AKA: Hotel Virginia, Waterfront, Long Beach, CA

Structure Type: built works - dwellings -public accommodations - hotels

Designers: Angier, Belle Sumner, Landscape Architect (firm); Austin and Brown, Architects (firm); Spaulding, F.L., Building Contractor (firm); Belle Sumner Angier (landscape architect); William Horace Austin Jr. (architect); W. H. Craig (architect); F. L. Spaulding (building contractor)

Dates: constructed 1906-1908, demolished 1933

6 stories

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Ocean Boulevard and Chestnut Avenue
Downtown, Long Beach, CA 90802

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The Hotel Virginia was situated on the south side of Ocean Boulevard, between Magnolia and Chestnut Avenues.


This large, opulent Mission Revival Style hotel operated on the waterfront, lodging tourists in Long Beach, CA, from 1908 until 1932. Its builders claimed that it was the largest reinforced concrete building in the world.

Building History

The Long Beach businessman Charles River Drake commissioned the construction of what was initially called the "Bixby Hotel" in the late 1900s. During the construction process, the pouring of concrete was being finished when a section of the roof collapsed, (in this case, the central portion of the H-plan), killing 10 workers and injuring 25 on the morning of 11/09/1906. "Premature removal" of shores holding up the hotel's fifth (and top) floor was blamed for the accident. The accident gained wide coverage in the press, necessitating a name change to the "Hotel Virginia." In the end, Drake and his investors spent over $1 million to complete and furnish the Hotel Virginia as it was rechristened by 11/1907.

Long Beach Press-Telegram writer Tim Grobaty, wrote of the opening: "When it opened on April 1, 1908, 700 guests were treated to a scene of pure opulence. The $1.25-million hotel (about $30 million in today’s scrawny dollars) featured a lobby decorated with massive marble pillars and a grand marble staircase. Chandeliers swayed over gilded statuary. Furniture imported from Europe was carved from rosewood, mahogany and walnut. Drake intended for the Hotel Virginia to stand with the greatest hotels in the world, and it was clearly built for the elite — or at any rate for people who could afford the $8.50 a night (including dinner) lodging fee in a year when the average American made 22 cents an hour." (See Tim Grobaty, Long Beach Press-Telegram.com, "The opulent rise and dismal fall of the Hotel Virginia in Long Beach," published 06/10/2014, accessed 11/08/2018.)

Building Notes

Guests of the hotel passed through a Middle Eastern-derived entry portal, with a domed roof and ornamented with a Moorish scalloped arch.

The hotel had its own beach and three tennis courts, and provided access to the golf course at the Virginia Country Club. The management of the Hotel Virginia also operated the Maryland Hotel in Pasadena, and a chartered Pacific Electric car would shuttle tourists from one hotel to the other.


The Hotel Virginia was razed just before 03/10/1933 Long Beach Earthquake.

PCAD id: 11145