Santa Cruz County History - Architecture

The Flatiron Building, Pacific Avenue and Front Street
by Margaret Koch

Hugo Hihn, brother of Frederick A. Hihn, had the Flatiron Building constructed in 1859-60, of bricks made right in Santa Cruz. It was the first brick building to be erected "down on the flat," as most of the business structures formerly had been up on the Mission Santa Cruz Plaza.

Photo of the Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building

The curiously shaped building, which looks like a piece of pie blunted on the point, served as the Santa Cruz County Courthouse for a time, later as a drugstore, and today [1978] as a Chinese Restaurant upstairs and a bakery downstairs.

[This photograph was taken around 1859-60, soon after the Flatiron was built. The street to the right is Pacific Avenue (then called Main); the street to the left is Front Street (then called Willow). The building at the convergence of those two streets is the Flatiron. Photograph is from the Santa Cruz Public Libraries' collection.]

Photo of the Flatiron Building
The Flatiron Building

The wildest tale regarding this old building was the one beloved by small boys who would show visitors where "the bullet fired at the bandit Tiburcio Vasquez made a hole in the Flatiron Building."

[This photograph shows the Flatiron during the reconstruction following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The Flatiron itself was later demolished because of earthquake damage. The red and white sign on the building said "Teacup," which was the name of the Chinese restaurant and bar. The photograph was taken by Ray Sherrod. It is used here by permission.]

This article is a chapter from Margaret Koch's The Walk Around Santa Cruz Book, Valley Publishers, 1978. Copyright 1978 Margaret Koch. Reproduced by permission of the author.

View similarly tagged articles:

brick buildings, downtown, Pacific Avenue


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