Annenberg Community Beach House

Santa Monica, CA
United States
Annenberg Community Beach House

Landscape Information

Marion Davies estate

This five-acre beachfront property, developed by William Randolph Hearst for actress Marion Davies, included a 100-plus room mansion and several houses designed by architect Julia Morgan. In 1947, Davies sold the property to Joseph Drown, who operated it as the Oceanhouse Hotel along with the Sand & Sea Club, a limited-membership beach club, until the mansion was demolished in 1956. The State of California purchased the property in 1959, and the Sand & Sea Club continued to operate until 1989. In the 1990s, the City of Santa Monica ran the facility until the 1994 Northridge Earthquake severely damaged all structures on site. The Annenberg Community Beach House, opened in 2009, was made possible by the Annenberg Foundation at the recommendation of Wallis Annenberg and in partnership with the City of Santa Monica and California State Parks.

Designed by landscape architects Mia Lehrer + Associates, the Beach House provides access to the Pacific Ocean and a wide sandy beach featuring volleyball and tennis courts and a children’s play area. The pool deck, paved in concrete with patterned marble inlay, is defined by a white concrete colonnade and features a marble-coped swimming pool and guest house designed by Morgan in the 1920s; these were rehabilitated by architects Frederick Fisher and Partners, who also designed the entry pavilion, pool house, and restroom facilities. The site also features public art by Roy McMakin, planting beds filled with palms and native plants, and a wide boardwalk which acts as a promenade and traces the mean high tide line as it was in 1921.