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Old Posted Dec 8, 2009, 9:06 PM
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Johnny Socko Johnny Socko is offline
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A while back someone posted a pictorial of historic Ralphs locations. One of them was 3rd & Vermont, and in fact there is still a Ralphs at that location today. It's quite ramshackle though, and I prefer to shop at the Vons across the street (NE corner), with its spotless upkeep and courteous staff. However, most Vons shoppers are probably unaware of the historical significance of this location.

The actual parcel occupied by Vons was formerly the location of the Palomar Ballroom. I do not know much about this venue, so I'd be greatly interested to learn more if anyone here is familiar with it.

Adjacent to this lot, and a bit more familiar to me (from past research) is the former location of the Bimini Baths.

In 1903, Dr. David Edwards opened the Bimini Baths, a spa and "plunge" (public swimming pool) built on a natural hot spring. The Daily Mirror posted the original 1902 Times article on the grand opening here.

Spas & bath-houses were popular in Los Angeles at the turn of the 20th Century, but much like amusement piers, they seemed to have a predilection for burning to the ground (how many of each did Abbott Kinney have to rebuild?!). The Bimini Baths were no exception, and the spa was reduced to briquettes by 1905; but Dr. Edwards promptly rebuilt a much grander facility, seen here:



(I had a much bigger version of this image once upon a time; curse me for losing it.)

The Bimini Baths were located at 2nd St (coming off Vermont, behind the present-day Vons) and Bimini Place (coming South off 1st St and its LARY streetcar line). Across Bimini Place from the spa was a deluxe hotel, also developed by Dr. Edwards. This building still exists (as does Bimini Place), although now it is an apartment building dedicated to people in recovery. It is referred to in some articles as the "Bimini Inn"; however, the 1930's-era photo above shows the rooftop sign identifying it as the Rayfield, which it is still called today:



I found an outstanding Times article here (presumably scanned, hence the weird typos), which includes details about the history of Bimini Baths, and also mentions local features like Bimini Slough and the Palomar Ballroom.

Amazingly, the Bimini Baths lasted until 1951, but it seems to have disappeared from the public consciousness even moreso than other Ragtime-era attractions in Los Angeles.
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