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Photo of the Fremont Verteran's Hall

History of the Building

The Veterans Memorial Building in Niles was the fourth of ten Veterans' Memorial Building built in towns throughout Alameda County between 1927 and 1935. County architect Henry Haight Meyers (1887 – 1943) used a monumental, often Beaux Arts style, in the bigger cities. (See the hall's timeline)

The Niles building was designed with associate architects George R. Klinkhardt and Mildred S. Meyers. The latter, daughter of Henry Meyers, took the lead role with the Niles Memorial project, promoting the ‘California Spanish style’ in both the Niles building exterior and interior. She later described the process in an article titled “Memorials” in the August 1935 issue of ‘The Architect and Engineer, a professional journal based in San Francisco. She notes that it was a compliment to the architects, when three other communities requested the same style developed for Niles.

She noted that the California Spanish style was carried out in the interior by exposing the structural members of the roof trusses, treating these with stencil designs inspired from old Spanish ceilings, the stencils designed by herself. Walls were deliberately finished with an uneven texture, kept simple in color and given a glaze finish, as part of color studies that included the design of decorative tile and draperies. ‘Old Spanish designs’ inspired the light fixtures.

The Veterans Memorial Building in Niles has military references, including the terracotta bust of a World War I doughboy in a niche above the main entrance, characteristic of the memorial character of the building. Walls of local Kraftile hollow clay tile, scrolled ironwork and red Spanish tile are also original to this building. An original feature of the Veterans Memorial Building for Niles is the enclosed loggia that once faced onto a patio garden and central flagpole. In 1951, the patio replaced by a full dining wing and the flagpole moved near the sidewalk.

In 2000, Siegel and Strain Architects of Emeryville, were hired by Alameda County with the support of the City of Fremont. Seismic rehabilitation combined with accessibility and code upgrades recognized the historic and architecturally significant features of the original 1930 building. These historic features include the Lobby, the Auditorium with its maple floors, stenciled trusses, stage and metal lined, elevated Film Projection Room, the paneled Lodge Room linked by an Entry Hall to the Men’s Clubroom and its intact fireplace. The unique indoor pillared Loggia links this interior hierarchy of 1930 spaces with the updated 1951 dining wing.

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