Huntington Library Purchases Turn-of-the-Century Photographs of Santa Moinca

huntington library santa monica photography collection

Carleton Watkins, “Beach and Bathing House at Santa Monica” (c. 1877), Albumen print

The Huntington Library purchased the Ernest Marquez Collection of 4,600 images of Santa Monica in the 1870s to the 1950s. “This photo archive was amassed over a 50-year period by a descendent of Mexican land grantees who owned the 6,000-acre Rancho Boca de Santa Monica or present-day Rustic and Santa Monica Canyons, Pacific Palisades, and portions of the city of Santa Monica,” said Jennifer A. Watts, curator of photographs at The Huntington.

The Southern Pacific Railroad, built through Rancho Boca, was completed on the last day of 1887 (and via the Long Warf in 1893), and the images depict the rustic beachside ranches and tent settlements welcoming newcomers from across the country and bourgeoning into a buzzing costal city.

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