THE ORIGINAL MCWAIN HOME WAS BUILT IN 1900 AS A COTTAGE FOR HOTEL REDONDO

T H E M c WA I N H O M E

AN ORIGINAL H O T E L R E D O N D O C O T TA G E
Go for a stroll along the Esplanade beachside path, and you’ll come across a commanding, brown home set slightly back from the ocean with a broad, green lawn -- unique for an oceanfront home in the South Bay. The McWain Home, located in the 600 block of the Esplanade, remains as one of the original Hotel Redondo cottages.
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V I N TA G E D I G S

VIEW OF THE OLD REDONDO PIER LOOKING OUT TOWARDS THE PALOS VERDES PENSINSULA

WRITTEN BY: DEN I SE KA N O

CottagEs on thE EsplanadE
When the Hotel Redondo was constructed in 1900, several cottages were built nearby at the same time for guests as an extension of the hotel. In 1905, Henry Huntington, a prominent industrialist, purchased the Hotel Redondo and subsequently sold off the cottages. Olin McWain was an employee of Huntington’s at the time, and when the opportunity arose to purchase a cottage, McWain moved quickly, purchasing this particular cottage as well as several oceanfront properties. The cottage’s address at that time was referred to as “611 On the Esplanade” as the Esplanade was a popular spot for promenading. Hotel Redondo guests enjoyed strolling along the broad avenue in all their finery and admiring the charming cottages. During their leisurely stroll, they could peek in between the cottages, take in the magnificent ocean view, and admire the lush, surrounding gardens.

gambling years
With the departure of the Pacific Steamship Company in 1914, Redondo Beach experienced a decline in all of its business sectors, and the local shipping industry was eventually eliminated. As early as 1928, the gambling trade took hold of the area and several ships were soon anchored off the South Bay and acted as floating gambling halls. The vessels were anchored just beyond the three-mile limit and, therefore, outside the jurisdiction of the police and the tax collector. However, this did not stop the police from regular raids. The home on the north side of the McWain Home was known at this time for its huge spotlight which would act as a beacon for the ships and signal that the police were on their way. One of these spotlights is on display at the Redondo Beach Historical Museum.

a special place Huntington and Redondo
Henry Huntington was instrumental in the transformation of early Redondo when he purchased the Redondo Beach Improvement Company in 1905, the same year he bought the Hotel Redondo. Real estate speculators hoped that Huntington’s involvement in the city would mean prosperity, and they set off a week-long boom of real estate purchases. Fortunes were apparently made and lost reminiscent of the 1880’s. However, when this real estate boom turned to bust, numerous prospective sellers owned property with inflated prices. Many of the properties were built but not paid for, and when this depression came along, the speculators were wiped out. At this time, Huntington now owned about 90 percent of the area, and had also purchased the Los Angeles & Redondo Railway Company. Over the many years, the McWain home has been passed down through generations and stayed in the family. There has been some gentle refurbishing, both inside and out, but the home’s interior has been lovingly preserved and captures the era of that distinct historical time when the home was built. One can see touches of Craftsman-type details in both the interior and exterior, although the current owner fondly refers to the home’s architecture as “barnstable” due to its barn-like similarities. The current owner, fourth generation, crosses his expansive lawn twice a day and enters the Pacific for a swim. There, not far from the former site of the Hotel Redondo, he admires the stately McWain home while enjoying affectionate memories of his childhood and reliving his long, storied family history.

ESPLANADE HOUSE

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SOUTHBAYDIGS.COM | 5.04.2012

FIELDS OF BLOOMING ICEPLANT OVERLOOK THE OLD REDONDO PIER

OLIN MCWAIN ENTERTAINS GUESTS IN THE COTTAGE (AUGUST 24, 1914)

OLIN MCWAIN RESIDENCE CIRCA 1914

PRESENT DAY

OLIN MC WAIN CUTTING FIREWOOD BY HAND

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