Most photographs of the Valley Municipal Building show the 1933 building after its completion, but here are some, by Dick Whittington Studio as the hole was being dug in 1932.
Statistics and specifications for the completed structure exist and have been cited many times, so I won’t do it here.
Instead, one might look at these photographs and imagine the small town of Van Nuys, self-sufficient and walkable, safe and sunny, sitting in the middle of the largely agricultural San Fernando Valley in the depths of the Great Depression.
Surrounding the t-shaped dig, is a Richfield gas station and The Erwin Hotel, criss-crossed in a vaguely Tudor style.
In contrast to today’s heavily regulated construction, the men are all in civilian clothing-no hardhats, no vast walls around the site, no safety signs. The humble trucks are pulled right up to dirt and a two strips of lumber comprise a fence surrounding the digging.
Laborers, architects, drivers, engineers, photographer; everyone was lucky to work.
With such opening modesty the end product was magnificent, distinguished and proud.
And became that symbol of Van Nuys everlasting.