The business side of Balboa

Jeff Delaney, in his book Newport Beach, has a section on Balboa’s business “district”:

The business street, Balboa, c. 1921

The business street, Balboa, c. 1921

To many, the Green Dragon (far left) was the hub of the town, the social, cultural, and political center of activity.  A popular destination for lunch, it was perhaps even more popular for the bootleg liquor served in its back booths.

The Balboa Pharmacy, c. 1921

A popular corner, Balboa, c. 1921

The Balboa Pharmacy opened in 1920 on the southeast corner of Central Avenue and Main Street. Lewis Addlestone was the new druggist. Within two years, he sold the business to Walter Eastlack.

Balboa Pharmacy No. 2, c. 1924

Crowds on Main Street, Balboa, c. 1924

In 1924, Eastlack opened Balboa Pharmacy No. 2 on the northwest corner of the same intersection in the newly completed Louis W. Briggs building. Since his lease on the first pharmacy ran another year, there were two pharmacies in Balboa for the 1924 season. In 1928, Eastlack sold Balboa Pharmacy No. 2 to Mickey Walker and Alfonse Hamann.

Bathhouse, Newport Beach, c. 1924

Bathhouse, Newport Beach, c. 1924

Here visitors could rent bathing suits and changing rooms during the day and come back in the evening to dance.

The Rendezvous Ballroom, c. 1928

The Rendezvous Ballroom, by the sea at Balboa, c. 1928

Built in 1928 between Washington and Palm Streets on the oceanfront, the Rendezvous quickly became Southern California’s premiere dance hall. By 1935, all the major headliners played the ballroom: Stan Kenton, the Dorsey Brothers, Harry James, Glenn Miller, and Benny Goodman. In 1966, the building succumbed to fire. Today a marker on the corner of Washington Street and Ocean Front Boulevard commemorates the site.

Gus's Sea Shell Cafe, c. 1925

Gus's Sea Shell Cafe, c. 1925

Gus and his cafe are a distant memory now, but this building still stands on the corner of Palm Street and Balboa Boulevard.

These pictures and details are entirely from Jeff Delaney’s book, Newport Beach.  Jeff Delaney’s website is located at www.NewportBeachPostcards.com.

To see more pictures and read more history on the Newport Beach area, please browse my “Local History” section!

Renee West
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Renee West

Broker Associate at Villa Real Estate
I'm a real estate broker associate in Newport Beach & Corona del Mar, CA, with Villa Real Estate.
Contact me at (714) 914 9060 or rwest@villarealestate.com for all your real estate wants and needs.
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2 Comments

  1. Thank you for uploading these photos. My maternal grandfather, Alfonse Hamann, whom you mentioned, ran his first pharmacy in Balboa. He also caught the worlds record swordfish at Balboa in 1931. I loved listening to his stories about the good ole days in Balboa before the war.

    • Thanks for letting us know a bit about your family history, Therese! It’s always interesting to find out more about the back stories of influential people in this city’s history!

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