NEWPORT BEACH一 The Balboa Pavilion was built in 1905 and quickly became the focal point of the Balboa Peninsula. The Newport Bay Investment Company received permission to construct the pavilion from the War Department on Sept. 20, 1905; originally, the building was to be used as a Victorian bathhouse and terminal for the Pacific Electric Red Car line connecting Balboa Island to Los Angeles. In 1906 the pavilion was joined by the Balboa Pier, making it a visitor destination and prime real estate for developers in the area. The original building had an 8,000-square-foot meeting room on the second floor, and the first floor was just a bathhouse where people could change into their swimsuits. In 1923 the building was converted into a dance hall, joining with premier dance hall Rendezvous Ballroom in the 20s and hosting popular big bands like Benny Goodman and Nat King Cole throughout the 30s and 40s. The pavilion served as a hub of activity, hosting two 35-foot speed boats, the Queen and Miss California, which became thrilling attractions for visitors, sportfishing excursions, and a 45-foot boat called the Magic Isle, which took visitors out on sight-seeing trips. The pavilion became the home of activities throughout the decades and became a designated California Point of Historical Interest in 1981. The pavilion still stands a focal point of Newport’s waterfront with several opportunities for whale watching, sportfishing, boat rentals, and the iconic Harborside Restaurant.
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