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Then and Now

March 05, 1989|EVELYN De WOLFE | Times Staff Writer

The 600 residents of Redondo Beach witnessed a big change in their small seaside community following the opening of the Redondo Beach Hotel in 1890.

Designed to rival the grandeur of the Del Monte hotel to the north and Del Coronado to the south, the giant, turreted wooden structure boasted a different decor for each of its 225 rooms and offered such amenities as tennis courts and 18-hole golf course.

Guests arrived by steamships that moored at the nearby port (the present-day King Harbor marina), and from six terminals of the Santa Fe and Redondo railways. Attractions included a fishing wharf, pebble beach and the largest saltwater

plunge in the world.

Henry Huntington bought the property in 1905 as part of his Redondo Improvement Co. land acquisition and sold it five years later, perhaps anticipating that Redondo Beach would lose its bid to San Pedro as a major commercial port for Los Angeles. By 1915, the hotel's occupancy had declined dramatically and its fate was sealed with the advent of Prohibition.

The structure was demolished and sold for scrap in 1925 and the site was purchased for a park by the city of Redondo Beach. Later it was reduced to a much smaller recreation area and renamed Veterans' Park. The community's main library, built there in 1930, still stands on the old hotel site, and Catalina Avenue now occupies a broad stretch of the former 18-hole golf course.

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