Here's What the Miramar Hotel Looked Like 70 Years Ago

Parts of the hotel were designated city landmarks this week because of their "historic integrity." See what the hotel looked like when it was first built and how it has changed.

In the 1800s, Ocean Avenue, lined with eucalyptus trees and facing Linda Vista Park, which would later become Palisades Park, was home to wealthy and prominent citizens. Among them, was John P. Jones, whose home occupied the site of today's Fairmont-Miramar Hotel, according a report prepared in December for the city's planning department.

The 4.5-acre parcel, the only undivided square block of land remaining in Santa Monica, according to the Santa Monica Daily Press, was first used as an "apartment hotel" in 1924 when Los Angeles millionaire Gilbert Stevenson built the Palisades Wing. The L-shaped, brick clad building was landmarked by the city this week because of its historic integrity.

See: Fairmont-Miramar Hotel Awarded Partial Landmark Status

The photos above show the hotel throughout the years, including the bungalows that were added in 1938 on the periphery of the landscape along California and Ocean avenues, and the Ocean Tower, which opened 20 years later under the ownership of another hotelier, Joseph Massaglia.

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Dan Charney January 17, 2013 at 11:39 PM
Very cool Jenna- thanks for posting these great old pics- I shudder to see how different and not better the area is now and even more so, dread what is to come
Brenda Barnes January 18, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Really interesting. A few facts jumped out--even though this may be the only undivided square block in SM, the Village Trailer Park land is 3.85 acres, almost as much, and is only maybe 1/10 of an undivided block. This is because blocks are so much bigger in some parts of the City from those on the oceanfront and in downtown. Second, what a disgrace that the fully integral, completely unchanged parts of VTP were not landmarked by this same commission. Shows what people in town really matter, certainly not the ones in Pico Neighborhood compared to north of Wilshire and west of Lincoln. The Landmark Commission refused to landmark the unchanged parts of VTP even when the City's own consultant, an acknowledged mid-Century expert, Peter Moruzzi, said without the rest of the property those parts would evoke a full feeling of a segment of life in mid-Century, and they should be landmarked for an additional reason, when only one is necessary under the law applying to the LC. Those parts of VTP are first an absolutely amazing community building--in the first passive solar style I've seen in SM, very similar to Lloyd Wright's work from the same decade at the Joshua Tree Retreat Center. The latter is an amazing property that still functions for one of the nicest nights you could ever spend in a motel-type place with meditation and--again, a huge community room--as well as an awesome sanctuary and many other buildings.
Brenda Barnes January 18, 2013 at 10:47 PM
I believe discovery in future lawsuits, if they are necessary, will show one of the later famous architects in the 1950 era USC School of Architecture famous for designing amazing low-income and middle class housing in the postwar period designed the building here at VTP. That will explain why the City "could not locate" the original 1951 building permit for this building, although they produce entire files of 1909 properties. It also will explain why the City refused to accept three residents' appeal of the LC decision without a $400 filing fee, even though we turned in court fee waiver forms and individuals--not as public officials--on the LC or the City Council can file appeals without paying a filing fee.


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