Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Capitola, California

Let’s pay a visit to the charming beach town of Capitola, California...

Located just south of Santa Cruz, Capitola has many charms to boast of, including a fine selection of shopping and restaurants to peruse, as well as some quaint old motels. And it's worth mentioning that the local pizzeria, Pizza My Heart, puts out the finest thin-crust pizza you'd ever care to taste. All in all, Capitola is an enjoyable, if crowded, place to spend a leisure day by the sea, provided you can find a parking spot.

Our first stop is the Shoreline Apartments, circa 1959. Note the traffic circle and lone palm tree. The multicolor fiberglass chairs on the balcony add a nice touch of color.

When this postcard was snapped, a ten-pin alley by the name of Arcadia Gardens Bowl sat just across the street and behind the Shoreline. It was close enough to hear the crash of the pins on a day when the leagues were busy. At other times the crash of surf would dominate the soundscape just as it does today.

Speaking of today, the Shoreline is still covering the waterfront. The lone palm tree maintains its vigil in the traffic circle and a flock of local seagulls looks to make new friends among the happy patrons on restaurant row. The trim remains turquoise and the Shoreline continues to be a fine place to spend the summer. Alas, the Arcadia Gardens building is now home to an odd assortment of shops, art galleries and an ice cream parlor...but no bowling...

Let’s leave the apartments now and walk behind the restaurants lining the beach. Soquel Creek exits the mainland here and a fine old railroad bridge crosses nearby. Here on an old concrete jetty, a postcard photographer from the early 70's caught time in a bottle:

In 2008, the jetty remains in situ while river life has become a bit more fancy…

Turning to our left, we see the picture postcard Venetian Hotel, located directly on the beach. I've never stayed there but I hear it's a kick.

Directly above the colorful roof line of the Venetian, a bit left of center, you can spy our next destination, the L-D Motel Apartments.

The L-D was and is a unique, triangular shaped motel which boasts excellent views of the ocean and village. A nice interior shot of a typical early 70’s motel room is included so that you can see what you’ve been missing:

Today known as the Harbor Lights Motel, this friendly inn is still beckoning beachcombers and other dreamers to park their cares for awhile and breathe deep of the ocean air. I spent a night here in 1999 and can vouch for its charms.

The building is largely unchanged, right down to the small office at the point. I’m sad to see that the salmon paint scheme has gone the way of the fifties, but at least they kept that color for the stairs…


jedblau said...

Love, love, LOVE the then-and-now shots!

walterworld said...

Thanks Jedblau---I only wish I had the time to post more often because I have a bunch more where this came from.

Wherever I travel to, I bring postcards from that area so that I can do some detective work. I can't tell you how much fun I have 'in pursuit' of the past.

Thanks for checking back---

Synthetrix said...

Yes indeed, the then-and-now shots rule!

Namowal said...

Thanks for more "than and nows!"
It's the closest thing to a time machine (I may have said that before).
How do you find the old postcards for each place? Do you search Google images? Or do you have a source for the actual cards?

walterworld said...

Hello Namowal---

I collect postcards, so I guess the images just sort of find me first. Then I get to go and find the location of the shot, which is a blast.

eBay has been a big source for my cards and the rest were obtained at antique stores.

Thanks for the interest. I promise to post more frequently in the future!