Structure Type: built works - recreation complexes

Designers: Curlett and Beelman, Architects (firm); Heinsbergen Decorating Company, Interior Designers (firm); McGrew and Sons, Building Contractors (firm); Claud W. Beelman (architect); Alexander Edward Curlett (architect); Antoon B. Heinsbergen (interior designer/muralist); McGrew

Dates: constructed 1925-1926, demolished 1988

14 stories

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850 East Ocean Boulevard
Alamitos Beach, Long Beach, CA 90802

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Overview

This costly athletic and social club loomed above Alamitos Beach near Downtown Long Beach. It consisted of a lower, two-floor gateway building to the west of which rose a 14-story tower, both trimmed with the trappings of medieval Norman architecture. The club operated from 1926 until 1988, when a demolition company spent a month razing and clearing the stout 62-year-old complex.

Building History

Construction began on this out-sized, brown-toned Norman castle housing the Pacific Coast Club (PCC), an athletic facility and social club in 06/1925. The facility opened in 10/1926 with wide publicity, a medievaly-themed dedication ceremony complete with armored knights on horseback, heralds wearing tabards and pikemen guarding the grounds. The huge and elaborate complex and its epic dedication ceremony cost a great deal of borrowed money, and by 1928, the organizers of the PCC scrambled to service their debts. They arranged a merger with the larger and more financially-secure Los Angeles Athletic Club (LAAC), that hoped to utilize the Long Beach site as a yacht harbor.

Over the years, the PCC became the site of many society balls and as a prestigious meeting place for local businessmen seeking to consummate deals. Bachelors would rent rooms in the 14-story residential tower, and it became a favorite meeting spot for local naval officers in town for short periods.

The Los Angeles architectural firm of Curlett and Beelman designed the diverse portions of the club. According to historian Hadley Meares writing for KCET.org, visitors to the PCC at its opening were introduced to a wide array of amenties: "Guests were led on tours of the new chocolate colored building. They were impressed by what they saw: a patent leather bar, numerous guestrooms, an Olympic-sized indoor swimming pool, high oak beam ceilings, chandeliers, massive fireplaces, a beauty shop, basketball court, a barber shop, a sauna, a haberdashery, gym, a women's tea room, and a padded wrestling room. The massive library offered splendid ocean views, as did the Sunset Dining room with its three large walls of glass. There was also a private beach area for members." (See Hadley Meares, KCET.org, "Opulence Gone to Seed: The Pacific Coast Club of Long Beach," published 12/30/2015, accessed 10/02/2018.) In preparation for the opening, an inaugural bound volume was prepared for the event, printed in medieval script and featuring a medieval scene on its title page.

Aleck Curlett (1881-1942), one of the partners of the firm, was the son of the noted San Francisco architect, William Curlett (1846-1914). The younger Curlett initially traveled down to Los Angeles to open a branch of his father's firm in Southern CA, and ended up settling there. After his father's death, he organized his own firm with Claud Beelman (1884-1963), a partnership that prospered doing large-scale commercial designs, until it was killed by the Depression.

Curlett and Beelman collaborated with the local construction company McGrew and Sons to complete the project. The well-known, Art-Deco-era artist, Anthony (Antoon) B. Heinsbergen, executed murals for the interior of the Pacific Coast Club in Long Beach, CA.

PCAD id: 3028