“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Long Beach in Los Angeles County, California — The American West (Pacific Coastal)


Recreation Marker image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, November 15, 2013
1. Recreation Marker
Plaque located on the right-hand side of the tile mosaic.
Inscription. This mosaic tile mural, one of the largest in the world with more than 466,000 California tiles, was created by dozens of artists as a W.P.A. Federal Arts Project in 1937 to grace the facade of the Municipal Auditorium. It was saved from demolition by caring citizens and moved to this site in 1982.

Long Beach Recreation is the most ambitious and imposing work created by Works Progress Administration artists in southern California. It is a monumental mosaic created from 466,000 tiles; it covers 800 square feet and weighs over 3,000 pounds. It was originally created to fit in a large arch on the front of the recently completed Long Beach Municipal Auditorium.

The original Auditorium plan called for a painted mural about California history, but its cost led it to be abandoned when the great Depression struck. Federally employed artists stepped in and created a substitute, which was unveiled in 1938, positioned so that drivers heading south on Long Beach Boulevard viewed it at street level.

The artists illustrated many local activities including summers on the beach playing with a ball, a sailor admiring the beginning of his young family, and horseshoe players determining the score of a game, another part of the mosaic shows participants arguing at a free speech area known as the Sit and Argue Club.

Long Beach Recreation image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, August 20, 2013
2. Long Beach Recreation
Marker located on the front-right of the tile mosaic.
mosaic was designed by Henry Nord, and redesigned by Stanton Macdonald-Wright and Albert Henry King, with help of Louise Etcheverry. Stanley Spohn, John Hubley, Margaret Waite and Robert Boag performed the scaling, details, execution and installation. Louisa King designed the edge tiles and Don Totton did the color design. The artists were so proud of their work that they glazes their names on the edge tiles that wrap around the mosaic.

When the Municipal Auditorium was demolished in 1975, local preservationists urged the city to save the mosaic. It was put in storage and, in 1982, installed on the south side of the parking garage built for the Long Beach Plaza shopping center. When the enclosed mall was demolished and rebuild as CityPlace in 2002, the mosaic was protected in place. Its current site honors the wish of the lead artist, Stanton Macdonald-Wright, that it be displayed at street level.
Erected 1983. (Marker Number 17.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects marker series.
Location. 33° 46.244′ N, 118° 11.462′ W. Marker is in Long Beach, California, in Los Angeles County. Marker is on East 3rd Street, on the right when traveling west. Click for map.
Recreation Tile Mural image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, August 20, 2013
3. Recreation Tile Mural
Marker is located in the Harvey Milk Park. Marker is in this post office area: Long Beach CA 90802, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Harvey Milk / Harvey Milk Equality Plaza (within shouting distance of this marker); Farmers & Merchants Bank Tower (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Walker Building (about 600 feet away); US Post Office-Long Beach Main (about 600 feet away); The Kress Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Security Pacific National Bank (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Willmore (approx. mile away); The First Congregational Church of Long Beach (approx. mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Long Beach.
Categories. Arts, Letters, Music
Recreation Tile Mural image. Click for full size.
By Michael Kindig, March 20, 2014
4. Recreation Tile Mural
Tile Mosiac at Municipal Auditorium image. Click for full size.
National Archives and Records Administration
5. Tile Mosiac at Municipal Auditorium
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. This page has been viewed 190 times since then and 50 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Michael Kindig of Long Beach, California. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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