June 17, 2024


sights and trips

Gardens of the Sea Beach

The brow of Seaside Hill, facing out on the ocean, was sluggish to acquire. It experienced a pair of cottages in backyard garden options, that grew into the Seaside Residence resort by the stop of the Civil War, and the Liddell House, with its Very long Department Bathtub Residence at the foot of the hill on Beach Road.

The castle-like Sea Beach Hotel on Beach Hill, had world-renowned gardens, featuring 40 varieties of pelargoniums. (Contributed)
The castle-like Sea Seashore Lodge on Beach front Hill, had entire world-renowned gardens, featuring 40 varieties of pelargoniums. (Contributed)

Their modest a person-story lodging served a restricted variety of vacationers. But T.V. Johnson felt this was a outstanding setting for a initial class hotel, so he acquired a significant house bounded by Seashore, Main, Next, and Drift Way. He then employed S.A. Corridor as architect, a former ship-builder regarded for constructing the Soquel Congregational Church, who now erected a two-story hotel.

Named the “Ocean Perspective Home,” it sat at the head of today’s Initial Road, on the lookout out about a substantial hillside garden, with an unobstructed look at of the waterfront. Still it’s front door on Principal Road was around the entrance to the Powderworks Wharf, which served the Pacific Coastline Steamship Company passenger ships. This gave the Ocean Check out Home the very first prospect at steamship travellers looking for a place to keep. Still the wharf entrance was flanked with a brick gunpowder warehouse on a single facet, and a wooden Steamship Co. warehouse on the other. It was a workingman’s waterfront, with views of the Limeworks Wharf off Bay and West Cliff, and the Railroad Wharf, about in which today’s Municipal Pier is located.

Douglas Household

Both owing to the significant price tag or its wharf-side place, the resort was a revenue-loser. Chicago artist A.H. Douglas was in town in 1882 on the lookout for subjects to paint. He cherished the waterfront, and when he discovered the Ocean Look at Household was for sale, and the Powderworks Wharf was remaining demolished, he bought the hotel, and the two wharf warehouses. When dismantled, the warehouses gave him a huge quantity of bricks, and 50,000 toes of lumber, with which he added a 3rd floor and chimneys to the hotel, and a wrap-all over veranda going through the ocean and Primary Street. He renamed the establishment “The Douglas Property,” and filled the rooms with a selection of oil paintings. Then in 1884, he opened an artwork studio in San Francisco, discovering no time to operate his Santa Cruz lodge.

In 1886, Douglas marketed his resort to David K. Abeel, who had launched the “Kansas City Journal” in March 1862, 5 months just after Missouri joined the Confederacy. For the duration of the Civil War, Missouri was sharply divided on the difficulty of slavery and secession, a state claimed by the two North and South, with 110,000 Missourians serving in the Union Military. In the 20 years following the war, Abeel built a fortune with his newspaper. Abeel renamed the Douglas Property as the “Sea Seaside Hotel,” right after a substantial railroad hotel on Coney Island. Abeel experienced his resort transformed in Queen Anne Model, adding a fourth floor and a corner tower.

John T. Sullivan

Abeel positioned the Sea Seaside Hotel in the cost of a short while ago arrived New Yorker, John T. Sullivan, a close friend of abolitionist Horace Greeley, and a Union veteran who’d been captured two times through the Civil War. Sullivan experienced effectively managed the Bay Condition Cottages on Seashore Hill the year ahead of. As a skilled botanist, Sullivan took the prospect to landscape the Sea Seashore Hotel grounds in an astonishing array of bouquets, together with his have hybrid versions. He utilized California poppies, nasturtiums, calendulas, marigold, geranium, verbenas, marguerites, alyssum, petunias, oxalis, roses, freesias, hyacinths, flour-de-lies, Canterbury bells, tobacco plant, neglect-me-nots, heliotrope, and Roman anemones. He also experienced his individual seedlings of pelargoniums, one chrysanthemums, carnations and pansies. The grounds also involved garden area for tennis and croquet. Meanwhile, Abeel designed his Victorian mansion at 110-112 Pine Area in 1887 on the slope of Rincon Terrace overlooking the Downtown Basin.

For a hotel with a spotty report of accomplishment, Abeel and Sullivan remodeled the Sea Beach front into an attraction so crowded, overflow visitors have been booked into nearby cottages during Seashore Hill.  In 1889, Abeel employed architect George W. Website page of San Jose, to style a massive new wing in a rambling Queen Anne type. Lumber had presently been delivered to the web page by mid-August. In February, Sullivan attained a 5-calendar year-lease on the resort with Abeel at $4,000 a yr, then Sullivan took his spouse Sadie on a tour of the most current lodges in Southern California. He was most amazed with the Del Coronado in San Diego, for its splendor and impressive flexibility, from which he sought to discover.

Grand opening

In June 1890, the Sea Seaside opened to wonderful acclaim. The façade was painted beige with redwood-coloured trim and shingles. Elevators carried friends to their rooms, each having a bed room, parlor, bathroom, fire, electric lights and phone. The foyer experienced its individual phone trade, a telegraph office environment, and a pigeon postal services to a San Francisco hotel.

The community spaces were being ornamented with frescos, and a forest of potted palms and ferns. The dining place, and its cozy annex was towards the back of the key wing, and the distant kitchen in the older constructing solved the issue of food items delivery with a miniature evening meal plate railroad. Chef Charles W. Smith came from Lodge Del Monte and Chicago’s Palmer Home, and for exclusive occasions served 9-class dinners. Just one such was on July 26, 1897, when the Santa Cruz Beach Combers baseball workforce won from San Francisco, and celebrated in higher fashion. Star athlete William “Brick” Deveraux was manufactured the team spokesman, collected about a very long banquet table, headed by California’s Lt. Gov. William T. Jeter, with author C.W. Doyle cracking jokes.

The ballroom was just downstairs, a large area outlined in electric powered lights. One particular conclude experienced a stage, and the other a wall of windows seeking out on the bay and bathhouses. Dance was taught through the working day, and each individual summer time night George W. Parkman’s orchestra performed, like his have composition “The Sea Seaside March.” The ballroom also hosted conventions, exhibits, displays, and significant college dances. And while there had been lots of renowned visitors, the 1 people have been most thrilled about was in 1891, when U.S. President Benjamin Harrison stopped in front of the resort for a speech and a photograph.

World’s Truthful

In 1892, Sullivan went to Chicago to tour the Columbian World’s Fair grounds whilst they were being under development. Not only did he meet up with his previous good friend John Thorp, now chief of the fair’s floral office, Thorp was functioning for former Santa Cruzan Rudolph Ulrich, the fair’s Superintendent of Landscape Style. Two months later on, Thorp visited Sullivan at the Sea Beach in March, to buy California-developed bouquets for the world’s fair, and was amazed at the hundreds of hybrids Sullivan had created. Yonkers nurseryman Timothy Ryan was also remaining at the Sea Seaside, and was furthermore amazed at the types of pelargoniums Sullivan experienced formulated. Ryan brought a seed distributer from J.R. Thorburn & Co., to catalog 40 of the varieties, which would be marketed at the World’s Honest as “Sullivan’s Santa Cruz Selection of Pelargoniums.” They ended up offered names like “Columbus,” “Sea Seaside Natural beauty,” “Pride of Santa Cruz,” “Loma Prieta,” “Mrs. H.R. Judah,” and “Mrs. J.T. Sullivan.”

In 1898, Sullivan experienced to give up the resort due to a major ailment.  Lousy administration pursuing his departure nearly led to the close of the hotel in 1901. Sullivan and Abeel experienced a slipping-out above this decrease, until Fred Swanton arrived to the rescue, finding Abeel to concur to provide it to St. George Resort proprietor J.J.C. Leonard. This alternative happy each Abeel and Sullivan. Leonard employed architect Edward Van Cleeck to develop a connecting wing in the identical style, bringing the guest room rely to 178. The aged ballroom became a banquet hall, and a new ballroom was developed on 2nd Street. Leonard hired former Del Coronado supervisor Mr. K.D. Van Zandt as manager, and the hotel’s popularity elevated, as boardwalk points of interest were crafted nearby. Leonard found running two substantial motels authorized him to book any measurement conventions.


In 1911, the Casa Del Rey Lodge was created close by, and at final the waterfront experienced sufficient resort rooms for their ordinary influx of summer time visitors. In 1912, the Sea Beach front was offered a $2,000 enhance, all completely ready to open up for the time. The new supervisor experienced just arrived, named Carl Sword, who’d worked at the Palace Lodge at the time of the 1906 catastrophe. On the morning of June 12, the gardener Fritz Heinze was awakened at 3:25 a.m. by fishermen leaving the wharf. Heinze smelled smoke, and went outside to see the place it was coming from, and observed the resort roof on hearth. He quickly elevated an alarm, evacuating the construction as hundreds collected on the beach front to watch.

The heat from the blaze was so intense, it could be felt by spectators two blocks away. In the four-hour inferno, firemen managed only to help you save the ballroom. Several mourned the decline of their exquisite and renowned resort. But the saddest sight was Heinze wandering around his destroyed gardens, bemoaning the decline of this horticultural delight.

Ross Eric Gibson is a former history columnist for the San Jose Mercury Information.