the facility. The city also sought $70,000 in bonds in order to qualify for the loan. This building was in use until the 1980s, when most city government offices had left; all departments had left by 1999, when the last, the Santa Ana Public Works Agency, vacated the Art Deco building. Beginning in 1982, portions of the building were privatized and converted to commercial office use.

Building Notes

Sculptures of two bearded guards topped pilasters flanking the front entrance to city hall. The three-story building was done in the Art Deco Style, with a strongly vertical appearance and quasi-traditional, geometrical ornamentation. A four-story tower marked the location of the main entry when seen from a distance.


A list of alterations can be found here from the site of Santa Ana History.com. It lists the following changes that have occurred to the Santa Ana City Hall #3:

May 10, 1935: City of Santa Ana City Hall.
July 7, 1939: Alterations & repairs.
December 4, 1946: Alter City Hall basement.
July 7, 1959: Remodel 3rd floor of City Hall for Planning Dept.
and Mayor’s office.
March 2, 1961: Interior alterations 1st and 2nd floors.
July 9, 1963: Suspended ceiling.
May 25, 1965: Partitions around stair well on 2nd floor rear.
May 9, 1968: Elevated floor system and air systems in
computer room.

July 26, 1968: Add paneling over existing wall.
October 15, 1970: Office partitions (Council Chambers).
May 14, 1971: Interior partitions on 3rd floor.
June 12, 1972: Interior partitions.
June 2, 1982: Add new 2nd floor elevation and rehabilitate
building for its new owner, Barristers’ Bluilding, Ltd.
September 29, 1982: Tenant improvement.
September 19, 1985: Install door.
April 16, 1993: Repair partition walls.

Santa Ana Register of Historical Properties: ID n/a

PCAD id: 14076