Bel-Air Bay Club: Past & Present,
A Pictorial History Celebrating 90 Years

Book Covers 0005 Bel Air Bay Club

The story of the Bel-Air Bay Club began in the 1920s when Los Angeles developer Alphonzo E. Bell had the vision to create a country place by the sea after his successful inland development of Bel-Air. In a 1927 prospectus by author Edward O’Day, he described a deep-rooted and instinctive westward urge that leads men from the valleys to the crests and over the crests down to the sea; a liberation from inland constraint established along the Pacific Ocean shore of Southern California. This magical place was first described in 1602 by cartographer Gerónimo Martínez de la Palacios as, “the crescent indentation of the California coastline at the 34th parallel marked with a notation…“Grande Ensenada”. This 31-acre rectangle along the oceanfront known as Bel Air Bay was part of the original 6,659 acre-Spanish Land Grant known as Rancho Boca de Santa Monica. It is here that Bell along with architect Elmer Grey and landscape architect Mark Daniels designed an idyllic enclave of sixty-seven cottage sites meandering along the hillside from Sunset Boulevard to Arno Way down to the natural cliff top where the Upper Club sits majestically overlooking the Lower Club and 1,200-feet of beach frontage. Bell’s idea was simple in that it struck the heart of what people value the most — spending their leisure time at the beach, close to nature and away from the increasing hustle and bustle of a growing Los Angeles metropolis. Ninety years later, that still holds true.