Structure Type: built works - commercial buildings - office buildings; built works - industrial buildings - warehouses

Designers: Allied Architects of Fresno (firm); Coates and Metz, Architects (firm); William Demmond Coates Jr. (architect); Charles Henry Franklin (architect); Ernest Joseph Kump Sr. (architect); H. Rafael Lake (architect); Maurice J. Metz (architect); E. W. Peterson (architect); Frederic L. Swartz (architect); Henry P. Villalon (architectural designer); Milton Louis Wertheimer (architectural designer)

Dates: constructed 1935-1937

3 stories

view all images ( of 1 shown)

2281 Tulare Street
Downtown, Fresno, CA 93721

OpenStreetMap (new tab)
Google Map (new tab)
click to view google map
Google Streetview (new tab)
click to view google map


Allied Architects of Fresno, a combined architectural office created during the Depression, produced the quintessential PWA Deco-Classical design for the Fresno County Hall of Records. Allied Architects, a consolidation of the offices of W. D. Coates, Ernest J. Kump, Sr., Fred L. Swartz, H. Rafael Lake, E. W. Peterson, and Charles H. Franklin, paralleled a similar conglomerate office known as Allied Architects Association of Los Angeles (active between 1921 and 1944). The Hall of Records work was paid for from various sources, primarily using funds from the Federal Government's Public Works Administration (PWA). Operating between 1935 and 1943, the PWA was a New Deal program that helped to rebuild and expand government buildings at all levels and financed vital infrastructure projects across the Pacific Coast. PWA labor and expertise was a blend of public and private resources; long-established and some recently reconstituted construction companies received many PWA contracts, guided by government specialists from the Office of the Treasury or the Army Corps of Engineers.

Building History

Fresno County indicated in its historical narrative about the Hall of Records that "...the building is the work of a master architectural designer, Henry P. Villalon." The writer of this passage, Kevin Enns-Rempel, of Fresno Pacific University, elaborated: "...While Allied Architects received corporate credit for the job, the actual Hall of Records design was that of Allied draftsman Henry P. Villalon, assisted by draftsman Milton Wertheimer; civil and structural engineers Clarkson Swain and Frederick W. Kellberg of San Francisco; and by Kellberg's junior assistant at that time, J. Albert Paquette." Villalon produced a very spare design, fit for the sober tastes of the 1930s. The hall consisted originally of a single rectangular block, standing three stories tall, with a symmetrical front fenestration and central entry. Concrete walls have been painted over time. The building features windows with aluminum trim, the most arresting being the spandrels separating the second and third floors. They display a very bold Art Deco configuration of chevrons, squares and half circles. Separating the spandrels, fluted pilasters were each topped by capitals delicately inscribed into the concrete. The cornice line is a complex synthesis of ornamentation, subtly suggesting an Ionic capital but stylized to become something fresh and contemporary. Villalon introduced vegetal vine forms into the Deco array of triangles, chevrons and half-circle suns, recalling the work of Louis Sullivan.


Fresno County added an Annex to the Hall of Records in 1954-1955. Fresno architect Maurice J. Metz (1920-1975) designed the addition.

National Register of Historic Places: 11000932 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 19734