Early swimmers in Newport

Jeff Delaney has several pictures and details devoted to swimming postcards and pictures in his book, Newport Beach. Here’s just a few:

Bathing Beauties

Bathing Beauties on Main Street, c. 1924

Bathing beauty contests were part of day-long festivities arranged by the chamber of commerce and Madame LaRue Osgood to attract visitors to Balboa. Madame Osgood had to import girls for the annual beauty contest because local girls “would never be seen in those costumes.”

The bathing beauties became one of Balboa’s most popular attractions, bringing as many as 25,000 visitors to the village.

Bathhouse, Newport Beach

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.

Balboa Beach

Enjoying a Day on the Beach, Balboa, c. 1920

In its early days, Newport could not afford to maintain a corps of paid lifeguards.

Balboa Beach

Along the Beach, Balboa, c. 1920

Novice bathers could take advantage of a safety line, a rope leading into the water from the beach.

Balboa Beach

Balboa, the Best of All Beaches, c. 1921

Finally, in 1920, three men were employed as lifeguards–but only on Sundays during the summer season and on special holidays.

Balboa Beach

Crowds on the Beach, Balboa, c. 1926

On May 18, 1923, ordinance No. 278 passed, creating a lifeguard service.  A lookout tower was constructed in front of the Balboa Ocean Front Bathhouse, and for two years, a small emergency hospital room was maintained in that building.

Balboa Beach

Everybody's Here, Balboa, c. 1928

Beginning in 1924, an ever-increasing number of men were employed to protect local bathers.

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.
Renee West
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