301 E Canon Perdido St
Designation Status: Structure of Merit
Assessor Parcel Number: 029-301-036
Historic Name: L.E. Beckom (Wood & Groceries)
The Tea House is a charming, one story, wood structure with a false front made of a most striking circular marquee. The marquee has extended cornices on either side supported by carved wooden brackets. The shed roof below the marquee is supported by wrought iron brackets. The central door is balanced by sashed windows. Of Italianate style, the building is perfectly symmetrical, has clapboard siding, and a flat roof of composition shingles behind its flase front. In the late 1920's the structure was moved from its original site of the corner of Canon Perdido and Santa Barbara streets to its present location one block away. In 1974 ther was an addition of a flatroof storage room in back and more recently a raised outdoor dining area was added. The building is situated in an old residential area with commercial buildings encroaching.
Architectural Style: Italianate
Property Type: Commercial
Believed to have been built in 1898 as a grocery store by Levi E. Beckom and his partner Fred Craviotto, this structure does not appear on the 1892 Sanborn Map but does appear in the updated 1903 version. It is first listed in the 1903 City directory. The building is a rare remaining example of the small neighborhood grocery store at the turn of the century. L.E. Beckom, an American who was married to Sola Escobar, a native Californian, owned and ran the store while living in a small house on the same property, according to his daughter, Solita Beckom Bean. On the property Beckom kept a team of horses to make deliveries to his American and native Californian neighbors, expressing the dual affiliation of store owners with both Mexican and American Society. He also kept a cow and chickens and sold fresh milk and eggs at the store. In the late 1920's the store was moved one block east to make way for office buildings but it continued to serve a similar neighborhood as a dance hall and a gift shop in its new location. The structure then became a restaurant featuring health foods and its clientele had undoubtedly changed.Today it currently serves as a legal aid foundation. This Italianate is a designated structure of merit due to its exemplification of architectural style, as well as the character defining features and heritage which are important to the City.