Thursday, June 13, 2013

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 95

Bath House, Santa Monica, California, 1903

A little space was left at the right side of this card for the message and Harry Larson, who mailed the card to I.C. Lee, carefully wrote only in the open spaces so that the picture would be unmarred.  The message on the reverse of the card says, “This side is exclusively for the address.”  M. Rieder, of Los Angeles, California, published postcards from 1901 to 1915 and had the postcards printed in Germany.  He made a number of cards featuring western states and several of the Los Angeles area.  Later he sold some of his photographs to E. H. Mitchell who published additional postcards. This is one of the bathhouses along the beach in Santa Monica, California.  

Santa Monica was founded in 1875.  It is only 14 miles away from Los Angeles and it was hoped that the railroad would make the town the closest port to the larger city.  Due to several unexpected economic setbacks this did not happen.  However, Santa Monica is close to the beach and tourists and campers began going there.  Real estate values increased and people began moving to the area.  In 1887 a 125 room hotel opened becoming the finest seaside hotel in California.  By 1895 North Beach had a bathhouse, restaurant and bowling alley.  In 1896 the trolley line was extended to connect to Los Angeles.  During the summers carnival rides and booths were available on the beach.  These included things like merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels, and a shooting gallery.

Today’s postcard was mailed less than ten years after the bathhouse was built and must have been near to the time of its most popular period.   By 1905 the beach had begun to lose popularity due in part to the newer facility at Venice of America. 

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