Thought you would
like a picture of
The Hotel Sea Beach
That was. no one
seems to know how
it got on fire
Miss Genevieve Carey.
Is there any literature that talks about this hotel? I grew up in Santa Cruz and never heard about it. Please reply.
I just found a post card of the same hotel, different view, post marked August 30 1909
By 1912 this building was no longer a hotel. Originally belonging to a Dr. Kittredge and located at 3rd and Front Streets, at his death in 1879 it was converted into a hotel. In 1887 the property was purchased by a New York financier named James Phillip Smith and renamed “Sunshine Villa” (and not the Golden Gate Villa as said in the blog given above.) Smith and his wife Susie née Crooks added to the original construction and brought in the finest materials and decorations. Crooks’ first husband, from whom she divorced, was a co-founder of the city of Gonzales in Monterey County. She was renowned for her beauty, warmth, and poise. Anyone of importance who visited Santa Cruz between 1890-1900 was almost certainly entertained most lavishly at Sunshine Villa. J.P. Smith went on to finance and finally own the first “electric train” service in Santa Cruz, the Pacific Avenue Street Railway, and the whole community was extremely beholden to him for his efforts. In 1895 and again in 1896 the Venetian Water Carnival was conceived and brought to fruition at Sunshine Villa thanks in no small part once again to the deep pockets of Mr. Smith. The San Lorenzo was dammed and gondolas (made locally) navigated on the still waters of the newly created lagoon. The Venetian Carnival was remembered fondly for a generation and Sunshine Villa was a focus of it. Susie Crooks’ daughter Anita Gonzales was the Queen of the 1895 carnival edition. About 1900 the Smiths left the area to settle in France. Both died in 1921, and shortly thereafter the property in Santa Cruz was sold. The building in its original recognizable form has certainly been preserved.
This building is the Sea Beach Hotel which was located at 1st (now Beach Street) and Main St. It burned to the ground in 1912 and was not rebuilt. However, you can still see the rock retaining wall in the photo running up the west side of Main St. It is not the same structure as the Sunshine Villa located at 3rd and Front, which overlooks the downtown and still stands today.