Santa Monica's charms don't come cheap. The beachside enclave is located in one of the most expensive ZIP Codes in the country. Dead set on the 90405? Bring your piggy bank. The median sale price for single-family homes was $1.93 million in February 2016. If the price tag is too steep, time travel is always an option. Santa Monica was decidedly less bling in the 1800s:
"In the mid 1870s, the Southern Pacific Railroad was on the brink of connecting upstart Los Angeles to the rest of the nation, and the new township of Santa Monica welcomed city dwellers to its beachside tent cities."
The Huntington Library's Ernest Marquez Collection contains hundreds of prints from the 1870s to the 1950s. The archive was amassed over a 50-year period by Ernest Marquez, a descendent of Mexican land grantees who owned large swathes of land in the area. Here are 7 remarkable photographs that chronicle Santa Monica's transformation from rustic hamlet to star-studded enclave.
Roller Coaster at the Arcadia Hotel, Santa Monica, late 1880s
Santa Monica bathing scene, ca. 1900
Visitors to Santa Monica Beach, ca. 1880s
Roller Coaster at the Arcadia Hotel, Santa Monica, ca. 1887
Southern Pacific Railroad entering Santa Monica, 1878
North Santa Monica Beach, ca. 1880s
Carleton Watkins (1829–1916), Beach and Bathing House at Santa Monica, ca. 1877