Established in 1888, the California Club is a members-only private social club and is the second-oldest club of its kind in Southern California. This building, designed by Robert D. Farquhar, was erected in 1930. Membership to this prestigious club is by invitation only and new members must be invited by at least six existing members of the Club, and pass series of interviews by the Club's Membership Committee. The membership is somewhat elite and mainly consists of leaders in business, industry, government, and professions. The club was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010.
The California Club was established in 1888. Prior to this, their first organizational meeting was held on September 24, 1887, in the Court Room of Justice Austen. In this meeting, the club's constitution and by-laws were determined by all of the gentlemen in attendance. The name of the club was also discussed, with the men eventually agreeing on the California Club.
The club's first location was in the second-floor rooms over the Tally-Ho Stables on the north-west corner of First and Fort (Broadway) streets, where the Los Angeles County Law Library now stands. It moved to the Wilcox Building on the south-east corner of Second and Spring streets in 1895, occupying the two top floors, the fourth and fifth, where it stayed for another ten years.
In 1904, the club's headquarters were moved to a new five-story building with a basement and a roof garden on the northwest corner of Fifth and Hill streets. But by the late 1920s, a purchase of land at 538 South Flower Street was negotiated, and in 1929 construction on their present building began. The building was formally completed on August 25, 1930.
According to the National Park Service:
The structure is considered one of the most important buildings of the architect Robert D. Farquhar. Built in 1930, The Italian Renaissance Revival style building, with its setbacks and tower, was among the largest buildings in the immediate area when the site was chosen. Elements like the private forecourt, which partially shields the front entrance and first floor, provides the club with a sense of privacy and understated design.
The California Club building was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places in 2010.