La Monica Ballroom

(1920s)^ - Looking out toward the Municipal Pier and Santa Monica Amusement Pier showing the beautiful Spanish and French Renaissance-style La Monica Ballroom.  


Historical Notes

Designed by T.H. Eslick, the La Monica Ballroom opened in 1924 and would become a popular Santa Monica venue for over 39 years.




(1924)^ - Aerial view looking east showing the Municipal Pier and the Santa Monica Amusement Pier, including the Whirlwind Dipper roller coaster, Looff Hippodrome, and the not-yet-open La Monica Ballroom.  


Historical Notes

The La Monica Ballroom was located at the end of the 1,600-foot long Santa Monica Pier. It was especially popular during the Big Band Era of the 1920s & 30s, up to 2,500 couples could kick up their heels in this grand ballroom located at the end of the Pier.




(1924)* - The Santa Monica Pier, with the La Monica Ballroom, captured from above.  





(1924)* - View looking northwest toward the Santa Monica Pier. In the foreground is the "Municipal Community Service Playground No. 2. Beyond that, crowds of people are seen looking out toward the surf. In the background stands the pier with its roller coaster and the newly constructed La Monica Ballroom.  





(1924)* - The La Monica Ballroom located at the end of the Santa Monica pier.  





(1924)* - Cars are parked outside the La Monica Ballroom on the Santa Monica Pier.  


Historical Notes

More than 50,000 people attended the July 23, 1924 grand opening of the La Monica Ballroom, enough to cause the first traffic jam recorded in Santa Monica history. Its 15,000 square-foot hard maple floor and exquisite “submarine garden” interior made the La Monica the hottest ticket in town.




(ca. 1920s)** - View of Santa Monica from the end of the pier showing the La Monica Ballroom. Three small boats are in the water at center. In the distance, the Santa Monica beach is visible, including three large beachfront hotels. The hotels are all at least five stories high and are decorated with archways and countless windows.  





(ca. 1926)** - View looking northwest from the shore toward the Santa Monica Pier. At the end of the pier stands the beautiful arabesque La Monica Ballroom. Minarets top each of the towers visible positioned at the corners of the building, while the tops of the exterior walls are molded into decorative curves.  Heavy surf is visible in the foreground crashing against the shore and the pilings of the pier in the distance.  





(ca. 1937)* - Looking out from Palisades Park towards the La Monica Ballroom on the Santa Monica Pier. Beachgoers cover the beach and many boats are docked in the bay.  





(1936)* - Crowds of people standing in line at the Catalina Steamer Landing on Santa Monica Pier across from the La Monica Ballroom.  


Historical Notes

The Thirties saw the rise of the Santa Monica Yacht Harbor. A breakwater was constructed so boats could be safely moored and to also protect the pier. A collection of yachts, fishing boats and a cruise liner to Catalina made the yacht harbor their home base. However, the breakwater was poorly engineered and began to sink into the sandy ocean floor and it is almost completely submerged today. With Marina del Rey, the worlds' largest man-made pleasure boat harbor opening in 1965 just a few miles south of the pier, signaled the end of boating activities at the Santa Monica Pier.^




(1936)^ – Postcard view of Santa Monica Beach showing the La Monica Ballroom on the pier.  A portion of the Deauville Club can be seen in lower right (opened in 1927).  






(ca. 1930)* – View looking out toward the La Monica Ballroom from in front of the Deauville Club.  





(ca. 1934)#^^ - Image of a crowd amid beach umbrellas watching two pugilists boxing in an outdoor boxing ring on the beach in front of the Santa Monica Athletic Club. The Santa Monica Pleasure Pier with the La Monica Ballroom and Municipal Pier are in the background.  


Historical Notes

The La Monica Ballroom's success was short-lived as the Great Depression effectively ended the dance hall days. By the mid-1930’s it became a convention center, lifeguard headquarters and, for a short interim period, the City Jail. The building stood until 1963 when it was demolished.*

Click HERE to see more Early Views of Santa Monica.


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Water in Early Los Angeles

Early So Calif Amusement Parks

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Early City Views (1925 +)

Historical Bldgs (1925 +)

Early Views of Hollywood Bowl

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Early Views of Santa Monica

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'Miracle Mile' (1920s & 1930s)




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