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The Big A is a historically significant structure

The City of Anaheim said so

Orange County Register Archive Photo by Jeff Gritchen/Digital First Media/Orange County Register via Getty Images

As part of the sale of the land surrounding Angel Stadium to a group headed by Angels owner Arte Moreno, a review by the City of Anaheim on Thursday determined that the Big A is historically significant, but the stadium itself is not.

The City of Anaheim requires meeting at least one of these three criteria to qualify as a historically significant structure:

  • “It strongly represents a significant event or broad patterns of local, regional, or national history.”
  • “It is associated with the life of a significant person in local, regional, or national history.
  • “It is a very good example of a significant architectural style, property type, period, or method of construction; or it represents the work of an architect, designer, engineer, or builder who is locally, regionally, or nationally significant; or it is a significant visual feature of the City.”

Construction of Anaheim Stadium was completed before the 1966 season. It underwent renovations in 1979 to enclose the stadium to accommodate the Rams playing football games there. After the Rams left for St. Louis, more renovations were made to make the stadium baseball-only in 1998.

Those renovations contributed to the City of Anaheim’s determination that the facility was no longer historically significant. From the 2,422-page report:

The stadium retains integrity of location and to a lesser extent setting, but alterations have substantially compromised its integrity of design, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association.

In addition, the City found that original owner Gene Autry, the club’s first general manger Fred Haney, and stadium contractor Del Webb were not most known for the stadium itself.

Big the Big A, which first was installed directly behind left center field but has since moved to the edge of the parking lot nearer to the 57 freeway, was found to be historically significant.

From the City’s report:

The Big A retains a high degree of integrity of design, workmanship, feeling, and association, and to a lesser extent location, materials, and setting. The sign retains sufficient integrity to convey its association with the historic period and is a significant example of Modern architecture with Googie elements as applied to an A‐frame sign.

In addition, the City report noted, “To the millions of people traveling the freeway, the Big A is easily one of the most recognizable identifying features in Anaheim.”

That means that any alterations, relocations, or demolition of the Big A must adhere to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties before building permits are issued by the city.

For what it’s worth, Angels spokesperson Marie Garvey told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times, “The Big A will be part of our project.”