Little San Luis, equidistant between San Francisco and Los Angeles, attracted some of the best architects from both, who gave us some of their most unusual work. Greek and Roman Revival interpreted through Streamline Moderne, Colonial Revival in stucco and tile, and Mission Revival to mark the new motor age are some of our inspired oddities.

We’ll visit elegant works by Frank Lloyd Wright and Julia Morgan; the outrageous neo-Greek Fremont Theater of movie palace king S. Charles Lee, which once boasted glow-in-the dark carpet; Walker and Eisen’s fascist-era County Courthouse (who fasces are very subtle); and the ruins of the world’s first motel, designed by Pasadena’s Heineman brothers. SLO modern architecture hides many historicist surprises, so bring an open mind, and imagine yourself as the small town patrons receiving these sometimes shocking buildings.