1615 East 4th Street, National City
National City’s Historic Home Tour: Ralph Granger, who had struck it rich in the silver mines of Colorado and was making $5,000 a day through the 1890’s, located his family on an estate in Paradise Valley. His love of violins led to his purchase of a large and expansive string collection, which prompted him to hire San Diego architect Irving Gill to build a private music hall for him. In the National Historic American Buildings Study Survey Bob Bruegmann states that the hall “reflects Gill’s early experimental use of shingles.”
The original room was 19 X 36 feet and soon afterwards in 1898 a 30 X 100 foot recital hall was added from where some of the most brilliant concerts in the county were performed. A wonderful 75 foot mural adorns the recital hall ceiling portraying the Muses Euterpe and Erato surrounded by cherubs.
Once the hall contained a fine tracker organ built by Murray H. Harris, who built the organ in the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City. The wonderfully carved wooden grill behind the concert stage still delights visitors, as does the acoustics. Due to the way the building was constructed–no wall is exactly parallel–a microphone is not needed. Sound travels from one end of the hall to the other without distortion.
Saved from demolition Granger Music Hall was moved to its present site in an effort spearheaded by the National City Historical Society and was lovingly restored by the citizens of National City. Painted its original colors it is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Unfortunately, right now it’s closed to the public and lies right next to the highway. Pretty soon, it will be moved again and hopefully, one day, Granger Hall will once again “delight visitors” with its acoustics.