Monday, April 24, 2017

The Annenberg Community Beach House

An undiscovered gem (to me, at least) in Los Angeles is the Annenberg Community Beach House. Originally the site of a 100-plus room mansion for actress Marion Davies (a gift from William Randolph Hearst), it later became a hotel (Oceanhouse) and the Sand & Sea Club, a limited-membership beach club. The main mansion was torn down in 1956, and the Sand & Sea Club almost followed suit when it suffered damage from the 1994 earthquake. In stepped Wallis Annenberg of the Annenberg Foundation, who held fond memories of visiting the Sand & Sea Club. She helped the city of Santa Monica by providing a $27.5 million grant that made it possible to reopen the site to the public as the Annenberg Community Beach House. The Beach House combines elements of the historic Marion Davies Estate with new amenities to create a truly unique community destination that's open to all.

The bougainvillea at the entrance was in full bloom when I arrived.

There are brand new facilities in this complex:

...that share the property that was once part of the Julia Morgan designed Marion Davies/William Randolph Hearst estate. When I got a glimpse of the pool, I had a hunch it was part of the original, and a tour guide later confirmed that I was correct.

These kinds of details are from days gone by.

Unfortunately the pool was still not open during my visit, so I couldn't get any better shots of the ornate tile below the water.

The landscaping is very well done; not difficult to see how this complex was awarded Gold LEED certification.

Until next time, I will leave you at the doorstep of the Marion Davies Guest House.

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K. Martinez said...

The tile in and around the swimming pool is pretty awesome! Thanks for sharing pics of it, Dave.

beachgal said...

My mom used to tell me I went to the home when Marion was still there for a charity event, but I don't remember it. I do remember the Sand & Sea in the 50s and playing tennis there lots. I also remember going with my mom to the preview days for the pending auction when they were going to sell off all the interior contents for Ocean House. My dad preferred our membership to the Deauville Beach Club just down the highway, or The Balboa Bay Club membership. I never could quite figure out why our family was so into beach clubs when we lived on The Strand in Manhattan Beach - the beach was right outside my own front door and I was keeper of the volleyball net to boot! But we sure spent a lot of time at beach clubs despite where we lived. The tennis courts at 'Marion's old house' were really swell.