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Tim Brown
Tim Brown

By San Clemente City Councilman Tim Brown

It’s back and better than ever! On Friday, Sept. 30, the newly rebuilt Ole Hanson Beach Club (OHBC) was reopened to great fanfare and big crowds. Constructed during the “roaring twenties” by visionary and city founder, Ole Hanson, the OHBC has a storied history and has been the source of many wonderful memories for residents for almost 100 years. However, after decades of use, the OHBC had never been fully rehabilitated and was in grave need of repairs, restoration and upgrades to meet the new state building codes and continue to be the jewel of North Beach. And, as one of our first landmarks, and due to his historical significance, it proved to be a very serious undertaking.

In January 2015, construction commenced and was a balanced effort to ensure the necessary rehabilitation was performed, while respecting the historic architecture that made it great. As is the case with the aging structures, many of the greatest challenges didn’t surface until the contractors were able to open up the building and pool and evaluate the condition. Dry rot, termite damage, inadequate prior repairs, structural deficiencies and even an old pool underneath the existing one were only a few of issues that came to light. However, the city remained committed to the project and ensuring that the renovation be completed and would last and be worthy of such an important part of our town. In all, $5.6 million was invested in hopes that we could enjoy another 100 years of the beautiful facility.

Here is just a small sampling of the expansive project list for the OHBC:

  • First floor reconfiguration and renewal
  • Historic windows and doors rehabilitated
  • Accessible second floor and exterior decks via an elevator
  • Second floor historic finishes restored
  • Building structure and seismic upgrades
  • Balcony returned to historic colors and reinforced
  • Exterior plaster replaced and wood restored
  • Historic porthole window returned
  • Historic exterior decorative tile restored
  • Reconstructed pools for better access and appearance
  • Native California landscaping and sidewalk improvements

The Ole Hanson Beach Club was a gift from Ole Hanson to the community to recreate and enjoy North Beach. It will once again have an endless stream of children and adults who can come to enjoy recreational swim and a variety of organized swim lessons and exercise classes offered by the city’s Recreation Department. For those that are interested, the OHBC events and facility rentals will be managed by 24 Carrots catering, a proven vendor from their work at the Casa Romantica, which was selected by the city through a public RFP process. Please be aware that for the next few months, the OHBC will operate on a modified rental and operating schedule as the new systems and amenities come online; however, residents can look forward to a full schedule of programs that will be offered at the start of the new year.

As one who greatly respects and appreciates our historic past, I am thankful our residents are supportive of historic preservation and retaining Ole Hanson’s dream of San Clemente’s Spanish Village by the Sea. Although these projects often take a lot of patience and a much longer process to complete, it is because of this commitment to its heritage that San Clemente retains its natural charm, character and beauty. A heritage that makes San Clemente unique and sets it apart from other communities. Here’s to the Ole Hanson Beach Club—may it be a place for our community to make happy memories for another 100 years to come.

If you have any questions or feedback, I can be reached at

Tim Brown is a City Councilman in San Clemente. He was re-elected to City Council in 2014 and served as mayor during that year.

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