A look back to Balboa Island in the 1930s, from Jeff Delaney’s book Newport Beach:
The Balboa Inn, constructed just west of the Balboa pier in 1929, was the finest hotel on the Orange County coast and the favored spot of movie stars and dignitaries. Over the years, the inn has been remodeled and modernized, but its graceful Spanish architecture remains virtually unchanged to this day.
Here is a glimpse of the ballroom (right), built in 1928 by developers Harry “Pop” Tudor and Ray Burlingame as a competing dance hall to the pavilion. The construction cost was $200,000. Visitors, like the young ladies pictured here, filled the beach by day and the ballroom’s dance floor at night.
This c. 1938 postcard promotes Newport Beach as “a delightful recreational community with boating, bathing, fishing, and all seaside activities throughout the year, a mecca of vacationists.”
A Venetian gondolier named John Scarpa is credited with creating Balboa’s first lighted boat parade–the Illuminated Light Parade, first held on August 23, 1908. It later took on other names such as the Tournament of Lights, Pageant of Lights, and Festival of Lights. Originally held during the summer, it is now a fixture of the Christmas season.
“With a landlocked bay and miles of clean, sandy beach, with a climate unsurpassed 12 months of the year in all America, Newport-Balboa is a playground supreme.”
According to this postcard, “Newport-Balboa is the Southwest’s great port of pleasure.”
This card presents a sampling of Newport’s attractions, enjoyed by both residents and visitors.
All information and photos are from Jeff Delaney’s book Newport Beach. Check out more on our local area’s history by browsing my Local History category.