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Balboa Inn
Balboa Inn.JPG
Location 105 Main St.
Newport Beach, California
Architect Walter Roland Hagedohm
NRHP reference No. 86000730
Added to NRHP April 11, 1986

The Balboa Inn is located on the Balboa Peninsula in the city of Newport Beach, California. It was established in 1929, and added to the National Register of Historical Places in 1986.


The "Balboa" got its name from the coastal Balboa Peninsula at Newport Beach, California. People from the Los Angeles area who'd seen it started referring to it as 'The Balboa', or the dance being done in Balboa.

In its day, the Balboa Inn was the number one hostelry on the Orange County Coast and the present day "Balboa Inn Resort" is popular. The Inn has been remodeled and modernized a number of times but its graceful Spanish Colonial Revival architecture remains. At one time the Balboa Theater, operated by the colorful, hard-drinking, hard-swearing character Madame La Rue, stood next to the Balboa Inn.

The Balboa Inn was, and still is, a favorite getaway spot for Hollywood stars. For example, Olympic athlete and Tarzan star Johnny Weissmueller stayed there. Legend has it that Weissmueller swam the distance between the Balboa Pier and Newport Pier on a regular basis. A current famous room at the Inn is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's Suite with its nine (9) foot high doors.

Balboa dance

The origins of the 'Balboa' dance resist consensus. Many dance historians state that the dance was a derivation of the Foxtrot, others believe it evolved from the Charleston or Collegiate Shag. Willie Desatof, an original Balboa dancer of distinction, believes it evolved from the Rhumba.

There were many different existing dances around at the time of the Balboa's introduction, and several of the 'Balboa masters' knew of them. Balboa is an 8 count dance, so a connection with other 8 count dances would be consistent. However, it does not rule out a connection to 6 count dances. It seems likely that early Balboa dancers were probably influenced by their knowledge of other dances around at that time.

"We can't tell you how to dance Balboa, but we can tell you when you are not dancing Balboa." from dancers of Balboa's origin.

Nearby attractions

Nearby historical buildings and sights and sites include the Balboa Pavilion (est. 1906), Balboa Pier (est. 1906), Balboa Fun Zone (est. 1936), and Balboa Island Ferry (est. 1919).

Activities nearby include the beach, narrated harbor cruises and sport fishing, the Catalina Island passenger ferry dock, restaurants, and shops. During large south ocean swells, the nearby world-famous Wedge provides dangerous and exciting surfing entertainment.

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