City founder William H. Spurgeon once said that all the successful businessmen in town worked in buildings that he had built.
One of those was designated a historical landmark this week when the City Council voted to place the W.H. Spurgeon Building at 206 W. 4th St. on the Register of Historic Property.
Built in 1913, the cream-colored brick structure has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1979. The local designation, suggested by the Santa Ana Historical Preservation Society, means that state historic codes now also apply.
What that means, said Diann Marsh, the preservation society's architectural historian, is that, rather than having to tear down structures such as stairway banisters that do not meet current codes, modifications could be made to incorporate safety features while preserving the original work.
Marsh said the preservation society also wanted to have the local designation in place when the building's clock tower, now under renovation, is unveiled May 16. "It's nice to be able to say it's both" national and local, Marsh said.
The four-story building in the downtown shopping district has jewelry, shoe and electronics stores on the first floor. City planning and building and safety offices are on the other three floors.
According to a city report, the building is significant not only because of its neoclassical architecture but also for its association with Spurgeon and other figures in Santa Ana's history.
Councilman Thomas E. Lutz said the building and clock tower have special significance for him and a number of other local residents.
"My first job," he recalled, "was across the street at a men's clothing store."