This frieze is among several that adorn the exterior of the old Van Nuys City Hall.
The figure, either the Goddess Pomona or Hygia, holds the caduceus-wand of the God Mercury. The caduceus symbol was mistakenly adopted, when the American Medical Association was founded, for the wand of the God Aesculapius lord of medicine whose symbol is a forked stick with one winding snake on it.
Mercury is the God of rapid decisions, business transactions and thieves.
See this frieze and many other surprises on The Museum of the San Fernando Valley's next Van Nuys historic walking tour. Call 1 (818) 347-9665 and leave your contact information for future tour information.