Early Views of Santa Monica

Historical Photos of Early Santa Monica
   
  (ca. 1920s)^*^* - Woman with spy glass looking out toward the ocean. The beach is full of sunbathers with the Santa Monica Pier and Amusement Park in the distance. Pacific Bath House can be seen at upper right.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920)** - View of the beach in Santa Monica, south of the pier.  A large grassy park is in the foreground at right. Many people are seated beneath umbrellas or on blankets on the grass. A covered walkway runs through the middle of the park at right. The beach is in the background at center and is also crowded with umbrellas and people. There is a rocky outcropping in the foreground at left. In the background at right are several large buildings and a parking lot full of early-model automobiles. Part of a pier is jutting out into the water in the distance at center, and there appears to be a roller coaster in the far distance. Legible signs include, from left to right: "Ball Room", "The Rendezvous", "Ice Cream", "Tom's", and "Pacific Bath House".  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - View looking north of a very crowded shoreline at Ocean Park Beach in Santa Monica.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1925)* - WOW! - High density real estate. The view is looking north towards Ocean Park where some buildings and part of Lick Pier are visible.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - Crowded shoreline at Ocean Park Beach in Santa Monica.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)* - A group at the sign that reads "Prohibited," at the boundary between Ink Well Beach and the whites-only section of beach in Santa Monica.  

 

Historical Notes

Through the 1920s, many public beaches were open to whites only. For the African American community, there was a 200-sq ft. area of beach at the foot of Pico Blvd that was marked with a sign that said “Negroes Only.” This stretch of beach became known as the Ink Well. African Americans continued to congregate at the Ink Well long after racial restrictions on beach access were lifted in 1927. It continued to be a popular African American gathering spot into the 1960s.*^*^

 

 

 
(1920)** - View of the beach south of Casa Del Mar Beach Club in Santa Monica, looking north to the pier. There is a grassy park at right, and the right side of the park is bordered by a covered walkway. A broad sidewalk divides the park from the sandy beach at left, and a small sidewalk electric tram is transporting passengers along the walkway. The beach is occupied by many people, several of whom are resting beneath umbrellas. The large Casa Del Mar Beach Club is at right. It is a massive rectangular building with at least five stories and a terra cotta tile roof. The pier is in the background at left.  

 

 

 

 
(1920)** - View of the Edgewater, Breakers, and Casa Del Mar Beach Clubs in Santa Monica, looking south from the water. The three massive beach clubs are seen on the shore in the middle distance. All three buildings have at least six or seven stories and two distinct wings. A tall tower emerges from the flat roof of the club at left. Several smaller buildings can be seen between and in front of the beach clubs. The beach in front of the clubs is sparsely populated with beachgoers. The ocean in the foreground is calm.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1920s)** - View of the Santa Monica beach and the Pacific Bath House south of Casa Del Mar Beach Club.  The sandy beach stretches across the middle of the image and is crowded with hundreds of people. The Pacific Bath house is at center. It is a light-colored, two-story building with rows of rectangular windows around its perimeter. Several large beach clubs are in the distance at left, and two small eateries are at right. There is a crowded parking lot full of early-model automobiles behind the bath house. Legible signs include, from left to right, "Pacific Bath House", "Fish Dinners", "Coca Cola Sold Here", "Frost", "Christopher's Ice Cream", "Sea Food", "Creates Golden Tan", and "Prevent".  

 

 

 

 

 
(1926)* - Sunbathers and umbrellas are on the sand in front of the Club Casa del Mar beach club in Santa Monica. The building displayed is the Edgewater Beach Club, 1855 Promenade. Both clubs were private. In the background is the Santa Monica Pier with its roller coaster ride.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1926)* - Several people are seen relaxing at the Edgewater Beach Club, 1855 Promenade, in a covered pavilion on the beach.  

 

 

 

 
(1927)* - Exterior view of the Edgewater Beach Club, left, at 1855 Promenade in Santa Monica. Groups of people with umbrellas are seen in front of the private beach clubs sitting on the sand and enjoying their day at the beach. The building partially visible to the right is the Club Casa del Mar.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1927)** - View of the beach in Santa Monica looking north from a a full parking lot.  Beyond the parking lot is a large grassy area with a covered walkway running down the middle. The Club Casa del Mar stands in the upper right. The pier in the distance is barely visible through a light fog.  An electric vehicle (left-center) is seen transporting passengers along the walkway that parallels the beach.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1926)* - Life boat drill with male and female lifeguards outside the new Club Casa del Mar, a private beach club at 1901 Promenade, Santa Monica.  

 

Historical Notes

Club Casa del Mar opened in 1926 at the foot of Pico Blvd. During WWII, the US Navy used the building as a hotel for enlisted men. Following the war, it served a variety of purposes, including Synanon Rehab Center and the Pritikin Longevity Center. Today the meticulously refurbished building serves as one of Santa Monica's most luxurious hotels.*^*^

Lifeguard services were initially developed during the early 1900s in response to the rise in popularity of the beach. Several municipalities had their own service before combining forces with Los Angeles County in the 1970s, creating the world's largest professional lifeguard service.*^*^

 

 

 
(1953)^*^*^ - View of the beach in front of the Club Casa del Mar. A variety of designs are on display as umbrellas cover the beach.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1998, The Edward Thomas Hospitality Corporation acquired the building and converted it into a luxury hotel called the Casa del Mar Hotel.*^

The Casa del Mar Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

 

 
(1924)#*#* – A woman stands at the edge of the Pacific Palisades looking down at a crowded Santa Monica Beach and Roosevelt Highway.  

 

 

 

 
(1927)* - Photo shows people on the top of the Palisades (left), which overlooks Santa Monica beach. The buildings, cars parked along the highway, and the crowds on the beach can be seen. The pier and amusement park is in the background. A new concrete staircase is seen that connects the top of the palisades to the beach.  

 

Historical Notes

The steps and bridge seen in the above photo are at the same location as the original '99 Steps" built in 1875. When the Pacific Coast Highway was built in 1927, new concrete steps and a bridge over the highway were built to allow for continued beach access.*^*^

 

 

 
(1927)* - View of Ocean Avenue shows many cars parked on one side of the road. A trolley can be seen in the distance.  

 

 

 

 
(1928)^*^* - Bird's-eye view of Main Street and surroundings, looking west-northwest toward Ashland Avenue, showing businesses, cars, pedestrians, and houses, with Santa Monica Pier in background.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)* - An exterior corner view of the Parkhurst Building which here housed the Van De Kamp's Bakery on the bottom floor. Located at 185 Pier Ave. in Ocean Park.  

 

Historical Notes

Built in 1927, the Spanish Colonial Revival style building was designed by architects Marsh, Smith & Powell.  Norman F. Marsh also planned the arcaded streets and canals of Venice.#^

 

 

 
(2008)*^ - View of the Parkhurst Building as it appeared in 2008. The sign on the front door reads: "Planet Blue".  

 

Historical Notes

The Parkhurst Building was included in the National Register of Historic Places, California Register of Historic Places and designated as a Santa Monica landmark.#^

 

 

 
(1929)* - Crowds gathered on the sides of Clover Field (Santa Monica Airport) to watch the air show. Several planes are parked on the field, waiting their turns to takeoff.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1923, the Army Air Corps dedicated Clover Field, named after World War I pilot Lt. Greayer “Grubby” Clover, who grew up nearby and was killed in action.*^*#

 

 

 
(1929)^^^^ - View of Clover Field 1929. The Douglas Aircraft plant can be seen on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

Donald Wills Douglas, Sr. founded the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1921 with his first plant on Wilshire Boulevard. He built a plant in 1922 at Clover Field (Santa Monica Airport), which was in use for 46 years. In 1924, four Douglas-built planes took off from Clover Field to attempt the first aerial circumnavigation of the world. Two planes made it back, after having covered 27,553 miles in 175 days, and were greeted on their return September 23, 1924 by a crowd of 200,000 (generously estimated).*^

 

 

 
(1940s)^^^^ - View of Douglas Aircraft with numerous planes positioned all around its plant. The surrounding neighborhood has been built up when compared to previous photo.  

 

Historical Notes

Douglas Aircraft Co. was a major player in the aircraft industry during World War II. Local historians note that World War II affected Santa Monica more than most places, as the Federal Government (for national security reasons) leased the Airport from the City to provide protection for Douglas Aircraft – then a major defense contractor located in Sunset Park. The government also participated in the expansion of the facility to accommodate the ever-growing production of military aircraft by Douglas Aircraft.^*^#

 

 

 
(1940s)##+ – View showing night production of fighters at Douglas Aircraft Company's assembly plant in Santa Monica.  

 

Historical Notes

Santa Monica CA- Along brilliantly lit assembly lines of Douglas Aircraft Company’s plant here, night crews are rushing production of DB-7B attackers bombers, recently acclaimed as night fighters in the defense of blacked out Britain. Equipped with heavy armament self-sealing fuel tanks and armor plating, these ships are proving swift and deadly in interception and downing Nazi raiders. R.A.F. early designated the DB-7 type the Boston and more recent the Havoc. Under a backlog in excess of $400,000,000 nearly 28,000 Douglas employees are working around the clock on attack ships, dive bombers and military transports for Americans and Britain. ##+

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)* - An impatient car starts across the crosswalk while men and women are still crossing towards the Douglas Aircraft Company factory, located at 2700 Ocean Park Boulevard, Santa Monica. An ice cream truck is parked and the attendant is ready to catch workers as they return to work.  

 

Historical Notes

At its peak, Douglas Aircraft, and Santa Monica Airport grew in size to its present 227 acres, employing 40,000 individuals.^*^#

 

 

 
(ca. 1945)*#*# - Playing such a vital role in military aircraft production during World War II, camouflage was used to make the plant and airstrip disappear - at least from the air.  

 

Historical Notes

During the war the airport area was cleverly disguised from the air with the construction of a false "town" (built with the help of Hollywood craftsman) suspended atop it.

 

 

 
(1967)#* – Aerial view looking west toward the Pacific Ocean showing Santa Monica Airport.  The Douglas Aircraft plant is on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

In later years, Douglas Aircraft merged with a rival to become McDonnell-Douglas Corporation (1967) and moved to Long Beach (1976).  The 5,000-foot runway at what was by then known as Santa Monica Airport was too short for the firm's growing jet production.  Two decades later, McDonnell-Douglas would be absorbed by yet another rival, Boeing Company.  When the corporation left town, Douglas' son, Donald Wills Douglas Jr, set up the Donald Douglas Museum and Library to commemorate his father's legacy.  Douglas Sr. died in 1981.  Nine years later, the nonprofit Museum of Flying, founded by golf course and real estate developer David Price, superseded the old museum as part of a $20-million airport overhaul.  Exhibits included vintage planes and an immense photo of when the airport and plant operated under cover of camouflage.*#*#

 

Click HERE to see more in Aviation in Early L.A.

 

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(1930)* - A view down the street showing the parade marchers, floats and spectators of the Baby Parade of 1930 as they march past the Ocean Park Plunge near the beachfront.  

 

 

 

 
(1929)* - Photo shows "two views of the picturesque Santa Monica-Oxnard link of the Coast highway opening today, winding about the hills along the sunset shore." Photograph dated: June 29, 1929.  

 

Historical Notes

The section of Highway 1 from Santa Monica to Oxnard, via Malibu, went out to contract in 1925 as "Coast Boulevard" but was designated "Theodore Roosevelt Highway" when it was dedicated in 1929. The Highway 1 designation was first designated in 1939. Various portions of State Highway 1 have been posted and referred to by various names and numbers over the years. State construction of what became Highway 1 started after the state's third highway bond issue passed before 1910.*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)* - View of the coastline along Pacific Coast Highway looking north to Santa Monica, Pacific Palisades and Malibu.  

 

Historical Notes

This is a photograph of a Chris Siemer painting created for a display by the L.A. Chamber of Commerce.

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)* - Panoramic view showing the Roosevelt Highway running along the coastline of Santa Monica beach. The landmark lighthouse and bathouse at the location of the original Long Wharf can be seen in the distance.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)** – Winter view of the Pacific Palisades along the Roosevelt Highway, looking north from the Santa Monica Palisades, showing the landmark lighthouse and bathouse. Photo date: February 26, 1931.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)* - View shows Roosevelt Highway (now PCH) running parallel to the Santa Monica beach at the intersection with Chautauqua Boulevard . Cars parked along the sides of the highway and crowds on the beach can be seen. A bath house sign, several restaurants and a couple of gas stations are on the left side. The Santa Monica pier can be seen in the distance.
 

 

 

 

Chautauqua Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway

 
(1930s)** – Close-up view of the intersection of Chautauqua Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica. The highway extends into the distance at right while Chautauqua runs from left to right. There are several buildings visible on the sides of Chautauqua, and many early-model automobiles are parked along the side of the road. A man is standing in the foreground at left, holding a basket, and several other pedestrians are visible in the distance at right. A hill covered with large houses can be seen in the distance at left. Legible signs include, from left to right: "Ship Ahoy Cafe Unique Excellent Food Luncheon 50 65 Dinner 65 85 $1.00", "Ballanlymes Sandwiches", "Lee Rose Casino Lunch Barbequed Mets Hamburger Hot Dogs", "Sam's Rite Spot", "Clam Chowder", and "ABC".  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)^** - Intersection of Pacific Coast Highway, Chautauqua Blvd. and Channel Road, Santa Monica.  

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)^** - View showing automobile traffic at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway, Chautauqua Boulevard, and Channel Road in Santa Monica. Two boys are sitting on a railing watching traffic across from storefront signs that read "Canyon Market", "Canyon Liquor Store", and "Gloryfied frankfurters."  

 

 

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Marion Davies Mansion

 
(ca. 1930)** - View of Santa Monica homes along Pacific Coast Highway, looking south. The highway is in the foreground at center and follows the contours of the coast as it disappears into the distance at center. The right side of the road is lined with an assortment of large beach houses including Marion Davies' mansion (center-right) which is still under construction. On the left side of the highway, a railroad runs parallel to the road and the steep cliffs of Palisades Park rise above the tracks. There are trees along the top and bottom of the cliffs, but the faces are bare rock. There is a small wharf at center that sticks out above the low tide, and a long pier is visible in the background at right.  

 

Historical Notes

William Randolph Hearst might have been the first media mogul of the 20th Century. In his day, Hearst owned 28 major newspapers and 18 magazines, as well as radio stations and movie companies. Santa Monica’s Gold Coast was so desirable that in the 1920s, Hearst, one of the richest and most powerful men in America, bought 4.91 acres of beachfront property so that he could build a mansion for his mistress, actress Marion Davies. #^*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1932)* - View of Marion Davies’ 110-room mansion on Santa Monica beach designed by architect Julia Morgan and built circa 1926. The guest house closest to the camera still exists. Roosevelt Highway would be widened in 1934.  

 

Historical Notes

William Randolph Hearst commissioned William Edward Flannery to construct a grand beach house for his longtime companion, actress Marion Davies. In 1926, architect Julia Morgan (the architect of Hearst Castle) was hired to complete the design and oversee construction of the estate, which featured an ornate swimming pool, several houses, gardens and an opulent 110-room mansion. The beach house served as Davies’ primary residence from 1929 to 1942.*^*^

 

 

 
(1934)**^ – Postcard view showing the “Beach Homes of the Motion Picture Stars” with Marion Davies’ house at lower right.   

 

Historical Notes

Photo was taken shorty after railroad tracks were removed and Roosevelt Highway widened (1934).

 

 

 
(late 1930s)#^^* - Closer view of Marion Davies' beach house (mansion) on the Pacific Coast Highway, Santa Monica  

 

Historical Notes

Julia Morgan created a three-story, 34-bedroom Georgian mansion on the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica. Called "Ocean House" or "The Beach House," it was the grandest property in the neighborhood. Rumor has it the cost was $7 million dollars. #^*^

 

 

 
(early 1930s)#*** - Aerial view showing the 4.91-acre Marion Davies estate in Santa Monica, designed by Julia Morgan. The building on the left is the guest house.  

 

Historical Notes

Marion Davies was born Marion Douras in Brooklyn, New York on January 3rd, 1897. She always wanted to be a star. When she met William Randolph Hearst, she had already made a name for herself on the Broadway stage. Rumor has it she wrote her first film, "Runaway Romany," directed by her brother-in-law, George Lederer. 1918’s "Cecilia of the Pink Roses" was her first film backed by Hearst. Then her marketing campaign began.

Over the next ten years, Davies filmed an average of almost three films a year. She was a tireless worker, always trying to live up to the relentless promotional campaigns launched by Hearst.

In the early twenties, she and Hearst relocated their movie company, Cosmopolitan Productions, to California to join forces with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer studios. Once the Beach House was finished, Marion evolved into Hollywood's premiere hostess. Her parties attracted the day’s biggest stars, international dignitaries and business titans. Those who knew Davies say she never took herself seriously and was beloved by all who knew her for her gracious spirit and charitable tendencies. #^*^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)#*^* - Postcard view from the beach, showing the Marion Davies mansion. The Santa Monica bluffs are seen in the background. The mansion's guest house, on the left, still exists today.  

 

Historical Notes

The three-story, 118-room, 34-bedroom, 55-bath Georgian mansion had 37 fireplaces, Tiffany chandeliers, a ballroom, a dining room from a Venetian palazzo, and a room that was coated in gold leaf. It was accompanied by three guesthouses, two swimming pools, tennis courts and dog kennels and was called “Ocean House." #***

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)#*** - View showing guests enjoying a day by the pool at Marion Davies' mansion in Santa Monica.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1947, Davies sold the estate and it was converted into the Oceanhouse Hotel and Sand & Sea Beach Club. The main mansion was demolished in 1956, and the property was sold to the State of California in 1959. The Sand & Sea Club remained popular with regulars all the way through until the 1990s.*^*^

In 2005, the Annenberg Foundation, at the recommendation of Wallis Annenberg, made a generous financial commitment to preserve the site for public use. The Annenberg Community Beach House at Santa Monica State Beach opened to the public on April 25, 2009, representing a unique partnership between the Annenberg Foundation, California State Parks and the City of Santa Monica. The total construction costs were roughly $30 million.*^

 

 

 
(2012)#*** - View of the restored Marion Davies Mansion pool, now part of the Annenberg Community Beach House.  

 

Historical Notes

The mansion's original pool was restored by the Annenberg Foundation and opened to the public on a fee for entry basis in 2009. The pool is trimmed in tile and has a marble deck. The mansion's original guest house also still exists and is used for events. New facilities include a pool house with changing areas and a second floor view deck, a new event house, a splash pad, gardens, beach volleyball/tennis courts, a children's play area, public restrooms, beach rentals, and a cafe.*^

 

 

Lasky Residence

 
(1920s)**^ – Postcard view showing the beach home of Jesse Lasky (one of the founders of Paramount Pictures), located at 609 Ocean Front Walk across from the Sorrento/Gables.  

 

Historical Notes

Filled with antiques and guests, the Lasky home became a magnet for stars, performers, and executives. From hosting lavish open air extravaganzas to spontaneous get-togethers, the beach house was where Hollywood culture maven Bess Lasky held court.**^

 

 

 

 
(1928)^*^* – View showing the Jesse L. Lasky residence, with Spanish tile roof, large balcony, enclosed and open patios, umbrellas, and playground equipment, with beach and wall in foreground and cliffs in background.  

 

Historical Notes

"'Our Santa Monica beach house, 609 Ocean Front, was a two-story hacienda surrounding a garden with a fountain. It originally had twelve guest suites...[which] my father enlarged..still further. We became a kind of hotel for the famous...I can remember no time when we were not inundated with house guests.” – Jesse L. Lasky, Jr.

In 1930, Lasky traded Paramount shares and the beach house to Harry Warner for $250K.**^

 

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(ca. 1930)* - Roosevelt Highway, later renamed the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), as seen from Palisades Park in Santa Monica. The highway runs parallel with the many beach clubs, restaurants, and residences on the coast. In the distance are Pacific Palisades, where the landmark Lighthouse bathhouse is located, and the Santa Monica Mountains.  

 

Historical Notes

The Hollywood set and the uber-rich were drawn to Santa Monica’s beach in the 1920s & 30s. The opulent residences they constructed north of the Pier and fabulous parties they threw earned this stretch of sand the nickname of “Gold Coast”.

Many other Hollywood stars, producers and movie studio moguls also built homes on Santa Monica's beach in the 1920s.  Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford were among the first to make the move.*^*^

 

 

 
(1931)* - Looking down upon the Roosevelt Highway (later Pacific Coast Highway) and crowds at the beach from the cliffs in Pacific Palisades.  

 

 

 

 
(1934)* - Caption reads: A new link in the Roosevelt highway and an improved coastal boulevard which replaces the old narrow road along the beach at the foot of the Santa Monica Palisades, will be formally opened and dedicated on Monday afternoon. Governor F. F. Merriam and state, county and municipal officials will join in ceremonies which will climax months of work. Photo shows the highway link, which has been widened to 80 feet and extends nearly one mile. Arrow shows where boulevard rises to connect with Wilshire Boulevard on Ocean Avenue.  

 

 

 

 
(1936)** - View showing a car travelling south on Roosevelt Highway (later PCH) in Santa Monica with the Sorrento Beach Club garage on the left and the California Incline in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1920s, “Promoters decided to create a fantastic club (Gables Beach Club) and hotel complex on the cliffs at the foot of Montana Avenue...Designed to emulate the grandest castle-like structures of Europe.....would be twenty-one stories high and would include the first new bridge to span the beach road." - (from the book) Santa Monica Beach by Ernest Marquez

Originally designed to be 21 storys tall, only three stories were completed (1928) when the Great Depression hit. The smaller building would be used as a garage for Gables Beach Club across the street until a fire partially destroyed the club (1930). Within two years the club was rebuilt and reopened as the Sorrento Beach Club and the 3-story building continued to be used as a parking garage until 1962.

Today, part of the foundation is still visible and is being used as a retaining wall.

 

 

California Incline

 
(ca. 1930)* - View of Santa Monica looking south. On left is the Pacific Palisades Park which overlooks bathing houses, buildings and beach below. The California Incline runs diagonally from lower-right to top-center. In the far background is the Santa Monica pier.   

 

Historical Notes

Originally constructed in 1896 as a walkway known as Sunset Trail, the current California Incline was built in 1930 and is 1,400 feet in length. It was and still is a vital street in Santa Monica, linking the PCH with Ocean Avenue, and California Avenue, bisecting Palisades Park. It begins at an intersection with Ocean Avenue and California Avenue, at the top of the palisades, extending to the PCH at the base of the bluffs.*^

 

 

 
(1930s)* - Five women are seen sitting and standing on a open bed truck on top of the California Incline. A sign at the front of the truck reads, "Lifeguard." The woman standing holds her left hand out, as if she's welcoming you to the beach, which can be seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1938)** – View showing a man looking down toward the Santa Monica coastline from the top of the California Incline. Photo by Dick Whittington  

 

 

 

 

 
(1940s)#^^ - Postcard view showing the California Incline road with automobiles, leading down from bluffs and Palisades Park down to Pacific Coast Highway.  Beach houses, the Santa Monica Pier with the La Monica Ballroom at its center, and other buildings are also in this view, with Ocean Park amusement piers in the distance.  

 

 

Click HERE to see more Early Views of the California Incline.

 

 

Olympic Tunnel (later McClure Tunnel)

 
(1936)#** – Ceremonies marking the opening of a 400-foot tunnel beneath Colorado and Ocean Avenues in Santa Monica on February 1, 1936. The tunnel, originally known as the Olympic Tunnel and later renamed McClure Tunnel, joins the Roosevelt Highway (later, Pacific Coast Highway) with Olympic and Lincoln boulevards.  

 

Historical Notes

The tunnel was formerly used, before its reconstruction into a much larger capacity road, by Pacific Electric Streetcar system.

Photo caption reads: "Through tunnel to coast at Santa Monica went a cavalcade of autos when the ribbon was cut February 1st. Flat arch construction and four traffic lanes are features."

 "Plans for an elaborate dedicatory ceremony which included a parade and barbecue in the tunnel were called off shortly before the exercises were to commence because of the unfavorable weather conditions." #**

 

 

 

 
(1936)^#^ – View showing hundreds of people at dedication of the new Santa Monica tunnel linking Roosevelt Highway with Olympic and Lincoln boulevards (Feb. 1, 1936).  

 

Historical Notes

The tunnel became known as the Olympic Tunnel. In 1969, it was renamed the Robert E. McClure Tunnel – honoring the former editor of the Santa Monica Outlook. Today the tunnel connects the Santa Monica Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway.^#^

 

 

 
(1936)^#^ – View showing a new Ford V-8 Fordor sedan as it exits the new tunnel in Santa Monica onto Olympic Boulevard, which leads to Lincoln Boulevard. The tunnel connected those streets with the Roosevelt Highway. The above photo was published in the Feb. 23, 1936 Los Angeles Times automotive page.  

 

Historical Notes

The roof line of the Deauville Club located on Santa Monica Beach can be seen in the background.

 

 

 
(1936)#^^ – Night view looking west toward the entrance to the new McClure Tunnel from the Olympic Boulevard side.  Photo Date:  May 22, 1936  

 

 

 

 

 

(1936)^**^ - Postcard view of the Santa Monica Pier and Beach looking from Palisades Park. Route 66, End of the Trail sign at lower right.

 

 

 

Historical Notes

In 1936, Route 66 was extended from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica, today the intersection of Olympic Boulevard and Lincoln Boulevard (a segment of State Route 1). Even though there is a plaque dedicating Route 66 as the Will Rogers Highway placed at the intersection of Ocean Boulevard and Santa Monica Boulevard, the highway never terminated there.

Route 66 was unofficially named "The Will Rogers Highway" by the U.S. Highway 66 Association in 1952, although a sign along the road with that name appeared in the John Ford film, The Grapes of Wrath, which was released in 1940, twelve years before the association gave the road that name. A plaque dedicating the highway to Will Rogers is still located in Santa Monica (Ocean and Santa Monica Boulevards).*^

 

 

 

 
(1937)* - Corner view of Palisades Park (right), shows the 297 foot drop-off onto the palisades. Parts of the Roosevelt Highway can be seen and the Santa Monica beach is in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1937)* - View of the statue St. Monica for whom the city is named. The statue is located in Palisades Park in Santa Monica. Eugene Morahan is the sculptor.  

 

Historical Notes

The 18-ft. high Art Deco Sculpture for whom Santa Monica was named was sculpted in 1934 by Eugene Morahan as a Public Works of Art project and presented to the citizens of Santa Monica by the Federal Government.

Morahan and his wife (Grace) lived at the Tennis Club on Third Street in Santa Monica where the statue was caste in the backyard. It was to be installed during the celebration of Pioneer Day and as Morahan was under great pressure to complete his work by that deadline, he contacted his good friend and fellow sculptor, Gutzon Borglum to leave his work on Mount Rushmore and come down to help him finish his work on Saint Monica.+#

 

 

 
(2007)*^ - Close-up view of the statue of Santa Monica by Eugene Morahan. Photo by Sharon Mollerus  

 

Historical Notes

The statue is located at the foot of Wilshire Boulevard just a block or so north of Santa Monica Boulevard.

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)#^# – Postcard view showing a couple enjoying a leisurely day in the shade of a palm tree at Palisades Park, Santa Monica.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1928)^*^* - View of intersection of Santa Monica Blvd. and Third Street facing northeast, with pedestrians crossing street, vehicles in foreground and background, businesses, and Santa Monica City Hall. Legible business signs include: The Florsheim Shoe, Santa Monica Radio Co., Jeweler Ellis, Security Trust & Savings Bank. A clock on the right reads 12:20.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1926)#^ – View showing the intersection of Fourth Street and Santa Monica Boulevard with Santa Monica City Hall on the northwest corner, Security Trust and Savings Bank on the northeast corner, the Henshey-Tegner Building on the southeast corner, and Pacific Southwest Bank on the southwest corner.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1920s, Santa Monica was thriving both as a popular tourist destination and as home to a budding aviation industry and other businesses. Though Santa Monicans had long trekked to downtown Los Angeles for important shopping, Santa Monica’s downtown was at last coming into its own as a full-service retail center. Henshey’s Department Store, founded by Harry C. Henshey and his partners, was crucial to this change. *##^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1925)*##^ -  View looking at the southeast corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Fourth Street showing the Henshey’s Department Store shortly after it was constructed.  

 

Historical Notes

Henshey’s was Santa Monica’s first department store and, at four stories, one of the city’s tallest commercial buildings. The building itself was owned by Charles Tegner, one of Henshey’s partners. Tegner built many commercial structures in Santa Monica and was a key figure in the city’s business community at the time. The architect selected for the building was also well-known locally—Henry C. Hollwedel.  Hollwedel began his career as an architect in New York but relocated here and completed many important commissions in Santa Monica, including the Santa Monica Bay Woman’s Club and the Mayfair Theatre.

The Henshey’s store, as originally designed by Hollwedel, was a steel frame and brick structure in the Beaux Arts Classical Revival style, a grandiose style often used in public buildings of the time. The original store featured bays of paired windows embellished with terra cotta details, as well as an imposing cornice and a terra cotta frieze. Santa Monica’s Outlook newspaper reported at the time that Henshey’s was “one of the best advertisements Santa Monica has ever had…its imposing bulk, towering over the adjacent structures around it arouses interest and speculation.” Even more important, Henshey’s showed that “Santa Monica is no longer a village with village stores and standards. She has grown up and is now a big city.” *##^

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)#*#* – View looking north on 4th Street toward Santa Monica Blvd. with the Central Tower Building on the left and Henshey’s Department Store on the right.  

 

Historical Notes

Although Henshey’s was praised when first constructed in 1925, the building was altered significantly as the years passed and architectural fashions changed. In 1936 it underwent a major remodel as the ground floor and mezzanine were remade in the Streamline Moderne style so popular in the 30s. At the same time, a one-story extension (also Streamline Moderne) was annexed to the building along Fourth Street. By the 1960s this look too was outdated, and in 1962 both the original four-story building and the annex were entirely encased behind punched aluminum screens, changing their look dramatically.

Henshey’s Department Store occupied these buildings from 1925 until 1992 when recession and competition from other retailers led to the store’s closing. Then, in the 1994 Northridge earthquake, the Henshey’s building and annex were damaged beyond repair and the landmark was demolished soon after. *##^

 

 

 

 
(1928)^*^* – View looking south on 4th Street from Santa Monica Boulevard. The Central Tower Building is at upper right.  

 

Historical Notes

Constructed in 1928, the symmetrical Central Tower Building is designed in the Art Deco style. The irregular-shaped building is comprised of two-story store fronts along the west side of 4th Street with an eight-story central tower rising from the middle of the 4th Street facing volume.

The building was designed by M. Eugene Durfee, constructed by C.L. Freeman and J. Wesley Forder, and developed by the Central Tower Investment Company and A.P. Creel.**#

 

 

 
(1930s)*^# - A woman walks by parked cars lining the street in front of the Central Tower Building in Santa Monica. The Art-Deco Central Tower Building was the beachfront city’s first skyscraper. It still stands at 1424 Fourth Street.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)* - View of Santa Monica Boulevard and 4th Street looking north. The City Hall, Altman's Fine Furniture store and a Grand Central Market is on the left. Security First National Bank, Stages Motor Coach and a Chop Suey restaurant can be seen on the right.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)* - General view of the main business intersection looking east from City Hall at Fourth Street and Santa Monica Boulevard. Hensley's Department Store can be seen in the background, and a bus is in the foreground.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)* - People getting off the bus in Santa Monica. It is one of the Bay Cities Transit Co. buses, which are used as a means of local transportation in Santa Monica. Across the street is a branch of Security-First National Bank.  

 

 

 

 
(1931)* - Exterior view of the Wilshire Theatre (later NuWilshire Theatre), located at 1314 Wilshire Boulevard in Santa Monica. Marquee reads "Gala premier opening Wednesday."  

 

Historical Notes

John M. Cooper designed this movie theater, which includes both Neoclassical and Art Deco architectural elements. When it opened in 1931 for stage and film productions, the theater had seating for 1,500 all in one auditorium, however two auditoriums were created in 1977 under the ownership of Mann Theatres. In the early 1990’s, Landmark Theatres took over operations and changed its name to NuWilshire.

 

 

 

 
(1938)^^^- View of the newly opened El Miro Theatre decorated with banners. A man on the roof appears to be installing additional banners. Bob and Millie's Coffee Shop is seen on the left. Sign reads: 2 Major Features - ANY SEAT - ANY TIME - 20 CENTS  

 

Historical Notes

Opened in 1938, the only part of the old El Miro Theatre that is left is the facade. The theater was razed in the late 80’s and the newer Cineplex Broadway 4 Theatre is located on that site now.***

 

 

 
(1938)^^^ - Interior view of the El Miro Theatre showing the Art Deco design on walls and ceiling.  

 

Historical Notes

The El Miro Theatre was designed by Norman W. Alpaugh.

 

 

 
(1938)^^^ - The Streamline Moderne El Miro Theatre located at 1441 Third Street in Santa Monica.  

 

Historical Notes

From the 60’s thru the 80’s, the El Miro Theatre was part of many chains including Century, Loew’s, GCC, and Metropolitan Theatres (Metropolitan being the last). Loew’s redressed the house in the early 70’s with those purple and blue curtains of that era. That was the last time this theater received a makeover before it was closed and demolished.***

 

 

 
(ca. 1926)** - Birdseye view of Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica from Palisades Park.  The steep cliffs of Palisades Park are visible at right, and a wooden fence can be seen running along the top edge. Below, a long line of buildings, including a bath house and the Gables Beach Club can be seen on the left side of Pacific Coast Highway.  

 

Historical Notes

In the 1920s and 30s, a number of fancy beach clubs were built along Santa Monica beach including the aptly named Santa Monica Athletic Club, the Beach Club, the Santa Monica Swimming Club, the Deauville, the Wavecrest, the Edgewater, and the Breakers. There was also the Gables Beach Club, a grand Tudor-style building (seen above) constructed in 1926. ##^^

 

 

 
(ca. 1926)** -  View of the Santa Monica beach from the palisades, showing the Gables Beach Club. A short pier or breakwater extends into the sea at center, and another can be seen in the distance at right.  

 

Historical Notes

The grand Tudor-style Gables Beach Club was  constructed in 1926. It was a popular filming location. After a fire partially destroyed it in 1930, the club was rebuilt and reopened as the Sorrento Beach Club in 1932. ##^^

 

 

 
(1920s)* - View showing Jack Dempsey boxing for a fund raiser in a ring outside the Gables Beach Club.  

 

Historical Notes

William Harrison "Jack" Dempsey became a cultural icon of the 1920s.  He held the World Heavyweight Championship from 1919 to 1926, and his aggressive style and exceptional punching power made him one of the most popular boxers in history. Many of his fights set financial and attendance records, including the first million-dollar gate.*^

 

 

 
(1927)** - View looking north along Coast Highway from point just north of Colorado Street, Santa Monica. Also visible are: lumber and other construction supplies, workmen, pedestrians, railroad tracks, embankment at the top of which are palm trees, utility poles and lines, buildings (businesses mostly), a few parked automobiles. Legible signs include: "Auto Park", "Santa Monica Athletic Club", "Parking 25¢".  

 

 

 

 
(1927)** - View looking south along Coast Highway from point just north of Colorado Street, Santa Monica, showing entrance to the Pacific Electric Railway tunnel under Ocean Avenue.  Also visible are: lumber and other construction supplies, generator, parked automobiles, embankment, utility poles and lines, stairs up to Ocean Avenue, businesses, a few palm trees along Ocean Avenue. Legible signs include: "Lunch..., "Pier auto park", "Santa Monica Bath House".  To the right (out of view) is the Deauville Club, which is still under construction.  

 

 

Deauville Club

 
(1927)** – View of beachgoers and the under-construction Deauville Club on the beach in Santa Monica.  The large building is at right and is mostly complete except for the wall facing the beach. There is scaffolding around one of the two large towers on the corners of the buildings. The beach in front of the club is crowded with bathers playing in the sand and the surf. Further down the beach at center are other beach clubs, including the Santa Monica Athletic Club.  

 

Historical Notes

The Deauville Club was located north of the Santa Monica Pier. It opened to the public in 1927 and was built on the site of the old North Beach House. It was modeled after a casino in Deauville, France, and considered to be one of the most beautiful beach clubs.*^*^

 

 

 
(ca. 1927)** – View of the beach in Santa Monica in front of the Deauville Beach Club. The wide sandy beach is at center and is crowded with bathers and their umbrellas. A pair of bicycles is leaning against a post at center. The beach is bordered at right by several large buildings, including the Deauville club in the foreground and the Santa Monica Athletic Club further in the distance.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930)** -  View of Santa Monica Beach and Pier showing people standing at the rail of the wood-planked pier in the foreground as they look at the beach at center. People in bathing suits with umbrellas over them flood the sandy beach into the distance. The Santa Monica Athletic Club and part of the Deauville Club are in view at upper right.  

 

 

 

 
(1934)** - View of the Santa Monica Pier showing a jammed-packed parking lot in the foreground. Hundreds of beachgoers can be seen under umbrellas and in the water. In the background the pier can be seen, with several structures on it. The most notable building on the pier is the La Monica Ballroom with minarets topping each of its many towers. At upper left can be seen part of the castle-style Deauville Club.  

 

 


 
(1936)^#^ - A summer day at Santa Monica beach in front of the Deauville Beach Club. Photo Date: July 19, 1936.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)**^ - Street side view of the castle-style Deauville Club located at the junction of the Roosevelt Highway and Olympic Blvd.  

 

Historical Notes

In 1930, the Los Angeles Athletic Club bought the Deauville Club and, in 1933, a breakwater built in the bay expanded the sandy beaches, creating more oceanfront space for the multitude of visitors to the area.^^#

 

 

 
(ca. 1930s)^^ - Interior view of the Deauville Club's lounge area with views of the surf.  

 

Historical Notes

The Deauville offered guest rooms, a gymnasium, a saltwater plunge, lockers and showers, lounge rooms, game rooms, private dining rooms, and a restaurant.^^#

 

 

 
(1930s)^^ - Interior view of the large, ornate dining hall at the Deauville Club. Chandeliers are seen hanging down from the high ceiling exposed beams.  

 

 

 

 
(1937)* - Close-up view of the Deauville Club as seen from the beach.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)#^^ – View showing an electric dredge in a pool of water in front of the Deauville Club. To the right of the Deauville Club and behind the dredge can be seen the west end of the McClure Tunnel.  

 

 

 

 
(1930s)#^^ - Image of spectators on the beach watching a fencing match in front of the Deauville Club in Santa Monica, with the Looff Hippodrome seen at right on the Santa Monica Pier.   

 

Historical Notes

The Deauville Club was greatly damaged by an arson fire and demolished in 1955.

 

 

 

Santa Monica Pier

 
(1937)^#^ - Aerial photo of the Santa Monica Pier shoreline looking northwest. The Deauville Club sits to the north of the pier. The Casa del Mar Club is the first building located in the lower right corner. Photo by Spencer Air Service  

 

Historical Notes

A breakwater was built just off the Santa Monica Pier in 1933, creating a harbor for boat anchorage. Upon completion it stood 37-feet high and more than 100-feet wide at its base. It had the added effect of redistributing sand along the shore, creating the wide swath of beach north of the pier.*^*^

The harbor was home to a collection of yachts, fishing boats and a cruise liner to Catalina. It was also the home base for a shuttle service to offshore gambling operations run by mobster Tony Cornero until 1939 when then-Attorney General Earl Warren led a legal crusade to shut them down.

The last to go was Cornero’s flagship, the “Rex”, which was raided in 1939 during what came to be known as “The Battle of Santa Monica Bay”. After a three day standoff, Cornero surrendered because he “needed a haircut”. Government agents boarded the “Rex” and threw all of the gambling machines and tables overboard. Warren subsequently went on to become governor of California, and ultimately Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.^++

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1939)* – View showing a crowded Santa Monica Pier with the Looff Hippodrome seen in the upper-left.  

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1940)#^^ - Image of a line of people waving while standing under a neon sign for the Santa Monica Pier. The sign reads "Santa Monica Yacht Harbor Sport Fishing and Boating Cafes."  

 

Historical Notes

In 1940 the famous neon sign at the top of the Pier ramp was installed by the Santa Monica Pier Businessmen’s Association to celebrate the opening of the newly-built ramp. It is an internationally-recognized tourist destination and a symbol of the Southern California lifestyle.^++

 

 

 
(ca. 1940s)** - View looking toward the shoreline from the Santa Monica Pier showing cars parked and people walking.  The Deauville Club can be seen in the distance.  

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

 
(1930s)* - Members of one of the private clubs at a beach party; in the background is the Santa Monica Pier.  

 

 

 

 
(1938)* - Sunbathers, beach volleyball players, and umbrellas crowd the beach before a line of private beach clubs interrupts their spread. A sign on the first wall, center, reads "Waverly Club, private beach, members only". The eight story building formerly was Breakers Beach Club, 1725 Promenade in Santa Monica. The next six story building is the Jonathan Club, formerly the Edgewater Beach Club, 1855 Promenade.  

 

Historical Notes

The Breakers Beach Club opened in 1926. The 8-story building had over 300 sleeping apartments and a full complement of amenities for guests. As ownership changed, it was also known as Club Lido. Eventually the club transitioned into a hotel, used to house military personnel during World War II. Later it was also known as the Chase Hotel.

The structure became an apartment building known as the Sea Castle Apartments in the 1960s. The building was completely destroyed by fire in 1996.*^*^

 

 

 
(1939)* - Miles of public beach serve millions of recreation-seekers along the Pacific shores of Los Angeles County. This scene is between Ocean Park and Venice on June 26, 1939.  

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)*#* - Crowded day at Ocean Park beach in Santa Monica.  

 

 

 

 
(1939)* - Not a parking space to be had. Another busy day at the beach in Santa Monica.  

 

 

Muscle Beach

 
(1948)* - View of the original Muscle Beach, located south of the Santa Monica pier, at a long, wooden platform constructed by the Works Progress Administration.  

 

Historical Notes

Muscle Beach is where the body was celebrated in its sunbaked glory as young men (and more than a few women) showed off their physical prowess by performing acrobatic and gymnastic routines. The original Muscle Beach disappeared in the late 1950s; the modern-day version is now located in Venice Beach.*

 

 

 
(1948)^*^* - Mr. Muscles contestant performing acrobatic move as crowd watches at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica.  

 

Historical Notes

Beginning in 1934, the fantastic gymnastics shows held here made the site a major attraction and center of the international fitness movement led by Jack LaLanne, Steve Reeves and Joe Gold.*^*^

 

 

 
(1951)* - Two thousand people watch acrobatics during a program at which Downey dairyman Ken Cameron, 23, was chosen "Mr. Muscle Beach of 1951." He won over 15 others in the contest sponsored by the Santa Monica Recreation Department on July 4, 1951.  

 

Historical Notes

Acrobats, gymnasts and bodybuilders performed before large crowds, which often included Jayne Mansfield and Mae West. Santa Monica's Muscle Beach reached the height of its popularity in the 1940s before moving to its current location in Venice Beach in 1959.*^*^

 

 

 

 
(1949)#*#* – View showing a very crowded Muscle Beach.  Jumbo Malts - 25 Cents, Snow Cones - 10 Cents - Photo by Max Yavno  

 

Historical Notes

The 1940 opening of the first of an eventual nationwide chain of weightlifting gyms by famed pioneer gym chain operator, Vic Tanny, only two city blocks from Muscle Beach in Santa Monica is commonly considered a key contributor to the increasing attraction of bodybuilders and strength lifters to Muscle Beach from across the nation. By the 1950s Muscle Beach established worldwide fame and helped to popularize and bring legitimacy to physical culture with acrobatics and bodybuilding and contribute to a nationwide health and fitness movement continuing into the 21st century.*^

 

 

 

 
(1954)**^ - View showing a not so crowded Muscle Beach. The original Muscle Beach disappeared in the late 1950s; the modern-day version is now located in Venice Beach.  

 

 

 

 

View From the Top

   
(ca. 1943)#*#* – Actress Susan Peters Looking down at Santa Monica beach from the palisades.    

 

 

 

 
(1949)**^ - View of the beach in Santa Monica on a summer day.  

 

 

 

 
(1940s)+## - Closer view showing sunbathers enjoying a day at Santa Monica Beach, with the California Incline and Palisades Park in the background.  

 

 

 

 
(1940s)* - View overlooking Pacific Coast Highway. Palisades Park can be seen above the cliffs on the left. The Santa Monica beach is on the right, and La Monica's ballroom on the pier is in the distance. Pedestrian bridge over the highway is seen in the center of photo.  

 

Historical Notes

When the Pacific Coast Highway was built in 1927, new concrete steps and a bridge over the highway were built to replace the wooden ones which allowed for continued beach access. In 1935, the bridge shown above replaced the one built in 1927.*^*^

 

 

 
(1997)* - Looking over the Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica Bluffs, with the Jonathan Club, the pier, and Palos Verdes Peninsula visible in the upper left. A continuous stream of cars can be seen as they travel along PCH below the pedestrian bridge; in contrast, the parking lot on the right is completely empty.  

 

Historical Notes

Today, Santa Monica has 4 pedestrian bridges that cross PCH with stairs that take you down to the beaches.^***

 

 

 
(1952)** - View showing a life guard jeep and rescue boat at Santa Monica Beach.  Caption reads:   “Rescue jeep's newest radio equipment to talk to (1) radio equipped lifeguard power rescue boat on emergency call and (2) lifeguard headquarters station (extreme right end of pier). Santa Monica is the only guard station on the coast with its own frequency, assigned by the Federal Communication Commission".   

 

 

 

 
(1950)**** - Surfing California. Surfing is more than a sport....it's a way of life!  

 

Historical Notes

“Out of water, I am nothing.” — Duke Kahanamoku

“Surfing’s one of the few sports where you look ahead to see what’s behind.” — Laird Hamilton

“One of the greatest things about the sport of surfing is that you need only three things: your body, a surfboard, and a wave.” — Naima Green

 

 

 
(1968)* - View of a young surfer riding a wave in Santa Monica.
 

 

 

 

 
1976)##^* – Wilshire Boulevard to Santa Monica Beach  

 

Historical Notes

Wilshire Boulvard runs 15.83 miles from Grand Avenue in Downtown Los Angeles to Ocean Avenue in the City of Santa Monica.*^

 

 

 
(1950s)+## - View showing a palm tree-lined Ocean Avenue with the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the distance.  

 

Historical Notes

Ocean Avenue is a road in Santa Monica that starts at the residential Adelaide Drive on the north end of Santa Monica and ends at Pico Boulevard. Ocean Avenue is the westernmost street in Santa Monica, and for most of its course it runs parallel to Palisades Park, whose bluffs overlook Pacific Coast Highway and Santa Monica State Beach.*^

 

 

 

Third Street (now Third Street Promenade)

 
(1933)#^^ – Postcard view looking south on Third Street from Arizona Avenue showing streetlights, automobiles, pedestrians and storefronts. The Bay Cities Guaranty Clock Tower Building (Crocker Bank Building) is seen at right and the Criterion Theatre is seen at left advertising "The White Sister" with Helen Hayes. Signs on the street read "Criterion Drug Co." "Criterion Apartments" "Avon Hotel" "Sponberg's Department Store" "Montgomery Ward & Co" and "J.C. Penny Co."  

 

Historical Notes

The Criterion Theatre was built in 1924 and was part of the Fox West Coast Thetres ciruit. In 1983, the theatre was rebuilt to make way for a new 6-plex.***

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1950)##^* – View looking south down Third Street showing the Fox Criterion Theatre on the left, located at 1315 Third Street.  

 

 

 

 
(2008)#*^# - Google street view of the Third Street Promenade showing the Criterion Theatre on the left.  

 

Historical Notes

Mann Theatres took over the Criterion in 1991 and in 2001, remodeled the interior and exterior of the theater. The architectural firm Behr Browers Architects of Westlake CA were responsible for the remodel. It was one of the most successful theaters in the circuit.

The Criterion Theatre was closed on March 30, 2013 to make room for more retail stores.***

 

 

Before and After

 
(ca. 1950)##^* – View looking south down Third Street with the Fox Criterion Theatre on the left.   (2008)#*^# - View of the Third Street Promenade with the Criterion Theatre on the left.

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 1955)*** – View looking north on Third Street in Santa Monica (now the Third Street Promenade). On the right legible signs include:  Santa Monica Colony Club, California Bank, Richmond’s, and in the distance, the Criterion Theatre.  

 

Historical Notes

Third Street Promenade has been a center of business in Santa Monica since the town's inception in the late 19th century. The Promenade's roots date back to the 1960s when three blocks of Third Street were converted into a pedestrian mall.*^

 

 

 
(1965)* - View showing the Third Street Promenade under construction.  

 

Historical Notes

“A 'pedestrians' paradise' is in the making in this Santa Monica Street. A three-block-long mall, free of vehicular traffic, is under construction in this area”. -  Herald Examiner - July 27, 1965.*

 

 

 

 
(1880)* - View of Third Street, between Utah and Oregon (now Santa Monica Boulevard).   (ca. 2010s)* - View of the Third Street Promenade.

 

 

 

 

 
(ca. 2010s)* - Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica. A Bar and Grill can be seen on the left side. Two fountains with art sculptures are in the middle of the mall. A Cineplex theater and a Broadway's Deli is on the right side. Three vendors with push carts can be seen towards the middle of the mall, with many people walking throughout the area. The Santa Monica beach is 3-4 blocks away.   

 

Historical Notes

Third Street Promenade's roots date back to the 1960s when three blocks of Third Street were converted into a pedestrian mall. Although successful, by the late 1970s, the Santa Monica Mall (as it was then called), was in need of modernization and a redesign. A new enclosed shopping center, Santa Monica Place (1980–2007), designed by Frank Gehry was added at the Promenade's southern end. A citywide bond measure was issued and architectural firm ROMA Design Group was hired to redesign Santa Monica Mall. The renamed Third Street Promenade opened on September 16, 1989. The project was part of a larger redevelopment effort, encompassing several blocks of Downtown Santa Monica. Santa Monica Place has since been renovated into a new open-air shopping and dining experience that re-opened on August 6, 2010.*^

 

 

 

Route 66 - End of the Trail

 
(2013)*^^* - The Route 66 End of the Trail sign is one of Santa Monica’s hidden gems, located on one end of the Santa Monica Pier.  

 

Historical Notes

Known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Mother Road and the Main Street of America, the 2,450-mile-long Route 66 was originally built to connect Chicago to Los Angeles. Though the actual end of the legendary highway has been debated for decades, this replica of the long-lost End of the Trail Sign officially marks the Western terminus of the great highway.*^^*

 

 

 

(2014)#*^^ - Route 66 - End of the Trail sign at the Santa Monica Pier with Ferris wheel in the background.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Santa Monica Pier

 
(2009)*^ - Panoramic view of the Santa Monica Pier as seen from an altitude of 2,000', looking south. Several rides of the pier’s amusement park, Pacific Park, can be seen including the large Ferris wheel.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(2009)*^ - Panoramic view of the beach and pier in Santa Monica. The City's skyline can be seen in the background.  

 

 

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)++# - Sillhouette view of Santa Monica Pier.  

 

 

 

 
(2012)## – Close-up view of the Ferris wheel at Santa Monica Pier.  Photo by Carol M. Highsmith.  

 

 

 

 
(1988)* - Santa Monica Pier looking north on the first day of Spring. Photograph dated: March 21, 1988.  

 

 

 

 
(2008)*^ - View of Santa Monica Beach from the pier on a crowded day. In the distance can be seen the California Incline and some of the City's skyline.  

 

 

 

California Incline

 
(2011)#*#* - View of the California Incline as seen from the Santa Monica Pier. LA Times Photo Archives  

 

 

 

Palisades Park

 
(2012)**^ - View of one of two very large cannons located at Palisades Park. Three people are seen by the rail at the bluff's edge looking out toward Santa Monica Pier and Beach.  

 

Historical Notes

A pair of Civil War seacoast cannons dating from 1861 were given to the City of Santa Monica on July 4, 1908, by the U.S Veteran’s Administration. Originally, each of the mounted guns had a pyramidal stack of iron cannonballs beside it, which are now gone. One cannon is located north of Colorado Boulevard near the entrance to the Santa Monica Pier. The other cannon, is located north of the Recreation center. They are ten-inch Rodman smoothbore seacoast guns. Each of the cannons is twelve-feet long and weighs about sixteen tons. They came to Palisades Park from Angel Island.

Santa Monica was never defended with cannons during times of war, although it is said that during the Spanish-American War, the city engineer mounted lengths of large pipes along the bluff to give the impression that the city was heavily fortified.#^#^

 

 

 
(n.d.)* - Tall palm trees line the walking path in Palisades Park. The Santa Monica beach can be seen in the background.  

 

Historical Notes

In recognition of its value as a historic resource and cultural landscape, Palisades Park was designated as a Santa Monica landmark in 2007.

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)^^* - Panoramic view showing stairs and bridge connecting Palisades Park with the Santa Monica Beach.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1988)* - Two bike riders take advantage of springtime in January while they take in the sights along the sunny, wind-swept beach path between Santa Monica and Venice Beach. Photograph dated: Jan. 26, 1988.  

 

 

 

 

 
(1986)* - A large colony of seagulls fills the sky over on a beach in Santa Monica, where a woman is seen jogging near the water.  

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)* - Sunset over the Pacific Ocean as seen at Santa Monica Beach.  

 

 

 

 
(n.d.)*^^^ - The iconic Santa Monica Pier at sunset.  

 

 

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

More Historical Early Views

 

 

Newest Additions

 

 

Early LA Buildings and City Views

 

 

History of Water and Electricity in Los Angeles

 

 

* * * * *

 

References and Credits

* LA Public Library Image Archive

^ LADWP Historic Archive

**USC Digital Library

^^The California History Room, California State Library

^*LMU Digital Collection: Arcadia Hotel

#* LA Times: Marquez Family

#^ Santa Monica Public Library Image Archive

+# Santa Monica Mirror: Statue of Santa Monica

+^ Santa Monica Landmarks: Looff Hippodrome

## Library of Congress: Santa Monica Bay ca. 1908; Ferris Wheel

***Cinema Treasures: El Miro Theatre; Criterion Theatre and Thrid Street; Criterion Theatre

+++Vanderbilt Cup Races

**^Noirish Los Angeles - forum.skyscraperpage.com; Deauville Club; Palisades Park Cannon; Muscle Beach

^^*Deviantart-Studio5: Santa Monica Beach

^^#University of California Digital Library: The Deauville Club

^^+Stanford University Revs Digital Library

*^#Nuestra Señora la Reina de los Ángeles: losangelespast.com

*#*KCET: A Historical Look at SoCal's Beaches

*#^Santa Monica Public Library

^#*Santa Monica History Museum

^#^Framework.latimes.com: Santa Monica Beach, 1936; Santa Monica Aerial, 1937; McClure Tunnel

^##The Malibu Times: Historic Las Flores Canyon

+##Facebook.com: Vintage Los Angeles

##+Hagley Digital Archives

*#*KCET: A Historical Look at SoCal's Beaches; Arch Rock and Castle Rocks; When L.A.'s Most Famous Streets Were Dirt Roads

**#The Central Tower Building - City Landmark Assessment and Evaluation Report

#**MTA Transportation and Research Library Archives

#^^Huntington Digital Library Archive

#++Bel-Air Bay Club History

#*^Electric Railway History: Venice Trams

#^#Calisphere Digital Archive

#+#Facebook.com: Photos of Los Angeles

^^^California State Library Image Archive

^++Santa Monica Pier HIstory

****Life.time.com: Stoked-Life Goes Surfing

^^^^Pinterest/Santa Monica Past: Santa Monica Canyon Flood; Santa Monica Airport/Clover Field; Douglas Aircraft

^*^*UCLA Digital Collection

*^*^Santa Monica Beach Stories

^**^California Legends: Santa Monica at the End of Route 66

*^^*Discoverlosangeles.com: Santa Monica

*^^^NonPhotography.com-Nika: Santa Monica Pier

***^History of the Fairmont Miramar Hotel and Bungalows

^***Southern California Beaches: Santa Monica Beach

**#*Santa Monica via Beverly Hills Line - uncanny.net

*#**Los Angeles Westerners Corral: Venice Miniature Railway

*##*AkamaIdivers.com: Pacific Ocean Pier

*##^Santa Monica Conservancy; Henshey’s Tegner Building

*#*#Los Angeles Then and Now: Douglas' Dream Took Wing in Santa Monica

*#^#Flickr.com: Walking Over Santa Monica

^#*#Venice History: Roller Coasters and Carousels

^^*#Oceanpark.wordpress.com: Ocean Park Time Line

*^*#Santa Monica Municipal Airport

^*^#SantaMonicablog.com

*^^#LAistory: The Santa Monica Pier

#*^*Cardcow.com: Marion Davies' Mansion

#***California 2012 - Travel w/ Terry: Annenberg Beach House

#*#*Flickr.com: Michael Ryerson

#^#*Denver Public Library Image Archive

#^^^Survey LA: Brentwod-Pacific Palisades Community Plan Area

#^*^Santa Monica Landmark Properties

#*^^Pinterest.com: California

#*^#Google Street Views

#^^*Pinterest.com: Old Hollywood

#^#^Paslisades Park: smgov.net

##*^Facebook.com: Hollywood's Garden of Allah Novels, Martin Turnbull

##^^MartinTurnbull.com: Gables Beach Club

****^Facebook.com: West San Fernando Valley Then And Now

^*^*^Wehadfacesthen.tumblr.com

*^*^*SantaMonicaPier.com

*#*#*Venice Miniature Railroad - Jeffrey Stanton

*^ Wikipedia: California State Route 1; History of Santa Monica; Alphonzo Bell; Venice; California Incline; Route 66; Third Street Pomenade; Santa Monica Pier; Casa del Mar Hotel; Pacific Palisades - Castellammare; Parkhurst Building; Venice Canal HIstoric District; Annenberg Community Beach House; Santa Monica High School; Jack Dempsey; Muscle Beach; Wilshire Boulevard

 

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