Fullerton College: A Pictorial History

The most significant building in the old Wilshire Junior High School site was Wilshire Auditorium, a single-story concrete building that reflected the Moderne style popular in the 1930s. The auditorium was the first project approved for construction using federal Depression-era relief funds in Orange County, and the building’s completion in 1934 using Public Works Administration (PWA) money brought a bit of optimism to residents suffering from severe economic conditions. The building, shown here shortly before it was purchased by the NOCCCD in 1980, was designed by notable architect Donald Beach Kirby (1905-1980). After working for two famous California architects—Reginald D. Johnson and Gordon B. Kaufmann—Beach had established his own firm on Balboa Island in 1933. Following completion of Wilshire Junior High School, Beach designed the Ensign Grammar School in Newport Beach in 1936, then served as National Housing Administration (NHA) Director in the West during World War II. After the World War II, he moved to San Francisco where he designed buildings in a more Mid-Century Modern style. Beach’s most striking building in Orange County is located at the corner of Helitrope and Santa Clara in Santa Ana. It is an art deco residence built in 1937 for the Maharajah of Indore, who was one of the richest men in the world at the time, with an annual income of $17 million. (Courtesy of the Fullerton Public Library.)
Tags: federal, funding, buildings, architects