When the McFadden’s built the Newport Railroad, the beach became a popular and more accessible vacation spot for those living inland. And with the increase in beach visitors, there came an increase in the number of hotels in the area. The following is from Jeff Delaney’s book Newport Beach:
The building of the railroad greatly increased the beach’s popularity among inlanders seeking relief from the summer heat. In years prior, vacationers would drive down in wagons and camp along the beach, the best spots costing $8 per month.
The Parker Block (center) housed a grocery store operated by Conrad Crookshank. Behind it is Newport’s first hotel. Mrs. May Sharps dismantled the structure at San Juan-by-the-Sea (later to be called San Juan Capistrano) in 1892 and had it hauled to Newport, where it was reassembled. In 1910, it burned down.
The Newport Hotel is visible at center, and the El Verano store is to its left. Note the train leaving the pier on the right.
When the Balboa Hotel failed to provide sufficient accommodations, pioneer realtor Everett Chase established a tent city annex on the east side of Main Street, between Balboa Boulevard and the ocean.
In 1904, George E. Hart purchased the Corona del Mar section from James Irvine. The following year, work began on the 30-room Hotel del Mar, which opened its doors on July 20, 1907. The building had closets, toilets, a bathroom on each floor, gas lighting, fireplaces, and a ladies’ parlor. Verandas circled the hotel on three sides, allowing views of the ocean, bay, and hills for diners eating on the screened porches.
In a last minute effort to accommodate visitors arriving on the Pacific Electric, the 15-room Balboa Hotel, on the far right, was built in 10 days.
To read more history on Newport Beach and the surrounding area, please browse the section in my blog entitled “Local History.”
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