AKA: Old City Hall, Downtown, Gilroy, CA; Lizarran Restaurant, Downtown, Gilroy, CA

Structure Type: built works - public buildings - city halls

Designers: Newsom and Meyer, Architects (firm); Newsom and Newsom, Architects (firm); Wolfe and McKenzie, Architects (firm); Charles Sutherland McKenzie (architect); Joseph Cather Newsom (architect); Samuel Newsom (architect); Frank Delos Wolfe (architect)

Dates: constructed 1904-1905

7410 Monterey Street
Gilroy, CA 95020-5824

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Building History

The voters of Gilroy passed four city bond issues in 1905, most dealing with infrastructure, but one raised $5,000 to complete the remarkable City Hall. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reported on the passage of these bond issues: “The bond election held here on Monday resulted in the greatest victory for a forward movement seen in Gilroy for many years. There were four propositions, one the voting of $25,000 for sewers, another for $15,000 for the improvement of the municipal water works, a third for $11,000 for electric lighting system, and the fourth for $5,000 for the completion of the City Hall, which is in the process of erections.” (See “Gilroy on the Map Once More,” Santa Cruz Sentinel, 08/10/1905, p. 12.)

Samuel Cather Newsom designed a great many Queen Anne style residences in CA, some like the William Carson House in Eureka, CA, (1884-1886) having an extreme level of carved and lathe-turned wood ornamentation. He completed this unorthodox Mission Revival design in either 1903 or 1904. He worked in association with the San Jose architects Wolfe and McKenzie. In 1904, Newsom was working with

Building Notes

This eclectic, idiosyncratic building occupied a prominent corner site in Downtown Gilroy, CA. Its first floor had a Richardsonian Romanesque character, clad in rusticated, random ashlar, a buff sandstone resembling that used at Stanford University. Stucco covered the second floor facade. All of the bulls-eye or arched windows of the second floor were trimmed by voussoirs of alternating sizes. Architect Samuel Newsom (1848-1908) designed very unusual oriel windows for the second floor, their tops terminating in gables with scalloped eaves lines. Ball finials topped each gable above the Spanish-tiled roofline. A central bell/clock tower was placed above the canted corner entrance. The building, with its fanciful detailing, looked back and forward; its Spanish tile reflected contemporary Mission Revival models, while the rusticated sandstone recalled the earlier Richardsonian era.


The Loma Prieta Earthquake of 1989 caused structural damage to the City Hall. Rather than leveling the landmark, the Gilroy Historical Society, in partnership with the Santa Clara County Historical Heritage Commission, raised money to renovate it. A restaurant serving Spanish cuisine, Lizarran Tapas, operated in this space until 2012.

National Register of Historic Places (April 16, 1975): 75000480 NRHP Images (pdf) NHRP Registration Form (pdf)

PCAD id: 9691