John Byers (architect)

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John Winford Byers
Born 22 March 1875
Michigan
Died 22 May 1966
Santa Monica, California

John Winford Byers (22 March 1875 – 22 May 1966) was a Santa Monica architect and builder noted for use of the Spanish Colonial revival style.

Early life[edit]

Byers was born in Michigan. Byers, a graduate from Harvard University, was employed as a schoolteacher, teaching Spanish and French, at San Rafael High School and Santa Monica High School. Self-trained as a builder and architect, Byers completed his first commission, a house at 510 Lincoln Boulevard for W.F. Barnum, the principal of the Santa Monica High School in 1916.[1]

Importance[edit]

Byers designed and built dozens of homes in Brentwood, Pacific Palisades, and Santa Monica from 1916 through 1946. He was fascinated with the native California architecture and its Mexican and Spanish roots. He was most notable for his "Adobe" designed buildings, having written several articles in the 1920s and 1930s on adobe construction and its influence in California architect. He studied the native building traditions of Hispanic cultures, and went through a phase where he built houses of adobe and stucco. He established his own workshop, employing Mexican craftsmen who were masters at creating and installing the adobe brick, the decorative tile, wrought iron and woodwork that he used in his houses.

Some projects[edit]

Project Date Address Location
Stevenson Residence

Albert Ahern Residence

1926

1926

2126 La Mesa Drive

1707 San Vicente

Santa Monica

Santa Monica

Donald Armstrong Residence 1717 San Vicente Santa Monica
J.B. Nethercott Residence 500 25th Street Santa Monica
Speers Residence 270 18th Street Santa Monica
Byers Residence 1917 2034 La Mesa Drive Santa Monica
Byers Residence 1917 547 7th Street Santa Monica
Fuller Residence 1920 304 18th Street Santa Monica
MacBennel House 1921 404 Georgina Avenue Santa Monica
Gorham-Holiday Residence 1923 326 Adelaide Drive Santa Monica
Zimmer Residence 1924 2101 La Mesa Drive Santa Monica
Laidlaw Residence 1924 217 17th Street Santa Monica
Thompson House 1924 2021 La Mesa Drive Santa Monica
Tinglof Residence 1925 2010 La Mesa Drive Santa Monica
Bundy Residence 1925 2133 La Mesa Drive Santa Monica
E.J. Carrillo Residence 1925 1602 Georgina Santa Monica
Residence 1925 1650 Amalfi Drive Pacific Palisades
Byers Office 1926 246 26th Street Santa Monica
Barclay Residence 1927 1425 Monaco Drive Pacific Palisades
Miles Memorial Playhouse 1929 1130 Lincoln Boulevard Santa Monica
John Byers (Third) Residence 1929 2034 La Mesa Drive Santa Monica
Kerr Residence 1930 428 N Carmelina Avenue Brentwood
Hamilton Residence 1931 193 N Carmelina Avenue Brentwood
Murray Residence 1935 436 N Carmelina Avenue Brentwood
Stedman Residence 1935 363 N Carmelina Avenue Brentwood
Temple Residence 1935 231 N Rockingham Avenue Brentwood
Kenaston Residence 1936 914 Corsica Drive Pacific Palisades

Other dwellings were constructed in Coachella, Victorville, Bel Air, and Beverly Hills. Byers also constructed an adobe memorial recreation hall (Miles Plyhouse) in Santa Monica, a clubhouse at Brentwood Park, and a building at the John Thomas Dye School.

Family life[edit]

When John Byers died in Santa Monica, at the age of 91 in 1966, he was based out of this Spanish Colonial Revival compound at 246 26th Street. Byers and his family lived in the house at 2034 La Mesa Drive[2] for almost thirty years.

References[edit]

  • Andre, Herb, "John Byers: Domestic Architecture in Southern California 1919-1960," M.A. thesis, University ofCalifornia, Santa Barbara, 1971