Structure Type: built works - recreation areas and structures - swimming pools

Designers: Goetz, Henry X., Building Contractor (firm); Hunt, Sumner P., Architect (firm); Henry X. Goetz (building contractor); Sumner P. Hunt (architect)

Dates: constructed 1893-1894, demolished 1911

2 stories

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Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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US Senator John P. Jones financed the erection of this resort amenity, the North Beach Bath House in 1893-1894, nearby to the landmark resort, the Hotel Arcadia. It opened on 06/09/1894 and functioned until about 1910. (See "Opened Today," Los Angeles Times, 06/09/1894, p. 4.) This was the fifth bath house to open along Santa Monica's North Beach, the first opened by Michael Duffy in 1876. (See Nathan Masters,, "Swimming Pools at the Beach? When LA Took the Plunge," published 07/18/2013, accessed 12/21/2017.)

Building History

In 1874, John P. Jones (1829-1912), a 49er who struck it rich in the Comstock Lode of the 1860s and 1870s, bought a portion of Colonel Robert Symington Baker's Rancho San Vicente in West Los Angeles for $162,500, and, the following year, Baker and Jones platted the Santa Monica townsite. Despite financial reverses due to his investment in the Los Angeles and Independence Railroad that went bankrupt in 1877, Jones retained his large acreage in Santa Monica and gradually developed tourist facilities there. He partnered with Baker's wife, Dona Arcadia Bandini de Stearns de Baker, in forming the Santa Monica Land and Water Company. Arcadia Bandini bought an interest in her husband's Rancho San Vicente in 1879, and, with Jones, began " sell large tracts of land north of Montana Avenue." (See Santa Monica, "Arcadia Bandini, Santa Monica Shaper: Hometown Hero," 11/29/2010.) Jones built a sprawling Shingle Style residence for himself he called "Miramar." Jones did not use this house very often, as he spent most of his time in Washington, DC, serving as a Republican US Senator from NV from 1873 until 1903. Holding this position for 30 years enabled him to develop deep political connections across the country and in the West. The Southern Pacific Railroad and Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway began a rate war in the spring of 1886 that slashed transcontinental fares and facilitated a surge in tourism and resettlement in Southern CA. (This rate war also facilitated the infamous Southern California Real Estate Bubble that burst by 1887.) The Southern Pacific Railroad initiated construction on a mile-long wharf in Santa Monica, CA, in 07/1892, completing the dock by 05/11/1893. The construction of this transportation hub stimulated further beachside development by Senator Jones.

In 1893-1894, Jones and his North Beach Bath House Company erected the $50,000 North Beach Bath House north of the wharf and the Hotel Arcadia. This long, narrow bath house occupied a 440-foot long by 125-foot wide stretch of beachside real estate and featured several components, including two large salt water plunges, ornate parlor, 300 dressing rooms, roof-top garden/observation deck, bowling alley, ballroom, and the Pavilion Restaurant, featuring three dining spaces. The North Beach Bath House Company retained the services of architect Sumner P. Hunt (1865-1938) to design the complex. He worked with the building contractor H.X. Goetz to complete the project. (See "Santa Monica Bath House," Builder and Contractor, 03/21/1894, p.2, col. 1.)

Building Notes

In 1894, the Los Angeles Times described this new recreational amenity for Los Angelenos: "The structure is the largest and finest of its kind on this Coast, being 440 feet long by 125 feet wide. The southern end is two stories high, containing, in the basement, machinery for heating water for the bath-tubs, of which there are about fifty, also for washing and drying the bathing suits, and for other purposes. On the first floor is the main entrance leading from a broad veranda, which runs the entire length of the building. Connecting the main hall are the 300 dressing-rooms, on one side, and the reception and reading room on the other, which is supplied with literature and other conveniences. On this floor, too, is the large ballroom, 50x75 feet in dimensions. On the second floor is the restaurant, with its complete kitchen and three dining-rooms, commanding a view of the ocean. A photograph gallery are also located on this floor. On the roof is a broad and pleasant promenade, commanding an excellent view of the beach in all directions. Located at the north end of the building, and adjoining the dressing-rooms, are the plunges, 150x50 feet in size. The smaller for women and children, varies in depth from 2 1/2 to 4 feet; the larger one from 4 to 14 feet. At night they will be electrically lighted from below the surface of the water." (See "Opened Today," Los Angeles Times, 06/09/1894, p. 4.)

A writer for the booster/tourist journal Land of Sunshinewrote of the North Beach Bath House in 1898: "This was built by the Jones estate, which has large holdings of the Santa Monica country and town property. It rivaled at the time anything of the kind on the coast. Its cool verandas and its roof observatory and its warm salt water plunge, 50 x 150 feet in area, and varying from three to nine feet in depth, draw immense crowds of pleasure seekers. In front of the pavilion is an enjoyable beach and surf bathing. A feature, shared by no other Pacific Coast resort, is a 20-foot board walk which extends from the North Beach Bath House past the Arcadia Hotel and, like that of Atlantic City, for several miles along the surf." (See "Santa Monica 'The Newport of the Pacific,'" Land of Sunshine, 1898-10, n.p.)


The North Beach Bath House was torn down during 1911. A Los Angeles Times article of 01/01/1912 said: "In the same vicinity [of the razed Hotel Arcadia] the old North Beach bath-house was torn down to make room for structures of a modern type and now the property is being permanently improved." (See "The County of Los Angeles Outside the City. Queen of Counties," Los Angeles Times, 01/01/1912, part IV, p. 108.) By 09/1912, another bath house, planned by the Santa Monica Beach Company was set to occupy its site. The building contractor, H.X. Goetz was hired to design this replacement facilty. This article stated: "A bath-house will be built on the site of the old North Beach plunge by the Santa Monica Beach Company, a corporation of local men. H.X. Goetz has been commissioned to draw plans for the finest place of the sort on the southern coast, although there will be no plunge. The place will consist of 200 dressing-rooms, all outside rooms, private bath-rooms, and an immense sun parlor in the center. It will be finely furnished throughout, and will be equipped to modern style. It will cost $55,000. W.J. Staedelman is heavily interested in the company, which will start work immediately." (See "New Bath-House," Los Angeles Times, 09/07/1912, part I, p. 14.) Goetz's bath house was never built, but plans for another were announced by Staedelman in 1916. (See "North Beach Coming Back," Los Angeles Times, 02/13/1916, part II, p. 15.)

PCAD id: 21642