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.
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.