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Opened: The North Beach Auditorium opened in 1901. The North Beach Bathhouse construction began in 1893 with the opening in 1894. This was actually the second bathhouse in the vicinity. The location was a bit north of the present pier.
This postcard view of the Bathhouse, Auditorium, restaurant and bowling pavilion from the site Card Cow had a postmark of 1907.
The 1901 addition of the Auditorium as part of an upgrade was described by Luther A. Ingersoll in his "Ingersoll's Century History Santa Monica Bay Cities" on p. 219:
"Among the more important achievements of the year on the North Side was the building of the long looked for Auditorium, in connection with the North Beach Bath house. The cost was about $7,000 and it gave a large room for public meetings. It was opened by an entertainment given by the newly organized Y.M.C.A and was then taken possession of by a Vaudeville troop which made a brilliant failure and soon vanished."
There seem to be lots of bathhouse photos (both inside and out) but nothing indicating where in the complex the auditorium was or what it looked like.
North Beach was the area's premier beach destination for a few years but lost steam around 1905 as Abbott Kinney and others started developing Ocean Park to the south. Eventually there was also development of the pier area at the foot of Colorado St. (south of the Bathhouse / Auditorium) with rides and other attractions.
Closing: The closing date is unknown. The Deauville Club was built on the site in the 20s.
An 1898 look at the North Beach Bathhouse from the 2006 book "Early Santa Monica" by Louise B. Gabriel and the Santa Monica Historical Society Museum. It's in the Arcadia Publishing Images of America series. The photo can be seen on the Google Books preview. It's also in the Santa Monica Library collection. "Early Santa Monica" also has another Bathhouse view.
That's the Arcadia Hotel in the distance. The Arcadia site is now Loew's Santa Monica, 1700 Ocean Blvd. (originally between Railroad & Front). The current Santa Monica Pier location is between the Bathhouse and Arcadia Hotel sites.
An 1898 Santa Monica Blue Book photo looking north toward the bathhouse that appears in "Santa Monica: A History on the Edge" by by Paula A. Scott. It's a 2004 book from Arcadia Publishing. The Arcadia Hotel can be seen in the distance. The page with the photo can be seen in the preview on Google Books.
"Going Through the Tunnel" is a great Thomas Edison Co. clip from 1898 showing trains going through the tunnel to the Long Wharf near Temescal Canyon. That tunnel is now the entry to PCH northbound from Santa Monica with the highway on the old railroad right-of-way. The bridge we're seeing in this screenshot shows pedestrians going from the Palisades down to the North Beach Bathhouse. The clip is on YouTube.
A bit farther north: a 1902 postcard of the Long Wharf from Hal Eaton on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles.
A 1900 view looking south toward the North Beach Bathhouse that once appeared on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles as a post by A Little Birdie Told Me.
Thanks to TR Remick for this 1904 photo of the North Beach Bathhouse. Over the door we see it says "Plunge." It was a post on the Facebook group Venice, Ocean Park and Santa Monica.
A postcard of the complex from the site Card Cow.
A view of the bathhouse from the Palisades. The card on the site Card Cow has a 1910 postmark.
A later version of the bathhouse in a photo from "Santa Monica Then and Now" by Jake Klein. The photo is on a page that's part of the Google Books preview of Mr. Klein's fine 2003 book.
A c.1941 card with a view looking south toward the pier from Card Cow.
A late 50s look south from North Beach toward the pier. It's from the collection of Lori Schwartz.
A 1958 view of the Deauville Club, built in the 20s on the site of the old North Beach Bathhouse and Auditorium. This building was demolished in 1964 after fire damage. The photo is from the Santa Monica Public Library. Also in the collection: looking south to the bathhouse - 1898 | looking north - early undated view | more North Beach items |
A look at the North Beach area from "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World," the 1963 MGM/Cinerama film directed by Stanley Kramer.
More Information: See Jeffrey Stanton's article "Santa Monica - North Beach" for some nice postcard views and a history of North Beach. Also see his article on the later "Santa Monica Pier."
"Hometown Santa Monica" also mentions the North Beach Auditorium. It's on Google Books.
The Santa Monica Public Library's "Imagine Santa Monica" is a comprehensive photo collection devoted to Santa Monica history that's lots of fun to search through.
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