Art Deco (1925-1940)

National Register #86002293: Las Vegas High School, Nevada Las Vegas High School
National Register #86002293
Built 1931
Photographed 21 June 2006
Polytechnic High School Boys Gymnasium Polytechnic High School Boys' Gymnasium in San Francisco
Built 1929
Photographed 2 January 2012
North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge North Tower of the Golden Gate Bridge
California Historical Landmark 974
Built 1937
Photographed 27 November 2012
(Click Photos to Zoom)

Art Deco originated at the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes held in Paris in 1925. The exposition promoted a modern aesthetic appropriate to the machine age and prohibited "reproductions, imitations and counterfeits of ancient styles." This manifesto seems to be a direct response to the dominance of revival styles in architecture: Greek, Neoclassical, Romanesque, Spanish Colonial, American Colonial, Georgian, Federal.

The Art Deco style is linear, hard-edged, angular, sleek. The façades of Art Deco buildings are typically arranged in a series of set backs with low-relief, geometrical ornamentation in metal, glazed bricks or mosaic tiles. The ornamentation consisted parallel lines, zig-zags, chevrons, stylized floral and fountain motifs, stylized human reliefs.

Art Deco extended to household objects and graphic design. Buildings looked like radios which looked like table lamps which looked like refrigerators. Classic travel posters of cruise ships and the Côte d'Azur were Art Deco. Glamorous night clubs and penthouses in black and white Hollywood movies were Art Deco. Art Deco, along with Spanish Colonial Revival, was the preferred style for the homes of the newly rich and famous.

Art Deco was contemporaneous with Art Moderne. Both styles represented modernity but not in the same way. Art Deco was luxe and embellished; movie palaces, corporate headquarters, important public buildings. Art Moderne was efficient and stripped down: bus stations, gas stations, dime stores.

Distinctive Art Deco features are:

  • stepped façades and frontispieces
  • stylized sculpture
  • octagonal lamps and clocks
  • sunrise and floral patterns
  • zig-zag bands and trim
  • iron grill work
  • chevrons and lozenges


Name Year Address City Sort Address Sort Name
Alaska Electric Light and Power Building1936134 North Franklin StreetJuneau, AKFranklin N 134Alaska Electric Light and Power Building
Bank of Napa Addition903 Main StreetNapaMain 0903Bank of Napa Addition
Baranof Hotel1938127 North Franklin StreetJuneau, AKFranklin N 127Baranof Hotel
Cascade Theatre19351731 Market Street ReddingMarket 1731Cascade Theatre
Coit Tower19331 Telegraph Hill BoulevardSan FranciscoTelegraphCoit Tower
El Cortez Hotel1931239 West 2nd StreetReno, NV Street 02 W 0239El Cortez Hotel
Fluhrer Bakery Building193329 North Holly Street Medford, ORHolly N 0029Fluhrer Bakery Building
Ford Building1935Balboa ParkSan DiegoBalboa ParkFord Building
Fresno Memorial Auditorium 19352425 Fresno StreetFresnoFresno 2425Fresno Memorial Auditorium
Golden Gate Bridge1937California Route 1 Across the Golden GateSan FranciscoHighway 01Golden Gate Bridge
Gross 20th Century Building1939222 Front StreetJuneau, AKFront 222Gross 20th Century Building
Hotel Californian 1923403 Taylor StreetSan FranciscoTaylor 0403Hotel Californian
Jackson County Courthouse 193210 South Oakdale Avenue Medford, OROakdale S 0010Jackson County Courthouse
Landrum's Hamburger System No. 119471300 South Virginia StreetReno, NVVirginia S 1300Landrum's Hamburger System No. 1
Las Vegas High School 1931315 South Seventh StreetLas Vegas Street 07Las Vegas High School
Monterey County Jail1930142 West Alisal StreetSalinasWest Alisal 0142Monterey County Jail
Polytechnic High School Gymnasiums1929639 and 755 Frederick Street San FranciscoFrederick 0639Polytechnic High School Gymnasiums
Rogue River Bridge1932Highway 101Gold Beach, ORHighway 101Rogue River Bridge
Rogue Theatre1938143 Southeast H StreetGrants Pass, OR Street H SW 0143Rogue Theatre
Santa Barbara Main Post Office1937836 Anacapa StreetSanta BarbaraAnacapa 0836 Santa Barbara Main Post Office
Southside School1936190 East Liberty StreetReno, NVLiberty E 0190Southside School
Tayler-Phipps Building 1937221-225 East Main Street Medford, ORMain E 0221Tayler-Phipps Building
United States Post Office193365 West Mill AvenuePortervilleMill W 0065United States Post Office
United States Post Office1932111 West Acequia Avenue VisaliaAcequia W 0111United States Post Office
Veterans Memorial School19491200 Locust StreetReno, NVLocust 1200Veterans Memorial School
Marconi-RCA Transmitting Station1929451 Mesa RoadBolinasMesaMarconi-RCA Transmitting Station
Sunshine School19352728 Bryant StreetSan FranciscoBryant 2728Sunshine School
Phillips Building1930234-246 First StreetSan Francisco Street 01 0234Phillips Building
Royal Baking Company19354767-4773 Mission StreetSan FranciscoMission 4767Royal Baking Company
El Rey Theatre19311970 Ocean AvenueSan FranciscoOcean 1970El Rey Theatre
Bellaire Tower19301101 Green StreetSan FranciscoGreen 1101Bellaire Tower

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