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The Arch Beach Tavern

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Arch Beach Tavern, built in 1911 and still here at the corner of Moss and Catalina in Woods Cove, Laguna Beach

 

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Arch Beach Tavern is a great story.

The Tavern’s origination was closely located withthe development of Arch Beach Heights, located at the top of a steep hill and named for Arch Beach which is now Woods Cove. It was subdivided in 1911, when there was no paved road to the top of the hill.

This made it mighty tough to sell, especially when it took a full day trip and the people came from Los Angeles and Anaheim. So the developer built and put the potential sellers up at the Ye Arch Beach Tavern.

The Tavern is well known as a favorite for the movie industry during the 20’s and 30’s where the actors and production people had fun and rest before the next day’s shots.

Another side story is that the developer counted sell the ABH lots for decades and finally in the 60s sold the lots for $50 if you bought a year subscription to the LA Times. That is why layout of ABH is how it is.

 

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Another Story on the Tavern

Allegedly Haunted: Ye Arch Beach Tavern located at 2180 Catalina, Laguna Beach, CA, 92651

Now a residential structure, the Arch Beach Tavern was originally built as a hotel in 1915. Today, the structure’s square footage is 10,228 sitting on a 12,600 sqft lot.

October 10, 2011

A Laguna Beach ghost story
By David Hansen, Special to the Los Angeles Times

Residents of the Arch Beach Tavern report seeing ghosts and hearing mystery sounds. The paranormal activity is making people jumpy.

It used to be a brothel, or so they say.

The old white building sits on the hill, like the hotel in “The Shining,” cavernous and creaky, with long dark hallways and strange apartments. It is the Arch Beach Tavern, built in 1915 to house people from the movie industry.

It is an odd place where mystery abounds. There are blank doors with no handles and light switch panels with no switches. In the lobby, an empty rocking chair sits in the corner as if waiting to move with an unseen breeze.

Put it this way: On Halloween in Laguna Beach, Oak and Brooks streets get all the attention, but no one goes trick-or-treating at this house, perhaps because it’s too scary.

“Nobody ever comes up to the building,” said Briandy Walden, a 10-year resident. “The building itself can be kind of creepy. The carpet used to be red.”

Walden tells stories about mysterious sightings on the third floor and the backyard garden and about the unexplained sounds.

“People have said they’ve heard and seen things, but I haven’t,” she said, fidgeting and glancing over her shoulder.

The Catalina Street building can make visitors jumpy.

In fact, according to postings on the Ghosts of America website, of all the ghost sightings in Laguna Beach, this building is the most storied.

“Two residents have reported seeing a little girl playing on the balcony at night behind the building on the third floor,” someone named Ryan, who did not give a last name, wrote on the website. “Another 12-year resident reported hearing digging going on in the laundry room, but the floor is concrete, and the digging sounded like a shovel into gravel and dirt.”

There have been several other mysterious reports, according to the website.

“I have lived at 2180 Catalina (bottom level) in Laguna Beach and have witnessed several different ghost sightings in the years that I’ve lived here,” Nikki wrote. “Mostly seeing an older woman with white, short perm-style hair in my kitchen and standing over my bed.

“When I first moved in I woke up to what I thought was a nightmare but clearly was not; I saw a woman in old-style courtesan clothing. She had curly long dark hair and was wearing old-fashioned lingerie. She was scratching at me and telling me to ‘get out.’ I had actual marks on my arms, so this was very real! I remember she had long red-painted nails.”

There are other locations in Laguna Beach where people claimed to have seen or heard strange things: the high school theater, Pyne Castle, TiAmo Ristorante, the Royal Hawaiian and a beach cottage called the witch’s house.

But the stories at the Arch Beach Tavern persist — not around the campfire but in the shower.

“I lived [there] for about six months back in 2002,” wrote Amanda. “I had many paranormal experiences while living there. My apartment was on the second floor and on two occasions I could feel banging underneath my feet as I was showering. I also experienced a wine glass shatter on my coffee table as a friend and I were watching a movie.

“I would also hear activity in my bathroom. I would hear the shower curtain shuffle and move around quite often. Not to mention many nights of insomnia and being creeped out. My neighbor across the hall heard activity in her apartment every night. I would love to see a paranormal investigation done there.”


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The Spring Real Estate Season has started in Woods Cove.

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The Woods Cove Real Estate Update

Sold Listings (for the last 30 days)

2016-04-12 03_45_12-Arch Beach Tavern in Woods Cove.docx - Word

2 Properties are in escrow

18 Properties are for sale

Use a local expert when selling your home in Woods Cove.

Contact me for a free, non-committal, valuation of your home.

 


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Woods Cove is indeed a historical treasure trove.

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It wasn’t George Washington but another president, Woodrow Wilson, who slept at Col. Edward House’s home at Moss Point off South Coast Hwy.

The combined Craftsman-and ‘Cape Cod-style home with the ever present American flag in front, is not easily visible from the highway and is virtually unknown to many local residents. It was built in 1917 by Col. Henry House, whose brother Edward,, also a colonel, was a confidant and adviser to President Wilson.

The placard at the entrance of this promontory calls tis structure the unofficial Western White House:

President Wilson spent time there while touring the West in 1919, seeking support for the League of Nations.

But I also heard it was where President Wilson resided when he had a major stroke, and while the country didn’t know it, his wife and the Col. actually where running the country. Who knows but he wouldn’t be the only one that was sick and didn’t let on to the public ala, Presidents Roosevelt and Kennedy.

The house has no designation as a historical site, hence it was not protected when it was threatened with demolition in 1976 to make way for high-rise buildings. The two-acre site and home were purchased by the owners of the adjoining site on the promontory and saved from being razed.

It still proudly there today and another reason Woods Cove is a special place.


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The First House at Arch Beach

Category : Post Card

Trivia: did you know that the Fairview Development Company/ Santa Ana Immigration Association had laid out a town called “Catalina-on-the-Main” just southeast of Arch Rock in 1888? They applied for and received a US Post office but it was never built, as this venture failed shortly thereafter. Also in the early 1900s, what is now the “Woods Cove area” was planned to be developed and called “Seawood” as a seaside resort. The property was owned by Clemma E. Woods.(Were we get “Wood’s Cove” from) The site was surveyed and a tract map filed with the County on February 19, 1907, and they received a Post Office commision, but once again the project never came to fruition. Had these projects succeeded “Arch Beach”, “Catalina on the Main” & “Seawood” would have all predated “Laguna Beach” as townships by several years. *edited text from the Orange County Historical Archives & the National Archives materials.


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Arch Beach Hotel

Category : Post Card

In the 1880’s Laguna was actually two separate villages. When the Arch Beach Hotel was built in1886 at what is now Diamond Street and the Coast Highway, the only access to it was by Aliso Canyon because Bluebird (Hub’s Gulch) and Sleepy Hollow (Nate’s Gulch) were impassable by vehicles. Arch Beach and Laguna Beach each had their own post office. *The First 100 Years in Laguna Beach, Merle and Mabel Ramsey

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The brand new “Arch Beach” hotel. * built by Hubbard Goff: 1886

Hubbard Goff built a hotel above the pier site about 1886. In 1887 Goff and his brother Henry laid out a subdivision around the hotel and called it “Arch Beach subdivision” for the arched rock on the shore…the subdivision was unsuccessful. *Trivia: did you know that the Fairview Development Company/ Santa Ana Immigration Association had laid out a town called “Catalina-on-the-Main” just southeast of Arch Rock in 1888? They applied for and received a US Post office but it was never built, as this venture failed shortly thereafter. Also in the early 1900s, what is now the “Woods Cove area” was planned to be developed and called “Seawood” as a seaside resort. The property was owned by Clemma E. Woods.(Were we get “Wood’s Cove” from) The site was surveyed and a tract map filed with the County on February 19, 1907, and they received a Post Office commission, but once again the project never came to
fruition. Had these projects succeeded “Arch Beach”, “Catalina on the Main” & “Seawood” would have all predated “Laguna Beach” as townships by several years. *edited text from the Orange County Historical Archives & the National Archives materials.

Not too long after the hotel opened there was a national bust in real estate and the hotel went under. The owner of the Hotel Laguna bought it a moved it to downtown Laguna and combined the hotels.

It is important to note that this hotel gave the hotel guests the opportunity to see the area as a good one for second homes and beach house, hence, the start of the cottage in the area.


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What do SpongeBob, Bette Davis and ‘Hay for horses’ have in common – Woods Cove

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Everyone Loves Laguna’s Woods Cove

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Some Woods Cove tidbits:

  • In the late 1800’s Laguna and Arch Beach (Woods Cove) were actually two towns each with their own post offices. They were separated by the deep Bluebird and Sleepy Hallow Canyons requiring a long trip through Aliso Canyon, El Toro and Laguna Canyon to visit each other.
  • The early Arch Beach (WC) area was used for farming barley hay. There used to be a pier (see pic) that was used to export the hay via a boat to Mexico where the hay was used to feed the stage coach horses.  The railroad put an end to that.
  • The block buster cartoon Sponge Bob Square Pants got its inspiration when it’s creator Stephen Hillenburg started snorkeling for the first time in Woods Cove. He later got his degree in marine resource planning and then onto art school and then a docent in Dana Point. Next came Sponge Bob.
  • The famous actress Bette Davis lived on the Woods Cove bluff and was very active in the Festival of the Arts. Many early movies were made in the area’s coves.

 


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Arch Beach Pier at “Ring Rock”(Wood’s Cove) point.

Category : Post Card

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(check out the pier and the first ‘Wood’s Cove’ house on the hill)

In 1887, today’s Laguna was two separate towns, Arch Beach and Laguna Beach. The then impassable Bluebird Canyon separated the two towns. Each had their own post office and hotel.

Nathaniel Brooks, was Laguna’s first stagecoach driver, and brought water to Arch Beach via a 500 foot tunnel he carved out of the hillside in Bluebird Canyon. He also was the one who first subdivided Arch Beach for use as farmland, where they grew hay barley.
(Later, Arch Beach was renamed Wood’s Cove)

The initial pier for the area was built by Hubbard Goff and Brooks. It was built and active between 1886 and 1889 to ship their hay from Laguna to San Diego to supply the feed for the horses used in the stagecoach runs into New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada. When the Santa Fe Railroad tracked in to San Diego from Los Angeles in 1898, the “Emma”, previously a whaling ship was no longer needed to transport hay. Mrs. Cora Dunphy, daughter of Captain Brooks (who celebrated her 95th birthday in 1973) said that the ship was later wrecked at Arch Beach during a storm.

Laguna Beach was blessed with the schooner “Emma”. Later owned by Captain Oliver Brooks, Onnie Golf, and Fred Stocking, and lay at anchor at Ring Rock which is now known as Wood’s Cove. The pier was so short that it was often necessary to load the cargo on smaller boats that would take the goods out to deeper water where the Emma was anchored.

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Woods Cove – The Story

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Woods Cove – The Story

Starting with the twin cities – Arch Beach and Laguna Beach

In the late 1800s, the Woods Cove area was originally called Arch Beach and was a separate town from Laguna Beach.

It even had its own post office.

The reason for the twin city effect was that wagons could not go between the two towns due to the deep gullies of Bluebird and Sleepy Hollow Canyons.

So while Laguna Beach could be accessed by the Laguna Canyon, Arch Beach could only be accessed by Aliso Canyon. In fact, to get to Laguna Beach from Arch Beach you had to go all the way around Aliso to El Toro to Laguna Canyon.

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The Arch Beach Tavern was built to house visiting potential buyers of Arch Beach properties. It later housed actors for the movies made in the area. It is now an apartment building at the corner of Moss and Catalina.

As with much of the surrounding areas at the time, it was primarily used for farming, and even had a pier off of Diamond St where they exported barley hay via ship to San Diego for feeding the stage coach horses. Alas this was short lived once the railroad came to SoCal.

The farms were replaced with a resort destination hotel, called the Arch Beach Hotel. The forerunner of the tourist destination town we have today.

It was located at the corner of Diamond and the Coast Hwy. and was very successful until the late 1800’s when a financial and real estate bust be felled the country.

But never- the- less the word was out. Laguna is a great place to visit, as well as to build your beach house.

Residential Development

It wasn’t till 1915 through the 20’s that they started building the many summer cottages, artists’ studios and dream homes that we still see to this day.

There was no design review or governing body prior to 1927 so it was fair game to build with has much individuality as you liked.

The spontaneity of development can still be seen in the informal layout of the streets (no curbs or gutters), irregular setbacks, odd-shaped lots and, most importantly, the lack of uniformity among the architecture.

In other words, it was the foundation of the quintessential eclectic Laguna Beach.

Name Change

An interesting tidbit is that the neighborhood’s name was changed to Woods Cove after a businessman from Colorado, Harry Woods, bought the land around the cove.

Note: It’s Woods Cove and not Wood’s Cove

A few of the Historical People and Celebrities that lived in the area:

The famous actress Bette Davis had a home you can still see today on the bluff on Woods Cove.
William Wendt, one of Laguna’s premier original plein air artists had a studio, that is still there, on Arch Street.

Even Woodrow Wilson convalesced in a house on Moss Point after his stroke during his presidency.

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“The Way it Was” watercolor of the old Wood’s Cove staircase by Roger Folk, long time exhibitor at the Festival of the Arts. Nowadays staircase is all concrete and iron rails but not nearly as fun to descend as it’s rickety, rotten predecessor from the ’60’s.

Architecture:

There is almost every type of architecture imaginable in the Woods Cove community.

First, there are the big luxury homes that sit on the cove bluffs, then the small bungalows, as well as the craftsman style houses. And that just the beginning with modern, mid century, Tuscan, adobe and normandy also sprinkled in throughout the area.

Walkability:

One of the other reasons the area is so popular is you can walk to the beach and local stores in just minutes and to the Laguna downtown area in about 15 to 20 minutes via the beach or along the scenic back roads.

It’s about as far South as you can go and still have a comfortable walk to the village.

Also, the locals love to walk their dogs and meander through the neighborhood, especially on Glenneyre, the old goat path, where they’ll pass many of their neighbors doing the same thing.

Ocean Views:

Woods Cove has a mild uphill slope from the ocean providing many homes with an ocean view. This results in the double benefit of view and walkability which is usually sacrificed when living on the steep hillsides.

The Coves:

A unique attribute of Woods Cove, and Laguna in general, is the many relatively small but world class coves, such as Moss, Ruby, Agate and Woods Coves. They have beautiful flora rich cliffs, as well as ocean bluff homes of every shape and architecture.

The crystal blue water is great for diving and exploring the kelp beds.
The locals enjoy walking down to the beach after work, take a swim, hang out with their friends and take the edge off with a glass of wine.

So say ‘hi’ when we see each other walking in the area. Everyone else does.

For more pictures and a place to submit your stories please visit facebook.com/woodscovelagunabeach

*Trivia: did you know that the Fairview Development Company/ Santa Ana Immigration Association had laid out a town called “Catalina-on-the-Main” just southeast of Arch Rock in 1888? They applied for and received a US Post office but it was never built, as this venture failed shortly thereafter. Also in the early 1900s, what is now the “Woods Cove area” was planned to be developed and called “Seawood” as a seaside resort. The property was owned by Clemma E. Woods.(Were we get “Wood’s Cove” from) The site was surveyed and a tract map filed with the County on February 19, 1907, and they received a Post Office commision, but once again the project never came to
fruition. Had these projects succeeded “Arch Beach”, “Catalina on the Main” & “Seawood” would have all predated “Laguna Beach” as townships by several years. *edited text from the Orange County Historical Archives & the National Archives materials.

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John Garfield and Lana Turner, Woods Cove. *during filming of “The Postman Always Rings Twice”, 1946


Historical Photos

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