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Images of Auto Travelers on the Pacific Coast Highway at Castle Rock

Summer time vacation travel plans for many of us here in the US often includes a trip to the eastern, southeastern or western sea coasts to see the sights and enjoy some rest and relaxation. In California, the location of today’s feature photos, a trip along the 655-mile long Pacific Coast Highway, designated State Route 1 has long been a popular road trip.

  • The lead image is a late-1920s view to the north on a colorized postcard and shows: Castle Rock, the Highway, the beach, and mansions – The photo above is an earlier circa-1920 view looking south.

Today we visit a long gone attraction, Castle Rock, which was located on the Roosevelt Highway (the earlier name for the road) which unfortunately was destroyed after being blasted with 350-pounds of dynamite in 1945 during construction on the Highway. The attraction was in Pacific Palisades, located just north of Santa Monica, and Los Angeles in Southern California.

The late-1920s image below taken at low tide shows the effects of “progress” to the parking area which was moved away from the Thoroughfare and resulted in the beach being narrowed. Learn more about and view other images of “Lost Landmarks” in the area here.

Tell us what you find of interest in the images courtesy of the USC Libraries.

  • Late-1920s image showing further changes and more visitors and cars to the area.

9 responses to “Images of Auto Travelers on the Pacific Coast Highway at Castle Rock

  1. First Pic: Upper right center is the Getty Mansion (still there). The (first) Getty Museum sits directly behind it to the east and is absolutely worth a visit.
    Directly to the right is a former casino/hotel that was owned at one time by a ‘B’ list actress, name escapes me. Known to hang out with some unsavory characters, she was found bullet riddled in the trunk of her ’40 Chevy convertible .
    Cause of death: ‘suicide'(?).
    PCH is still a great ride today: Well, San Diego to Big Sur anyway.

  2. If driving the PCH isn’t on your “Bucket List” please add it. Be sure to visit the Hearst Mansion. Looking forward to the photos of the cars on the Pebble Beach Tour this year along the highway. Bob

    • Well, PCH was my playground for many years, mainly on two-wheelers, first when i lived in LA and second when I was stationed in Monterey. However, before any of you get excited and plan to visit the area for that wonderful drive, be aware that the road is closed in several places above San Louis Obisbo and below Monterey due to some major mudslides and a washed out bridge. Visit the Caltrans site for up to date info.

    • If planning a visit to Hearst Castle, make reservations! We drove the 5 hours on the PC Hwy to only reach the Hearst center and be told all tours were booked up for the day.

  3. Intrigued by Ron’s tale of a murdered actress above, I did some digging myself. The nearest I can find out is the story of Thelma Todd who was found dead in her Lincoln in the garage under the restaurant in 1935. The ‘suicide’ apparently caused by carbon monoxide poisoning. The suicide verdict however did not explain the broken nose and ribs and other bruises. Todd was co-owner of ‘Thelma Todd’s Sidewalk Cafe’ with actress Jewel Carmen and her husband Richard West. The restaurant was a popular hang-out for the Hollywood set. There was a suggestion that Todd had got to know Lucky Luciano who also supplied her with drugs, and he wanted to use the top floor of the premises to run a casino, which she objected to, so he had her knocked off. There are many version of this story if you do a search on the ‘net.

  4. Contrary to popular legend, the mansion is not the Getty Mansion. I believe the L. A. Times or other media may have recently told the history of the house.

  5. Hmm, thanx for that Chris. It looks like you found the historically ‘good stuff’.
    It’s too bad that the ‘early retirement plan’ is still in effect/affect in (so many)
    parts of LA these days. After 20 yrs there, I don’t miss it a bit.

  6. There is another “Big Rock” protruding — at The last beach camp ground — before one reaches Camarillo, California (North-bound on the “PCH” Pacific Coast Highway: I’m sure that it has an Official name —but the pavement in that area was still the same cement 2- lane road as pictured in your photograph —when I first camped there in 1957: At night there was the pleasant sound of crashing waves. Also, there was the sound of Night-time travelers — Tires — going over the cement pour-joints in the tired, old, concrete road : Ba- Bip!, — Ba Bip!,(etcetera!) So: We named it: “Bippity – Bip Beach” – for night – time tire sounds! Perhaps it’s still there — because: it is way North — of Malibu ‘s 4 Lane Highway Section, where there is more local traffic . Edwin W.

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