Crowning the center of downtown Ventura, the interior is striking with elegant chandeliers, columns and decorative moldings. Built in 1926 by architect H. H. Winner, the building, in its time, was home to six banks. The law firm of Benton, Orr, Duval & Buckingham moved into the third floor of the newly built bank building at the southwest corner of Main and California Streets. It was the tallest building in the area and boasted Ventura County’s first elevator. It also turned out to be the birthplace of the first Perry Mason novel.
In 1933 Earle Stanely Gardner, a lawyer at the firm, published his first novel: “The Case of the Velvet Claw”. It featured something previously unknown to detective fiction, a crime-solving lawyer. Perry Mason became an instant hit, and by the mid-1930’s Gardner would leave the law to write full time. In all, he would write 82 novels featuring Perry Mason.
Nu-Line has been commissioned to restore the space which will feature 2 floors of private office space. The interiors consist of original brick and motor, restored hardwood floors, and mid-century finishes.