Today was the grand opening of the Annenberg Community Beach House in Santa Monica, and it was a perfect day for it. This five-acre public beach facility was created on the property that formerly belonged to actress Marion Davies.
The actress's magnificent mansion was demolished in the 1950's, but the historic guest house, designed by architect Julia Morgan, survived and has been restored to its former glory.
Also restored is the estate's swimming pool, including the decorative tile border that appeared in my "Sneak Preview" post earlier this week.
The new pool house's columns echo the columns of the magnificent 118-room main house that once stood here. You can see photos and read about the original mansion if you click Here, Here, and Here.
The new facility is now open to the public. It includes gardens, play areas, beach volleyball courts, public art, a beachside cafe and event spaces available for rental. Classes and activities will be held in the event rooms, too. Docent-led tours of the historic guest house will be scheduled throughout the season, and the guest house rooms will be available to rent for special events and receptions.
Today the dedication celebration included a "First Splash" performance in the pool by dancers from Cirque de Soleil's "O," synchronized swimming, and dancers who floated on the water in giant bubbles.
Poetry readings and ballroom dancing took place in the event rooms, and the guest house was open for touring.
The entrance from the beach path was marked by a giant sandcastle.
Children enjoyed playing in the splash pad.
Strange and wonderful creatures walked through the crowd on stilts.
The weather was beautiful, and so many people came out to enjoy it. Here's wishing the city of Santa Monica great success with this great new facility.
For an earlier preview of the historic guest house, click Here.