Give It Back. Now.

We received an e-mail the other day from a Friend calling herself “Lady Artist.” It was a good letter and it made some excellent points so we agreed to publish it.

Didn't they put a moustache on the Mona Lisa?

The City of Fullerton has proven to be a faithless custodian of a modern architectural gem. I have come to the conclusion that the best fate of the building that has come to be known as the Hunt Branch Library is to give it back to the Norton Simon Foundation or, at least to someone who will appreciate it.

William Pereira designed this building in concert with a larger, integrated development; a site plan that included the Hunt Administration Building and coordinated landscape that included a reflecting pool and “floating”  concrete slabs and steps. Over the years the property has been partitioned by a fence, the reflecting pool filled in by its new owners, with new and comically bad architecture burdening the site. Perhaps most insulting of all, the City has put a “bark park” on the grounds next to the library.

A bark park. Great for dogs, insulting for a work of art. Unless by art you mean a group of dogs playing poker.

In the eyes of the beholder...
Fullertonians may not know art, but they know what they like.

I believe that almost anybody would be  a more reliable guardian of this building than the City has shown itself to be. The homeless people who camp out under the extended roof seem to appreciate it more than the City does.

I also believe the present location for a branch library couldn’t be worse. It is not well known, and frankly, I question the number of users claimed by the Library itself in its annual counts. Why continue to fund a branch library at this near-hidden location when neither north nor east Fullerton have branch libraries at all; not to mention that the existence of the Hunt Branch would probably come as a complete surprise to most west Fullerton denizens? But these are separate issues in themselves, and I digress.

For years I’ve heard all this weeping and wailing about how Fullerton could have had the Norton Simon Museum. Why mourn that? Fullerton doesn’t deserve it. Never did. The inescapable evidence is on display at the Hunt Branch every day of the year. 

Let’s give it back to Norton Simon, with our thanks; and our apologies for not recognizing the architectural legacy that he gave us.

Thank you, Lady Artist, for a thought-provoking piece.

19 Replies to “Give It Back. Now.”

  1. Lady Artist, I like your idea of giving the Hunt Branch library building back to the Norton Simon Foundation or to someone else who would appreciate it. Something needs to be done before the City leases the building to the County for $1.00 per year and converts the building into an indoor pooch park.

    Thank you for your letter.

  2. Admin, who was the lame brain that decided the Hunt Branch grounds was the place for a bark parK? Its not even a park in the first place.

    C’mon on now – name names!

    1. That “Dog Park” is downright scary! Took my dog once, but we were both afraid of catching something unpleasant, and I don’t mean a frisbee. Several people seem to spend the day on the benches and were friendly enough, but we left after about 15 minutes, never to return.

  3. does this mean fullerton’s slim slices of culture have gone to the dogs or are our city councilmembers just dogs?

  4. Not to debate the merits of a bark park, the park is on City park land, not on the Norton Simon grant to the City. One of the continuing problems with this blog is their total lack of the facts. Admin, fyi, you are being marginalized by the idiots writing in your space. Please do a little research before you post their blogs!


    1. yikes – read the post again and see if you can grasp the gist of it.

      Meantime, if you would like to write a “factual” post about something that moves you, please do so. admin would certainly publish it and you could take your chances with the blog-reading public. It could even be about FFFF.

  5. #4 – you have marginalized yourself. That land is NOT a “park.” That’s the whole point of the post – which is NOT about a bark park, but the way the City neglects and abuses this treasure.

    yikes – I submit that you are the idiot!

  6. I live in East Fullerton. I use the Placentia Library, convenient, new young energectic ExD (from Fullerton Library), great selection of new releases (fiction, nonfiction), friendly staff, bright space..

    Fullerton’s main library is a dreadful place, blues/browns, uninviting, auditorium looks like a medieval castle dungeon… Anyways too far, 10 minutes to Placentia, 20+ to downtown Fullerton…

    As for Hunt Library, gone to several Fullerton Collaborative meetings there, tacky use of space and surrounding green space.. Honestly couldn’t even find the first time, tucked back behind FSD’s maintenance sheds..

    Dog Park w/chain link fence adjacent to the Library is hideous.. Why isn’t Dog Park part of an actual park, say Hillcrest, new Lions Field area?

    Again, no thought/attention to asethetics..

  7. I wonder if the city government people who make the decisions in Fullerton are as overpaid as those in Santa Ana and other cities in Orange County.?

  8. Don’t forget that the Norton Simon museum has absolutely no interest in expansion in OC. Were the NS Foundation to take it back, one option might be to sell the property.

  9. The landmark Hunt Foods building and library continue to crumble. I visited the library site today, and the front of the building is a homeless camp site… in broad daylight. The church has poorly maintained and remuddled the headquarters building. So sad to see these landmarks fall into disrepair.

    1. Homeless love the recycle center at Orange Ave and Commonwealth. We in the neighborhood, call it cans for drugs center, it is nicely located across the street from the Lucky Motel. Yes, agree very sad. CAN WE SAY SLUM!!!!!

    2. It’s like that at almost every library in every city. Sad but true. I remember 15 years ago the rows of back packs and yes, shopping carts, that had to left in the corridor of the entrance of the downtown Long Beach Library. The harder the times, the more the disenfranchised there are who need places to hang out.

      I had my graduation ceremonies at the Hunt Library.

      Fond memories. I would hate to see it fall apart.

  10. As a child I attended Pacific Drive School. I remember how much we loved it when our teachers would take the class to the Hunt library.
    The city counsel loves that the homeless go there rather than scare people away from the downtown area. They crafted the downtown area into a “Food Court” which they call re-development. A single minded vision which they defend even with police brutality to keep the revenue flowing.
    It’s so much better in their view to allow the homeless to camp in an area away from commerce even if it means exposing children at a elementary school to them. These are only the children of low income families so in their view – not worth protecting. I doubt the school takes the children to the library now.

  11. The true architectural gem in Fullerton is across Commonwealth from Hunt Library and former Hunt Foods Building. It is now vacant and I’m wondering how long it will be before the Planning Commission lets the owner tear it down and build another empty strip mall or tattoo parlor? . The building looks like it once belonged to a Dairy operation, it is truly an Art Deco treasure! When taking a docent-let tour of San Juan Capistrano, we spent quite a bit of time analyzing and discussing the one Art Deco Building in that historic town. It is beautifully taken care of and is now a Dentist’s office, I believe. Their city would fight anyone who would want to tear it down, the residents see it as an
    architectural treasure. Would someone please take a look at Fullerton’s Art Deco beauty and find a respectable use for that building? A loving paint job and simple landscaping would complete the exterior. Anybody? Anybody? Ferris?

    1. Someone should do some research and submit an application to name it a historic structure, a notable example of an important architectural style. That might complicate any plans to take it down.

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