DOWNEY — A 72-year-old concrete arch that many Downey residents regard as an important part of the city's history was dedicated Saturday adjacent to the Downey Civic Center.
"It's been a center part of the community for all these years," said Joyce Lawrence, president of the Downey Historical Committee.
The dedication ceremony on Civic Center Drive was the result of a four-year effort involving the Historical Committee and the Downey Second Century Foundation, Lawrence said. The two groups also are known as the Arch-Angel Committee.
In October, 1981, the two groups began a campaign to preserve the 33-ton arch, which was the entrance to Downey Grammar School between 1916 and 1957. To date, the committee has raised "in the neighborhood of $13,000" to refurbish the arch, Lawrence said.
Some services were donated, such as a crane that was used to move the 15-foot-high structure, she said.
The arch, with its molded lines and sculpted chrysanthemums, was part of a Mediterranean-style building designed by John C. Austin, the same architect who designed Los Angeles City Hall and Griffith Park Observatory, Lawrence said.
The refurbished arch bears a bronze plaque with the names of individual donors who contributed at least $100 and groups that donated $200 or more. The stucco has been replaced and the arch repainted.
Lawrence said that most of those who donated were former teachers and students at Downey Grammar School. Contributions also were received from many community groups.
"It's really the first historic preservation project that's happened in Downey," Lawrence said.