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Hearst to Hockney: A Brief History of the California Swimming Pool

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Blog Federico de California has traced the ascendancy of the iconic California swimming pool, from swank Hollywood beginnings, up to San Simeon, out to Vegas, and even to the City of Commerce. One of the most famous pools was the one at the Garden of Allah on Sunset Boulevard, the estate of Russian actress Alla Nazimova, who had the pool built in the shape of the Black Sea. There's no date on when it was built, but according to one website, Prohibition-era visitors tried (and ultimately failed) to fill the 65 foot by 45 foot pool with empty liquor bottles. In the grand SoCal circle of life, the house was converted into a bungalow hotel complex and eventually torn down to become the strip mall at Crescent Heights (according to LAist, it's rumored that Joni Mitchell wrote "Big Yellow Taxi" about the Garden). Then of course there's William Randolph Hearst, with his two pools at San Simeon (construction started in 1919, around the same time Nazimova moved into the Garden), and the beach house he had built for his mistress Marion Davies on the Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica (begun in 1926), part of an estate we now know as the Annenberg Community Beach House. In 1941 El Rancho Vegas became the first hotel on the Vegas strip and "arguably the first Vegas Hotel with a Pool." Then came Esther Williams; Mid-Century modern; mass market pool companies; Joe Gillis floating face down in Norma Desmond's pool; and eventually, David Hockney's pool portraits. And now swimming pools are everywhere and the Soho House doesn't even have to have one.
· Birth of the Iconic California Swimming Pool ~ 1927 [Federico de California]

Annenberg Community Beach House

415 Pacific Coast Highway, , CA 90402 Visit Website