One of DTLB’s biggest assets—contractor and preservation guru Jan Van Dijs—and two of DTLB’s most beautiful buildings—the famed and recently restored Psychic Temple Building and the brick building at 237 Long Beach Blvd., the construction of each overseen by Van Dijs—will be honored by Long Beach Heritage at its annual awards banquet on February 25.
Van Dijs is being honored as Preservationist of the Year, highlighting a long career in maintaining and restoring some of Long Beach’s most treasured structures. From the Art Theatre on Retro Row to the Ebell Club on 3rd, the Edison in DTLB to the aforementioned Psychic Temple building, Van Dijs’ work has created a mark on the Long Beach architectural landscape by honoring its historic roots.
”Jan Van Dijs has made a number of significant contributions to the preservation of the urban fabric of Long Beach,” Louise Ivers of Long Beach Heritage wrote, “particularly in [DTLB]. He always researches the historical elements and, if they are damaged, meticulously recreates them. His restoration work is of the highest caliber.”
The Psychic Temple building, now home to interTrend Communications, sits at Broadway and the Promenade and is one of the more recent (and brightest) examples of how restoring (rather than destroying) historic buildings can add value and culture to our neighborhoods.
The interior of 237 Long Beach Blvd. and home of Recreational Coffee.
When it had finished construction in 1905, the Psychic Temple building opened with a bang: it became none other than the headquarters of a local cult by the name of the Society of New & Practical Psychology, known to members as The Holy Kiss Society. Amidst lawsuits and enemies, owner and Society leader William C. Price was forced to sell the building to Anna Sewel for about $3K. Throughout DTLB, it then became commonly known as the American Hotel thanks to its signage that survived the building’s many other incarnations. A speakeasy. A brothel. A flophouse. Yet somehow, through all the debauchery and dilapidation, the building survived, even becoming an historic landmark in the city in 1989.
The building at 237 Long Beach Blvd., now home to Howl on the second floor and Long Beach Post Best Coffee Shop in Long Beach Winner Recreational Coffee on the ground floor, is a beautiful structure. With a facade of yellow brick is a prime example of the Panel Brick style that the Psychic Temple also offers.
The largest fundraising event for Long Beach Heritage, the awards banquet will be held on the Queen Mary on February 25. For tickets and information, click here.