Category: Lodging, hotel, motel

Manhattan Beach hotel and restaurant


Circa 1939 postcard.


Motor courts


Travelers could find places to stay in this brochure. This one was given from a motel that was on Route 66 in San Bernardino. The cover art shows a streamline moderne hotel that was most likely an artist’s conception and not an actual building.

Murray’s Dude Ranch


Image: Lela Murray (foreground), Joe Louis (center) and the Louis entourage in 1939 from .

“Murray’s Ranch, a guest ranch in Apple Valley, California, was unique in that it was owned by and catered primarily to African Americans, and because it served as the set for a number of ‘all-black cast’ western films. The 40-acre ranch on the edge of the Mojave Desert was purchased by Nolie B. and Lela Murray in 1922 for $100…

“By the late 1930s a number of films were shot on location at Murray’s Dude Ranch including…The Bronze Buckaroo (1939), and Harlem Rides the Range (1939).  Aside from Joe Louis, who returned to the ranch on several occasions, and Herb Jeffries, who made films there, other celebrity guests included Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Hattie McDaniel, Nina Mae McKinney, and Lena Horne.”

Excerpts from . Click on the link to learn more.

“In March of 1939, there was an article in the local paper stating that Joe Louis had shipped his custom-built Cadillac to the ranch. Then came the announcement that Louis and his entourage, which included his trainer, dietitian, secretary and bodyguard, planned to take over the ranch for a period of two weeks to train for an upcoming bout with Jack Roper.”

Excerpt from .

Long Beach hotel


1939 view.

“The Villa Riviera Hotel, 800 East Ocean Boulevard, constructed in 1929, was second in height at that time only to Los Angeles City Hall. Its architect, Richard D. King, won a grand prize at an international contest for his design of the sixteen-story building. The cost of construction was over two million dollars. At one time, Joseph M. Schenck of Twentieth Century-Fox and Norma Talmadge, then his wife, owned the hotel. It survived the Long Beach earthquake with only plaster cracks which were easily repaired and is a Long Beach landmark.”

Excerpt and Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection image from .

“The Greatest ‘I Told You So’ in U.S. History”

In 1939, Admiral James Richardson was stationed in Long Beach as Commander, Battle Force (ComBatFor), U.S. Fleet, with the temporary rank of admiral.1 In 1939, the Battle Force had 5 carriers, 12 battleships, 14 light cruisers, and 68 destroyers.2 He and his wife lived at the Villa Riviera.


Image: cover and excerpts from .

Admiral Richardson had long advised naval policies that would have better prepared the United States Navy in the Pacific for the onset of what became World War II. He was overruled. Learn more about it in “The Greatest ‘I Told You So’ in U.S. History” chapter at the book link above.

1 via Stephen Svonavec, The United States Fleet, July 1, 1923: Battle Fleet, accessed June 2012

2 via wikipedia (above): Morison, Samuel Eliot (1948). Volume III, The Rising Sun in the Pacific. Boston and Toronto: Little, Brown and Company.

Ambassador Hotel


Image: 1939 postcard.

“Designed by Pasadena architect Myron Hunt, the Ambassador Hotel’s Coconut Grove restaurant and nightclub was frequented by Hollywood personalities and luminaries of the world, with some taking up residence…

The 1930s saw the Ambassador Hotel’s Cocoanut Grove as a splashy playground for such film legends as Norma Shearer, Errol Flynn, Jean Harlow, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Cary Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Marlene Dietrich, Catherine Toberman, Lana Turner, Gary Cooper, Loretta Young, and countless others.

Excerpts from . Click on the link to see many 1930s photos.