Santa Monica History Spotlight: The Rapp Saloon

January 10, 2019
by Robyn Carmichael

Santa Monica History Spotlight: The Rapp Saloon

The History Spotlight focuses on the landmarks, residents and stories that have shaped Santa Monica into what it is today. Content is being produced in partnership with the Santa Monica Landmarks CommissionSanta Monica History Museum and the Santa Monica Daily Press.

1438 2nd Street
Built 1875, designated 1975

This, the first Santa Monica landmark, was designated in 1975, on the building’s centennial year. Remarkably intact over its long history, the building was the first masonry structure in the City. The onestory structure was built for William Rapp by contractor Mr. Freeman and bricklayers and plasterers Spencer & Pugh. An 1877 advertisement in the Santa Monica Outlook billed the establishment as the “Los Angeles Beer Garden” with “fresh-tapped Los Angeles Beer always on hand.”

Over the years, the building has housed a variety of uses: It was officially used as Santa Monica’s Town Hall from May 1888 to February 1889. It later became a Salvation Army meeting hall, a radiator repair shop, art galleries, and storage for one of the first movie studios in the Los Angeles area, Vitagraph Film Co. in the 1900s. Today, it is the centerpiece of one of Santa Monica’s most successful, pioneering adaptive reuse projects, the Santa Monica Hostel International, opened in the 1980s.

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