Playa Del Rey, California
Real Estate and General Information
in between Marina Del Rey to the north, the Ballona Wetlands
to the east and LAX to the South, Playa del Rey offers beautiful
beaches overlooking the Pacific Ocean just a few miles just
about everything. With downtown Los Angeles 19 miles northeast
of here, the commute is far shorter than neighboring cities
such as Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach which makes the
area an ideal combination of small town, beach front and
a shorter drive for downtown and
here to view the current Playa Del Rey homes for sale
Housing in the
area consists of a number of condominium complexes, large single
family homes located on the bluffs with spectacular ocean and marina
views, and beautiful homes located right on the sand. The residential
community is built along streets that dead-end into a lagoon near
the ocean and run on top of towering bluffs that have sand beach
and ocean views. The beach ends at a rock jetty and channel for
boats entering the Pacific Ocean from the Marina del Rey harbor.
Playa del Rey
appears to be one of those sleepy neighborhood beaches where residents
want to keep secret and prefer fewer people knowing about their
tucked away treasure.
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The Playa del Rey area, located about two miles south of Kinney's
Venice of America resort, was once, centuries ago, the mouth of
the Los Angles River. But after the river shifted course to begin
emptying in Los Alamitos Bay in Long Beach, it left behind a sleepy
lagoon more than two miles wide and one fifth of a mile wide with
a trickle of fresh water flowing to sea along La Ballona
Del Rey Lagoon
formed the southwest corner of the 13,920 acre (15 square miles)
Rancho La Ballona that stretched inland from the ocean into what
is now Palms and Culver City and north to Pico Boulevard in Santa
Monica. It was a land grant that was awarded by the Mexican governor
in 1839 to Ygnacio and Augustin Machado and Felipe and Tomas Talamantes.
In 1874, when
the widow of Augustin Machado brought suit to evict Tell, he packed
up and moved to Santa Monica. However, in 1877 an Irishman named
Michael Duffy opened "Hunter's Cottage" in Tell's old
During the late
1880's land boom in Southern California, one visionary named Moye
L. Wicks saw the potential of Playa del Rey as a harbor. In 1886
he organized the Ballona Harbor and Improvement Company to dredge
out "Port Ballona." The company's plans included a 200
foot channel linking the ocean to the inner harbor which would be
two miles long, 300 to 600 foot wide and twenty feet deep.
After the Santa
Fe Railroad broke the Union Pacific's railroad monopoly in Southern
California by building a line north from San Diego, they were searching
for a major ocean terminal near Los Angeles for the markets of the
Orient. When the railroad agreed to extend tracks to the port, Wicks'
company began round-the-clock dredging operations. The first passenger
train, carrying 800 prominent and well- fed Angelenos, arrived at
"Port Ballona" on August 24, 1887.
In June 1902,
Sherman and Clark announced the formation of the Beach Land Company,
a syndicate of fifteen investors who had teamed up with Henry P.
Barbour. He had previously purchased 1000 acres around the lagoon
and renamed the community Playa del Rey (The King's Beach). The
company intended to develop the marshy land into a Venetian style
resort. The landscape architect, Alfred Solano, intended to take
advantage of a channel previously dredged in 1885 for a proposed
harbor. His design included Venetian bridges and towers, a bathing
pavilion along the beach, and a 250 room luxury hotel on top of
the bluffs. Some additional dredging was required but there were
no plans to build an extensive canal network.
Nearly 100 lots
were sold for prices ranging from 0 to 500 at a July 16th
auction and more were sold in August and September. With the
completion of the Sherman andClark owned Los Angeles Pacific
electric trolley line, the "Short Line," to Los
Angeles on October 19, 1902, hundreds began visiting the new
resort. A pavilion and small hotel were eventually built in
Oriental craftsman rather than Venetian style, around the
lagoon in 1904, but few investors actually built on their
lots. While Playa del Rey was considered a modest success
in attracting day tourists, it proved to be Abbot Kinney's
inspiration and served as an example of a resort that wasn't
large enough in scope to attract investors or excite the public.
built an impressive three-story, pavilion with restaurant
and dining rooms, bowling alleys and dance floor. Sherman
and Clark's Los Angeles Pacific Railway Company built the
Hotel Del Rey with fifty guests rooms. A boat racing course
was laid out and a grandstand and boathouse erected on shore.
spanned the lagoon's ocean entrance and a 1200 foot long fishing
pier was built nearby.
Playa del Rey wasn't nearly as popular as nearby Venice, it
partially owed its success to C.M. Pierce who included it
on his Balloon Line Excursion Route. Tourists could ride big
red electric streetcars from downtown Los Angeles and visit
Hollywood, the Sawtelle Old Soldier's home, Santa Monica,
Venice, Playa del Rey, Redondo Beach's Long Wharf, and return
to Los Angeles. They would often move 2000 peopleto Playa
del Rey and back on a Saturday or Sunday excursion.