Staying true to the spirit of Long Beach’s love of its history, the Varden Hotel in downtown Long Beach has re-installed the iconic “Dolly Varden Hotel” neon sign to its former glory.
Built in 1929, the Dolly Varden Hotel had a luxury that not many accommodations in the city of Long Beach could brag about: a bath in every room. And its beautifully classic neon sign boasted of this amenity for the many years it served as a hotel staple in downtown Long Beach.
The old-school, brick building in downtown sits on Pacific between 3rd and 4th. The sign itself was designated an historical landmark in 1995 by the City but the years of wear’n’tear had done little more than turned it into little more than a tattered banner.
Larry Black, who purchased the building in 2008 to create the Varden Hotel, had always felt the sign should be restored to its former glory—but should be done so properly.
“We color sampled and tested by taking off layers of paint to determine the original color in the 30s was the black lacquer with antique off-white lettering,” Black said.
Hoisted in two sets by a crane, the new sign—which took eight months to restore—was finally in full functionality on Monday. At night, the red and blue neons glow just as they had beginning in the 1930s.
“I think people will actually be walking by to take pictures of it that are visiting because it is such an iconic symbol,” Black said.
According to Black, this is the first of many phases to restore the entire building.
Photo by Brian Addison.