Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Huntington Beach "Pav-a-lon"

According to the late historian Alicia Wentworth, this photo was taken July 4, 1946. The building is the "Pav-a-lon": An entertainment venue built by the WPA in 1938 at the foot of the Huntington Beach Pier. This building most recently served as Maxwell's restaurant before being torn down to make way for Duke's.

I don't know why they called it the Pav-a-lon (or "Pavalon"), except that half the other towns on the coast already had a Pavilion. Also, in earlier years, Huntington Beach really played up its crystal clear view of Catalina Island. The island even appears on the City's official seal. So perhaps Pavalon is a reference to "Avalon."

From our viewpoint, standing atop the drug store (later Jack's), we can see a tilt-a-whirl (always a favorite of mine), a carousel, and some sort of vomit-comet ride. There was also a small ferris wheel to the right of the carousel. I haven't been able to pin down just how long the mini-fun-zone lasted at this location.

Notice the banner announcing "Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band" at the Pav-a-lon. Here's a YouTube clip from that very band, playing the "Muskrat Ramble" only a few years later.

For more about the Pav-a-lon, here's a link to a relevant article from the Independent by Jerry Person.

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