Category: Lodging, hotel, motel

Arrowhead Springs Hotel

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After destruction by fire in 1938, an all-new hotel designed by Paul Revere Williams opened on December 16, 1939. The star-studded opening was broadcast over CBS radio.

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Images: uncited newspaper articles via https://www.sakoguchi.info/arrowhead-springs-hotelnew-gallery/ .

“Overlooking the San Bernardino Valley, the location was ideal for a resort. It sat atop natural hot springs, whose waters, at a scalding 202 degrees Fahrenheit, were much hotter than those at Europe’s most famous spas, one reporter dutifully noted. To partake of them, guests had only to press the down button when they stepped into the elevator. The curative powers of the springs had long been advertised, and the hotel that opened that December was actually the fourth on the site. Its predecessor, a massive Victorian pile, had burned down just the year before. That was the point at which an enterprising tycoon, Jay Paley, the uncle of CBS president William Paley, jumped in and recruited some of the movies’ biggest names to invest in what he hoped would be the industry’s most glamorous getaway.

“For the overall design, Paley hired Gordon B. Kaufman and Paul R. Williams. An African American who had done something unheard of in those days—he had erased the color barrier—Williams was one of Hollywood’s favorite architects and the designer of Paley’s own house in Los Angeles. He and Kaufman produced a U-shaped structure with six floors, 150 rooms and suites, a 300-seat theater and three dining areas. “Georgian modern,” it was called, but it also showed the influence of Art Déco. For the interior, Paley went all the way to New York and to a woman who knew very little about life in California but just about everything there was to know about interior design—Dorothy Draper. “First chop in the decorating business,” was how she was irreverently characterized in Westways magazine.”

Excerpt from Architectural Digest magazine: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/hotels-arrowhead-112008 . Click on the link for more information.

Learn about the architect at http://www.paulrwilliamsproject.org/about/paul-revere-williams-architect/ .

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For a complete history, read Arrowhead Springs, California’s Ideal Resort by Mark Landis. http://landispublications.com/Publications_pg1.html .

 

•  •  •

Today marks one year of daily posts about southern California in 1939. In the future, posts will be less frequent.

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Motor courts

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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

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Image: Lela Murray (foreground), Joe Louis (center) and the Louis entourage in 1939 from http://mojavehistory.com/murray7.html .

“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 http://www.blackpast.org/aaw/murray-s-dude-ranch-apple-valley-california-1922-1960 . 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 http://mojavehistory.com/murray7.html .

Long Beach hotel

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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 https://calisphere.org/item/6f840ec0f8d412c142732a07499d9bc2/ .

“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.

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Image: cover and excerpts from https://books.google.com/books?id=kBJPpHrOeooC&pg=PA120&lpg=PA120&dq=%22villa+riviera%22+1939&source=bl&ots=eUk0CcSC_3&sig=3wvDArJEQp-Cb2T_EwkGuGFo3Vw&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwid662m_crWAhUX8WMKHTa2D5MQ6AEIZjAP#v=onepage&q=%22villa%20riviera%22%201939&f=false .

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 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_O._Richardson#World_War_I_and_interwar_years: 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.