Skip navigation

This website is dedicated to identifying, preserving, and advocating for the art commissioned by Home Savings of America for its bank branches — murals, mosaics, sculpture and more.

All new posts and continuing discussion of this artwork is at http://adamarenson.com/homesavingsbankart

(For background on this project, see my guest post, “Saving the Banks’ Artistic Assets.”)

Above, some of my images of these marvelous Millard Sheets bank mosaics (left to right)

–prospector and movie director from Washington Mutual Studio City Financial Center, 12051 Ventura Blvd at Laurel Canyon Blvd
–Millard Sheets’s signature in the mosaic on Santa Monica Blvd
–Beach scene from a former Home Savings bank on Santa Monica Blvd

Here is the start of a list of locations; will be amended as comments come in (last list update: January 26, 2010)

Sites That Are Still Banks
Anaheim, 101 S. Harbor Blvd.
Arcadia, 60 East Huntington Drive (at First Ave.), 1960
Beverly Hills, 9245 Wilshire Blvd. (at Rexford Drive), 1953
Buena Park, 7964 Beach Blvd.
Claremont, 400 N. Indian Hill, 1963
Encino, 17107 Ventura Blvd. (at Amestoy Ave.), 1977
Garden Grove, 11922 Brookhurst St.
Highland Park, 5700 North Figueroa St. (at Avenue 57), c. 1972
Hollywood, 1500 N. Vine St. at Sunset Blvd. (northeast corner), 1970
Los Angeles, 3731 Wilshire Blvd. (at Oxford) — reconstructed after original demolished?
Montebello, 2201 Beverly Blvd. (at Wilcox Ave.), 1972
Pasadena, 860 E. Colorado Blvd at Lake Ave., 1963
Pomona, 100 West Second St. (at Garey Ave.), 1962
Redondo Beach, 301 S. Pacific Coast Highway
Rancho Palos Verdes, 27319 Hawthorne Blvd. (near Silver Spur), 1974 – now restored
Studio City, 12051 Ventura Blvd. (at Laurel Canyon Blvd.), 1970
San Diego, 4650 Mission Bay Dr at Garnet Ave
San Francisco, 2750 Van Ness Ave, Lombard Financial Center
San Jose, 1402 Lincoln Avenue
Studio City, 12051 Ventura Blvd at Laurel Canyon Blvd
Temple City, 8905 Las Tunas Drive
Torrance, 2121 Torrance Blvd.
Whittier, 15625 East Whittier Blvd. (at Santa Gertrudes), 1975

Sites of Former Banks Still Standing

Buena Park, 8010 Beach Blvd (store called Attic)
Compton, 1801 N. Long Beach Blvd (1958); now a stereo shop; epoxy over the murals is deteriorating and flaking off — threatened!
Coronado, 925 Orange Avenue (is or was Petco)
La Mesa, 5300 Jackson Dr (Barbeques Galore)
Los Angeles, 654 S. Figueroa (now a Metro station and HSBC bank; murals extant)
Los Angeles, 628 S Oxford Ave
Santa Monica, 2600 Wilshire Blvd at 26th Street (Cellular Fantasy), 1970
Torrance, 1511 Cravens Ave. (now a Time Warner Cable office)

Other Millard Sheets murals still extant:

Alhambra, Mark Keppel High School, Hellman Ave. at Almansor St., 1939
Beverly Hills, First Bank, 9145 Wilshire Blvd. (at Oakhurst), 1955
Claremont, 655 E. Foothill Ave (once Sheets’s studio and office; now Claremont Eye Association)
Claremont, Pomona First Federal Savings and Loan Association (now USBank), exterior,393 West Foothill Blvd. (at Indian Hill Blvd.), 1969
Claremont, Scripps College Garrison Theater, East 10th St. (between Dartmouth and Columbia avenues), 1966
Los Angeles City Hall, 200 North Main St. (above entrances at Main and Los Angeles streets), 1973
Pomona First Federal Savings and Loan Association (now Chase), interior, 399 North Garey Ave. (at Center St), 1956
San Jose Airport Terminal C, 1977, saved; Tony Sheets helped remove canvas mural.

Dallas Mercantile Bank building mosaics and freestanding sculptures, 1950s, saved from demolition!

No Known Sheets Studio artwork

Los Angeles, 449 N. La Brea
Los Angeles, 3731 Wilshire Blvd.

72 Comments

  1. Thanks to Rich for sharing the photos of the former Home Savings at Wilshire Blvd. and 26th Street:

    http://www.grconnect.com/murals/html/p9151379.html

    I’ll add the Wilshire address to the list.

  2. Here’s the one at West Portal and Vicente, SF.

  3. Thanks, Vance. There are some great Palomino ponies inside that location as well.

  4. The branch I remember from childhood is at Wilshire and Oxford, central LA, and is also now a WaMu (or successor). Nothing’s visible from outside, though.

  5. There’s an old HSL with beautiful murals on the corner of Sunset and Vine. Also one on the corner of Wilshire and Rexford in Beverly Hills. Thanks so much for setting up a great project — those locations truly are treasures.

    Here are two links to pages describing the locations, both from the fantastic publicartinla website:

    http://www.publicartinla.com/LA_murals/Hollywood/sheets2.html

    http://www.publicartinla.com/LA_murals/Hollywood/sheets3.html

  6. Thanks again! Those are great pages at PublicArtinLA.com. I will add them to the list.

    Perhaps the ones in LA are better protected, by the mural laws and the expense of the real estate. I wonder where in Orange County, for example, they exist…

  7. Santa Monica native here, I just started conversations with SM City Guv’ment about pushing for the mosaic and statues receive Landmark Status. The corner of 26th and Wilshire is slated for review in 2010.

    http://salonities.net/commander

  8. That’s great news — if I can be of use in any way, let me know.

  9. Pasadena Branch @ Lake and Colorado is now being converted to CHASE and they were about to paint over the mural. Stopped by alert Library employee. Cultural Affairs will follow-up to find a new home. Sculpture also.

  10. Thanks very much for the comment. I hope the works can be secured.

    If anyone else is reading this and knows of works under imminent threat from the Chase renovations, please let me know!

  11. I have spoken with the JP Morgan Chase Bank public-relations folks in Los Angeles, and he said they are working to identify murals and mosaics, as they change over the brand, and to stay aware of this historic artwork in the community.

    I have also found a more complete list of the murals in the LA basin; I will be updating the list above with the building locations soon.

  12. I’m glad I found your page. I grew up in LA and always loved looking at the murals on the Home Savings Banks. They looked so glamorous. It made me think of old Hollywood. I hope California pushes to grant landmark status. I think there are some in Torrance too, however I can’t remember the exact address (Torrance Blvd?)

  13. Thanks for the tip, and glad you have found us…

  14. I’ve linked my Lake Avenue, Pasadena blog to yours. We’re working on the fate of the Millard Sheets’ murals here at Lake and Colorado.

    http://avenuetotheskylakeavenuepasadena.blogspot.com/2009/12/home-savingswamuchase-millard-sheets.html

  15. Hello–is this still an active blog?

    In the South Bay, there are several former Home S&Ls that I think feature Sheets’ work (no one can confirm that the mosaics are his). One is the former Torrance City Hall (a picture is on my blog at http://historylosangeles.blogspot.com/2009/12/mosaic-monday-olde-city-hall-torrance.html). Home Savings occupied the building for awhile, then moved a few blocks away to a site on Torrance Blvd, which is now a Chase Bank. I have pictures of mosaics there too, not posted yet.
    At the foot of TOrrance Blvd in Redondo Beach is another bank–Chase or Wells Fargo, at 301 Torrance Blvd–with a beautiful mosaic of birds in flight over the entrance.

    If there is a serious effort afoot to save this artwork, I’d like to know about it–Thanks!

  16. Yes, we are still researching the murals, and working to find and preserve them. Thanks for stopping by!

  17. Do you have any information on 13949 Ventura Blvd, in Sherman Oaks. Interesting frescos on the exterior of a later Home Savings branch.

    • Hello!

      I can’t get a great look at them on GoogleMaps, but they do seem to follow in Sheets’ style, despite the newness of the building.

      With some quick photos, perhaps we can trace the connections. Are they a reinstallation? An homage? Something totally new, to blend into the Home Savings/WaMu/now Chase legacy?

  18. Adam,
    I can send you some photos.
    “Constructed in 1989, the three story, stone clad structure is one of a number of iconic, fresco clad buildings built by Home Savings Bank in the 1980s. The property was transferred when Washington Mutual Bank acquired Home Savings in 1998 and again when JP Morgan Chase Bank acquired Washington Mutual in late 2008.”

  19. That would be great. I assume it does simply show a reverence for Sheets as the bank’s LA Valley “look,” but it will worth adding those artists, and perhaps the instructions they were given, to the project research.

  20. how do i send photos?

    • I’ll be in touch.

  21. Do you know what Chase Bank in Northern Calif. painted over a Sheets mural? How awful! We are a family of Sheets cousins who are very interested in having his mural and other work preserved. He believed in art for the people, and a bank is the perfect spot. Or they should be repatriated. Thanks for your good site.

  22. 2010 has brought lots of great new contacts.

    There is a group who has lots of photos of the LA sites:

    http://www.lottaliving.com/bb/viewtopic.php?t=15619

    …and here we have good info on some San Diego and San Francisco mosaics and murals. Calling all Orange County contributors!

    Soon it is definitely time for a new front page — I’ll get to that this month, with any luck.

    Thanks everyone, and let’s keep working together to save this art, either in situ or in museums.

  23. Hello,
    I am the current Chairman of the Modern Committee of the Los Angeles Conservancy. We are presently exploring doing a Multiple Property Nomination of all of the Home Savings Buildings. I was wondering if any of you might be interested in participating?

    • Yes, I would be happy to participate!

  24. The mosaic on the facade of the Chase Bank in Palos Verdes has been restored and looks great. A picture is on my blog at http://historylosangeles.blogspot.com/2010/01/palos-verdes-mosaic-revealed.html

  25. Judy Herman, brilliant librarian, has found the online archive list of Millard Sheets’ papers and project files, held by the Smithsonian. Here is the link: http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/findingaids/sheemill.htm#section_Series_5
    Boxes 12-14 are specifically labeled Home Savings, and list all the cities.

    • Thanks! The finding guide list does not seem complete – perhaps multiple branches in some cities are listed together. But I do plan to look into getting those records.

    • Vickey, this humble ex-librarian should have included this info about the papers:
      How to Use the Collection

      Restrictions on Use

      The Millard Sheets papers are owned by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution. Literary rights as possessed by the donor have been dedicated to public use for research, study, and scholarship. The collection is subject to all copyright laws.

      The collection is open for research. Patrons must use microfilm copy.

      Available Formats

      The collection is available on microfilm reels 5676-5707 and for interlibrary loan.

  26. Adam, thanks for the comment you left on my story, “Millard Sheets mural of Rose Parade may be removed from Pasadena Bank”. The current placement is not at all what was intended when the mural was installed in the orginal Home Savings. I hope that in removing and reinstalling it elsewhere, it will actually be displayed properly.

    Anyone interested can check out my story at http://www.examiner.com/x-28812-Altadena-Headlines-Examiner~y2009m12d7-Millard-Sheets-mural-of-Rose-Parade-may-be-removed-from-Pasadena-bank

    Please leave comments. I would also appreciate any info on Sheets artwork in Altadena. There used to be a Home Savings, but it was pretty low-end. It might be I write a more comprehensive article later.

  27. Here are addresses for the former Home Savings in Torrance:

    1511 Cravens Ave. 90501(Original Torrance City Hall, then a Home Savings & Loan; now a Time Warner Cable office.)

    2121 Torrance Blvd. 90501 (Home Savings & Loan moved there from Cravens; now a Chase Bank)

    Here’s the Redondo Beach location:
    301 S. Pacific Coast Highway 90277 (I’m surprised–it actually faces Torrance Blvd. and is now a Wells Fargo Bank)

    And–how do I send pictures? You are welcome to copy from my blog posts (historyLosAngeles.blogspot.com), but I have photos of 2121 Torrance Blvd. that I haven’t posted yet.

    • Thanks! I’ll contact you on the photos, and add them to the address list.

  28. Those of you in the Pasadena area might be interested in the Millard Sheets exhibit at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. Works from between 1926 & 1944 will be displayed. The exhibit runs from Feb. 14-May 30, 2010. Here’s the museum link: http://www.pmcaonline.org/

  29. I have posted three articles regarding the upcoming Sheets exhibition at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. I hope you will find them interesting.

    http://tiny.cc/SheetsatPMCA

    http://tiny.cc/McClellandiscusssesSheets

    http://tiny.cc/Sheetscurator

  30. I didn’t see this one on your list: 101 S. Harbor Blvd. in Anaheim. I think this is now a Chase Bank location:

    http://www.anaheim.net/com_dev/aipp/21.htm

    • Thanks! I will add it.

  31. I came across a reference to a Millard Sheets Mosaic on the 21st floor of the Westwood Towers at 1100 Glendon.
    The reference was in the Los Angeles Times of June 16, 1967, when that location was the Westwood Tower Club, a pretty swanky place to eat.
    The location is now LEK Consulting. Since it’s Friday evening, no one’s answering the phone so I can’t ask if there’s a mosaic in their offices.
    Has anyone else heard of this?

  32. I was just in Coronado, CA, where I saw an unoccupied former bank which must have been a Home Savings. It had a mural that looked like something by Millard Sheets. It was located at 925 Orange Avenue.

    There is also a very well-preserved old Home Savings at 1402 Lincoln Avenue in San Jose, CA.

    • Thanks for those. I will go check out Coronado when I am back in San Diego this summer.

  33. Just noticed that the Smithsonian lists an office building at 655 E. Foothill Ave in Claremont among Millard Sheets’ works. I no longer live in the area, but I called the Claremont Eye Assoc (current tenant). The receptionist tells me there are actually two small buildings at that address, and there are mosaics over one doorway. Something to be added to the list?
    Very possible the Library of the Claremont Colleges has pictures, but I haven’t checked.

    • Thanks! Google’s images do not reveal it, but I will list it based on your call.

  34. Did you know that one of his murals was nearly lost when Chase renovated the old WaMu branches? See my blog post at: http://apaintingadaybysharonweaver.blogspot.com/2010/05/millard-sheets-mural-nearly-lost-with.html

  35. I am now activly working with Chase Bank and San Jose Airport to save my Father’s work. Often the process is complicated and expensive, and it is difficult to find new locations to move the artworks to where they will fit. Today’s new generations are unaware of the importance of protecting the past and of the treasure which exist and cannot be replaced. Thank all of you for your efforts in this important mission. Please let me know if you see transgressions against my Father’s work and I will do my best to get involved. The California Arts Act has real teeth and can be enforced where there is destruction of artworks without documented efforts to save them. As an artist myself, working in the public and private sectors, I have seen firsthand the value of art in our everyday society. And while I have seen wantant destruction of art. I have also seen and assisted building owners , after every avenue of saving art has been exhausted, in recording the art with a permenant record, and then allow it to be removed and destroyed. This was done after looking closely at the need for reconstruction which caused the art removal. If we do not work together for creative solutions to these infrequent occasions, futue developers will not support the use of art in their projects. May we continue to work to find the best possible outcome to sometimes difficult problems. Best, Tony

    • Thanks, Tony, for writing in. I would be happy to give you a platform to say more about successes and failures in preservation, whenever you find time to write it.

  36. Hi Adam – thanks for this great portal and all the info from readers is fantastic. Just wanted to introduce myself (your guest post links to my site). I’ve been documenting Sheets’s murals for over 10 years. I worked with Denis O’Connor and have cataloged hundreds of site photographs, stories, and technical information on the HSA/HSL installations. I’m a professional mosaicist, and specialize in American mosaic history and provenance. Currently, I’m working on several fronts here in San Francisco Bay Area on other large scale mid-century mosaic works that are confronting
    preservation/demolition issues. I’m so glad to see Tony’s comment here. I do feel there is a growing awareness, in part due to the CA Arts Act, that we can protect/preserve/document this exquisite work and mark an important period of American art history. Seems everyone here agrees and thanks again to all who contribute to the cause, Best, Lillian

  37. Offering postcard image of Home Savings branch in Buena Park. Building still exists at 8010 Beach Blvd.

    Home Savings & Loan - Buena Park Branch

  38. A couple of corrections for your list: the Buena Park location at 7964 Beach Blvd is still a Chase Bank. It is located across the street from a former HS&L at 8010 Beach Blvd which still has a mural out front. It’s now a store called Attic.

    The original HS&L at 3731 Wilshire Blvd was demolished, but the new building in its place does have a Chase Bank with artwork that may have come from the old building.

    The original HS&L at 654 S Figueroa was demolished, but the new building in its place now houses a Metro station entrance and HSBC bank (now 660 S Fig) with murals on two sides. The bank has at least one mural inside, and the Metro station has several murals in the ceiling as you enter.

    I’ve been taking part in the LA Conservancy’s efforts to document the HS&L’s artwork. The location that seems to be in the worst shape is in Compton at 1801 N Long Beach Blvd (1958). It’s now a stereo shop. Someone painted epoxy over the murals in front, and that is deteriorating and flaking off.

    • Thanks for the corrections; I will put them in the list.

      And — full details coming soon — I’ll be in the Southland every week starting in July, so I’ll look forward to checking out more locations myself…

  39. PDQ, I’ve recently been to the former HS&L at 249 E Ocean Blvd in Long Beach. There’s no sign of the mural.

    Thanks for the second Long Beach address — I’ve not seen that listed anywhere before.

    Also, I’ve seen a lot of sites that give a 1953 date for the Beverly Hills branch, however, the mural is dated 1955, and that’s what the city tax records indicate as well.

    If you go to the lottaliving forum mentioned above, you’ll find addresses and photos of over a dozen locations with art that I don’t see here, including Alhambra, Burbank, Downey, Huntington Park, Lakewood, La Mesa, La Mirada, Monterey Park, Northridge, Rialto, Tujunga, Westminster and Woodland Hills.

  40. I worked for Home Savings from 1991-1999. The entrance to the corporate headquarters building in Irwindale had two mosaic panels by Susan Hertel. I was told these panels came from the Long Beach branch when it was closed. When Home Savings was bought by WaMu, I was contacted by two ladies from Claremont Scripps College. They were interested in the Millard Sheets and Susan Hertel artwork, because of their involvement with the college. I got approval from the company to donate the two Long Beach panels to the College, but the college had to raise the money to remove the panels and install them in the new location. I was laid off in June 1999 and don’t know if the panels ever made it to Claremont Scripps.

    • Thanks — I will look into it.

  41. The office at 9145 is First Bank NOT California Oversees. His work is still there. 310-777-1900

    • I will update it. Does FirstBanks have a preservation and care plan? Soon I will have a database listing all the works’ current status.

  42. I found your site because of a lifelong appreciation of the mosaic located at 300 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA. I wondered how long it’s current owner would preserve it. It can be viewed on Google maps. Can’t verify it was Curiosity led me to an article regarding the 1998 WAMU purchase. It lists all the locations to be consolidated- with addresses. http://www.allbusiness.com/banking-finance/banking-lending-credit-services-cash/6900402-1.html
    A San Fran sample of HS art

    http://www.sfmosaic.com/travel/sf/sf02.php

    Another HS mural artist

    http://www.marlobartels.com/photo_7.html

    • Thanks for those links — the consolidation list is an especially good find. I will add it in with the list of known Sheets projects, and we should have a good “punch list” of which sites need to be investigated for saving.

      As for preservation, these are *should* be covered by state law — but the owners are not always aware of this.

  43. Adam, I googled your website after reading Vickey Kalambakal in Westways. I am Howard Ahmanson Jr., the only child of Howard Ahmanson, and I’m quite concerned that these things be preserved. Yes, you may try to contact me! I travel a lot, but I usually keep up my e-mail!

    • Thanks very much for checking in! I will be contacting you by email soon.

  44. Adam…thank you for your two part message…Frank would love to talk with you. Give us a call. We will be home all weekend. Is the Northridge HSL with the Cowboy and Indian still there? Come out to Claremont,if you have the time. Are you only interested in the California mosaics? Just Sheets’ mosaics? How about the ones in the midwest installed when HSL bought other branches. Sarah

    • Thanks for commenting — I will be in touch, as I explore the history of the banks here and elsewhere, in the Midwest…

    • Sarah, the Northridge HSL is still there.

  45. Further research finds that my treasured 3rd Ave.@ El Camino Real mural is not an HS site. A cityartssanmateo.org brochure credits BofA: “#15. Untitled designed by Louis Macouillard executed by artisan Alphanso Pardinas. Five mosaic murals, spanning 25 feet, created as tribute to Bank of America founder A.P . Giannini and symbolically representing the bank’s history .” Rather than disappointed, I am more intrigued about the public art contributed by banks, in an era when these institutions were truly a part of their communities.

    • Yes, this intersection is precisely my interest, and I do hope to learn more about public art on banks, whether it was Home Savings and the Sheets studio or others.

  46. An example Of similar interest- Home Savings Bank of Albany, NY (not affiliated with CA) Building (1927) (North Pearl Street) (19 floors) with colored Indian chiefs & helmeted conquistadors. Albany, NY
    Style: Art Deco. Architect: Dennison & Hirons.

    http://artdecobuildings.blogspot.com/2010/01/home-savings-bank-albany.html

  47. At the corner of West Portal and Vicente, in San Francisco, there is an old Home Savings, now a Chase, with a large Sheets mural over the front door.


3 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] developers—are desperate to liquidate assets and regain their footing. I’ve begun compiling an inventory of this artwork online and welcome additions from readers. Those concerned might also contact their local preservation [...]

  2. By The Legacy of Millard Sheets « The Arenson Blog on 15 Jan 2010 at 12:41 pm

    [...] Valley  reader K sent along these photos of a stone-clad bank at 13949 Ventura Blvd, in Sherman Oaks. Built in 1989, it is a late Home Savings with frescoes of California history: [...]

  3. [...] conversation on the work of Millard Sheets and his studio.  The lively and informative panel, Dr. Adam Arenson, Alan Hess, Mike McGee, provide outstanding perspective and historic background to the work of this [...]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

%d bloggers like this: