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Photos  Gaytonia  Belmont Shore Building

Gaytonia at 212 Quincy Avenue in Belmont Shore, Long Beach, California, once was a hotel-style apartment building for Naval officers.

 

For those familiar with Belmont Shore, the busy community of Long Beach that enjoys beaches, bays and a charmed lifestyle, to name a building "Gaytonia" in today's world would probably be a bold statement about a lifestyle that Long Beach is recognized for. Gays and lesbians find the tucked away communities of Long Beach progressive and tolerant of alternative lifestyles.

 

But Gaytonia was not named for a gay lifestyle. It was so called for its owner and contractor, George T. Gayton. Designed and built in 1930, it is one of the great examples of unique architecture that has survived and worn the decades famously as a Norman Revival style structure in the vein of other such Long Beach buildings--Pacific Coast Club and Villa Riviera. When built, the Gaytonia was an expensive property, costing $100K to build. The upscale building catered to an esteemed group, Naval officers stationed in Long Beach who sought  hotel-style apartments, offering amenities and services such as maid service, valet and furnishings. Included with the price of a room were linens, dishes, etc. 

 

Sitting atop a hill overlooking Belmont Shore and the Pacific Ocean, the building was made to look tall and almost castle-like, as a solid and esteemed force in its Belmont Heights neighborhood. Topped with a hotel-style sign above the roof line that is conspicuous and visible from vantage points in the Belmont Shore area, the landmark building was easy to find with the tall sign that says, "Gaytonia" in Gothic style lettering.

 

Use of hip roofs, turrets, conical caps and corbels combine with treatments such as pseudo-halftimbers and pointed arches to make this a very interesting study in architecture.

 

What's so exciting about Belmont Shore and Long Beach is that they are filled for buildings maintaining unique features, and most were built in the early to mid-1900's after an earthquake destroyed most of the city's structure, requiring a rebuild that has created this wealth of styles you'll observe today.

 

How controlled are you when purchasing one of these buildings deemed historic or significant? The City of Long Beach has a well documented set of rules buyers of homes, apartments, commercial buildings and even condos you must adhere to should you decide to take on history and live it.

 

 

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