Kress Building

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KRESS BUILDING
445-455 Pine Ave. (1923, 1929)

Architect: Thomas Franklin Power

The Kress Building was number 152 in the total of nationwide chain stores founded by Samuel H. Kress (1863-1955). Constructed in 1923 on Long Beach's premier retail street, Pine Avenue, the store prospered. In 1928-29, a three-story addition was built on the south to double the store space and increase lunch counter services. Unlike its competitors, the Kress store included a "high-rise" (seven story) office tower, whose profile was prominent on low-rise Pine Avenue. The architectural style was Renaissance Revival. The lower two stones constituted the store portion of the building, separated from the upper five office stories by a frieze. The frieze originally contained swag relief ornamentation, of which some fragments and "ghosts" survive. The 5th street store elevation was broken into bays, with two-story pilasters on high bases and ornate capitals. The ground floor contained plate glass show windows. The mezzanine level contained unusually narrow windows; the second floor windows were rectangular. The exterior was cement stucco scored to resemble terra-cotta. The cornice frieze contained ornate plaster decoration, some of which still remains today. The building was crowned with a decorative cornice.