Santa Monica Beach: A Collector’s Pictorial History by Ernest Marquez
Of all the Mexican land grant ranchos in California, only Rancho Boca de Santa Monica and Rancho San Vicente could lay claim to a treasured territory that included the most beautiful shore in North America, Santa Monica Beach. When the land grant Rancho Boca de Santa Monica was awarded to Francisco Marquez and Ysidro Reyes in 1839, little did their families imagine that the sand separating their land from the waters of the Pacific would become one of the most famous beaches in the world, now visited by millions of visitors each year. The Marquez-Reyes union helped define the history of Santa Monica Beach. Now, one of their own descendants has documented that rich and romantic past. Noted Southern California historian and photo archivist Ernest Marquez grew up in Santa Monica Canyon, swam the Pacific waters at the heels of Olympian Buster Crabbe, and snacked on the watercress that grew in the canyon's creek. As the years passed, he watched what had been known as the Roosevelt Highway become the Pacific Coast Highway, and Hollywood stars build homes along what ultimately would be referred to as the "Gold Coast." Over the past several decades Marquez has collected both images and information that together define the history of this magnificent beach. Now, with dramatic images by Carleton E. Watkins, H.F. Rile, Valentin Wolfenstein and many more, Marquez's Santa Monica Beach: A Collector's Pictorial History is destined to become not only the definitive biography, but also the most beautiful and authoritative record of an American treasure.