Early DWP Branch Offices

(ca. 1915)* - View of Hill Street between 4th and 5th. Victorian houses converted into businesses are sandwiched between the Hotel Leroy on the right and Hotel Sherman, corner of 4th and Hill, on the left. The Los Angeles Water Department is to the left of Hotel Leroy. A bicycle is unattended at the curb. In the background is the Grant Building. This later became the site of Hotel Clark.  




(1923)* - San Pedro District Office with two late model cars parked in front.  




(1923)* - San Pedro District Office showing customers and workers at counter.  




(1920s)* - Early Branch Office located on Highland Avenue near Hollywood Boulevard.  




(1932)* - Exterior view of the new Hollywood branch office at 1613 North Cahuenga Boulevard.  


Hollywood Branch Office - Opening Announcement

September 1932 – Newest branch office of the Department of Water and Power^, the Hollywood office at 1613 North Cahuenga Boulevard, was opened to the public Monday, August 15, 1932. President John W. Baumgartner of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners turned the key in the door that was opened at 8 am for business.

The new office is a building erected by a group of Hollywood property owners. It was designed by F. Charles Lee, local architect. The interior design is a tasteful treatment of modern lines and angles.

More than three and one-half the space of the former office is provided in the present commodious quarters. The dimensions of the room are 30 by 70 feet. Ample floor space for attractive displays of electric ranges, electric refrigerators and smaller electric appliances is afforded.

Water and light bills may be paid in the new office, and all regular commercial transactions pertaining to water and light service may be carried through. Twenty thousand business transactions a month are handled in the Hollywood branch office. Population of the territory represented by this office is more than 250,000.

Wilson S. Stamm is in charge of the Hollywood office. Working under his direction are the following: Granville T. Tripp, D. E. Roach, Misses Perle M. Purcell and Gene Taylor, and H. M. Gallagher.

After President Baumgartner unlocked the doors of the office and officially announced business could proceed, regular business was carried on. Norman Hayward of 6522 Bella Vista Way was first in the building to pay his bill.

The former office was on Highland Avenue near Hollywood Boulevard.

Carl Chapin, commercial director; T. B. Russell, supervisor of branch and district offices; A. W. Elliott, in charge of the Appliance Room, took an active part in the perfecting of details in connection with the completion of the attractive structure. These men worked under the direction of H. A. Van Norman, chief engineer and general manager of the Bureau of Water Works and Supply and E. F. Scattergood, chief electrical engineer and general manager of the Bureau of Power and Light.**



(ca. 1937)* - A man is standing next to the electric range display at the Hollywood DWP Branch office.  


Historical Notes

The Los Angeles municipal utility did not take on its final name, Department of Water and Power (DWP), until 1937 when the Bureau of Water Works and Supply consolidated with the Bureau of Power and Light.

Click HERE for a chronology and explanation of all the DWP name changes.



(1941)* - View of a busy public counter at the Hollywood branch office.  




(1933)* - View of the Brooklyn Avenue Branch Office located at 2536 Brooklyn Ave.  


August 1933 – One might well designate the Brooklyn Ave Branch Office as the Cosmopolitan Office. It serves a large and thickly populated territory in the eastern section of Los Angeles roughly described as the Boyle Heights area where many nationalities are represented. The office was opened September, 1930.

Sections of Los Angeles bounded by the Los Angeles River, 26th Street and Alhambra Road are included in the Brooklyn office jurisdiction.

George Oliver Dickens has charge of the office which he opened three years ago. He believes he is a descendant of Charles Dickens. He is found of the great novelist’s writings and owns a fine set of his works which he dips into frequently. He has been with the Department for 13 years, three of which were spent in the San Pedro office.

Serving with Dickens are Mrs. Lena M. Bowen and Walter Albert Schwarz.**



(1936)* -The luminous glass front of the new Vermont Avenue branch commercial office creates a striking effect, located on the corner of 59th Place and Vermont Avenue.  


Vermont Avenue Branch Office - Opening Announcement

December 1936 - Doors of the newest branch commercial office of the Department of Water and Power were opened for business November 9, 1936, providing larger and improved facilities for handling Department transactions in the Southwest section of the city.

Modern in design, the office represents one of the finest local installations of illuminated glass fronts and effectively advertises the progressive policies of the Department. At night the entire front of the building is converted into what is in effect an electrical sign attracting attention to municipal water and power.

Located at the northeast corner of Fifty-ninth Place and Vermont Avenue, the office handles 26,000 bills monthly which is the greatest volume of business done in any of the 17 branch commercial offices; it was stated by T. B. Russell, supervisor.

Personnel of the new office are headed by J. E. Hamilton, who is assisted by Grant Clemons, Mrs. Louise Ferguson, Mrs. Sibyl Kuhnen, George T. Reis, Thomas M. Rowe and Duane H. Snouffer.



(1936)* - Vermont Avenue Branch Office, showing public counter and mezzanine floor for appliance salesmen.  




(1937)* - Interior view of the Main Commercial Office Building located at 207 S. Broadway.  




(ca. 1938)* - Exterior view of the Department of Water and Power Branch office located at 1008 Slauson Ave.  


Historical Notes

In 1937, the Bureau of Water Works and Supply consolidated with the Bureau of Power and Light to become the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (DWP).^



(1966)* - San Fernando commercial office - This fine new branch commercial office was placed in service last month (August 1938) for Water and Power customers who live in the vicinity of San Fernando. The glass front above the marquee is illuminated at night, as is the Department official seal in full colors at top of the column.  


San Fernando Commercial Office - Opening Announcement

September 1938 - Another unit in the series of new branch commercial offices being built for the convenience of Department of Water and Power customers was opened August 25, 1938, at 313 South Brand Boulevard, San Fernando.

Latest features in lighting and air conditioning are incorporated into the structure, which was designed by the Design and Construction division of the Bureau of Power and Light.

Architecturally the building is distinguished by an all-glass front, which is lighted at night. Two previously constructed offices with luminous fronts have won national and international honors as outstanding examples of lighted front buildings and the San Fernando office is expected to bring further recognition to the Bureau’s design staff.

On the main floor of the building which includes a basement and mezzanine, a complete display of modern electric appliances is maintained. Reinforced concrete and steel construction make the office fire and earthquake proof. An area 25 feet by 70 feet is occupied by the structure, providing for parking accommodations on the balance of the 50 feet by 135 feet site. Space is available also for landscaping.

Air conditioning equipment is of the reverse cycle type which cools in summer and heats in winter, both electrically.

Direct teletype and telephone connections to the San Fernando Valley district office of the Department, at Van Nuys, speed up transaction of all business relating to municipal water and electric service.

On the opening day the office was visited by city officials of San Fernando, in addition to many customers. They were welcomed by T. B. Russell, supervisor of district and branch offices, and by the regular staff consisting of David J. Calderon and Arthur H. Bell.

Coffee and cookies were served during the day by Zeldah Rogers and C. R. Hill. Incidentally the honor of paying the first bill collected at the new office went to Mr. Hill.

There are now seventeen branch or district commercial offices operated by the Department of, in addition to the main office in Downtown Los Angeles, under the supervision of H. C. White, commercial director.



(1938)* - View of a woman and young child walking into the new Commercial Branch office located at 2417 Daly Street.  Yet to be added above the marquee are the words "Municipal Light--Water—Power."  


From DWP's Historical Archives

May 1938 - Another link in the expanding chain of modern branch commercial offices being built by the Department was put into service April 26, 1938, when the office at 2417 Daly Street opened its doors.

Replacing quarters formerly occupied at 2428 North Broadway, the Daly office provides enlarged and improved quarters for handling commercial transactions with water and electric consumers in the North Broadway-Lincoln Heights district.

Modern architectural lines created through use of flashed opal glass above the marquee level to form a luminous front are a distinctive feature of the structure, which was remodeled from a building standing upon the property when it was purchased by the Department. Other alterations include a new roof, lighting fixtures, terrazzo floor, counters and complete redecoration.

A pleasing color harmony has been obtained by using yellows, browns and cream in the floor pattern; sea foam green for the walls and Venetian blinds; and cream for the ceiling. Del S. Pearce, office manager, stated that the colors are restful to the eyes and conducive to greater efficiency. Other office employees are Genevieve Vierth and Leonard R. Hanson.**

In 1988, the Los Angeles City Council declared the 2417 Daly Street Building LA Historic-Cultural Monument No. 384 (Click HERE to see complete listing).



(ca. 1939)* - Original DWP commercial building being torn down across from the recently completed Union Station on Alameda Street. Click HERE to see more in Water Department's Original Office Building.  




(1941)* - Interior view of the Highland Park branch office public counter. Electric appliances are seen on display.  




(1949)* - Interior view of the Canoga Park branch office located at 7141 Owensmouth Avenue.  


Canoga Park Branch Office - Opening Announcement

April 1949 – The new Canoga Park Commercial branch office is one of a group of modern buildings near the downtown shopping district of the San Fernando Valley community. It opened for business recently, replacing the old office which had been at 21506 Sherman Way since 1917. Owensmouth Ave eventually will be the main north-south thoroughfare of Canoga Park. W. O. Gordon, Commercial Division employee is in charge of the branch. **



(1950s) - Interior view of the Van Nuys Commercial Office located at 6000 Van Nuys Boulevard.  


Van Nuys Commercial Office - Announcement for the Proposed Construction

Construction of the new valley District Commercial office building is scheduled to start within 30 days (September 1955), following the award of a $356,000 contract on August 2, 1955 by the Board of Water and Power Commissioners to Paul W. Speer, Inc.

Completion of the modern, completely air conditioned building at Haynes Street and Van Nuys Blvd is scheduled for about June of 1956.

The new building will replace the district and commercial offices now in use at 6000 and 6618 Van Nuys Blvd and will be the San Fernando Valley headquarters for the Commercial and Business Agent’s divisions.

The structure, to be built on a 100 by 221 foot site, will have a 100-foot frontage on Van Nuys Blvd and a 145-foot length on Haynes Street. When completed, the building will have 23,000 square-feet of floor space, and a 78 by 100 foot parking lot, with additional parking space planned for the future.

Architectural plans for the partial-two-story building call for a 50 by 100 foot general office and lobby, in which the commercial center will be located; a 23 by 75 foot auditorium seating 150 persons, and facilities for mailing, tabulating, service and storage. Offices for staff personnel will be located on the second floor.

Attractive features of the reinforced concrete and brick building will include a luminous 50-foot high and 18-foot wide pylon on the exterior, a luminous ceiling in the lobby, and terrazzo flooring.

Space will be provided in the lobby for the display of electric appliances, and a demonstration kitchen will be installed in the auditorium.

Department personnel responsible for the design of the structure were supervised by J. P. Stratford in the Station Design section of the Design and Construction division, headed by Arthur L. Williams.

They are: Max Strauss, structural design; Wilbur H. Barnes, electrical design; Calvin Singman and Aurel W. Mueller, mechanical design; and Arthur L. Minasian, architectural design.**



(1966)* - Exterior view of the Tujunga Commercial Office. The sign on the window reads "DEPARTMENT OF WATER AND POWER."  



Click HERE to see DWP Name Change Chronology





(1967)* - View of the Brooklyn Avenue Commercial Office, location: 2536 Brooklyn Ave.  




(1966)* - Exterior view of the West LA Commercial Office. Streetlight stands in front of the entryway.  




(1966)* - View of the Venice Commercial Office located at 1720 Main St.  


Historical Notes

Opened for business on July 18, 1949 at 1390 Main Street in the seaside suburb. Old quarters were at 1720 Main Street. O. C. Zink is in charge of the branch and Ted Zakarayan is his assistant, according to William R. Jacobson, executive assistant in charge of Commercial Division's district and branch offices.**






* DWP - LA Public Library Image Archive

**LADWP Historic Archive

^ DWP Name Change Chronology


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