The Norconian Resort Supreme was a magnificent disaster. A chance discovery of “hot sulfur water” in 1926 led entrepreneur Rex Clark to construct one of the finest and most comprehensive recreation facilities on the West Coast. Movie stars, Olympic champions, and the richest of the rich flocked to it. Sadly the Norconian debuted just months before the onset of the Great Depression, and very quickly Rex Clark’s $4.5-million dream became known as “Rex’s Folly.” The resort eventually became one of the preeminent naval hospitals in the nation, a top-secret think tank, and a medium-security prison. Miraculously most of the original structures still exist. The old hotel, despite its placement on the National Register of Historic Places, has become a political hot potato and now sits languishing in the middle of the California Rehabilitation Center—abandoned yet stunning, with fabulous chandeliers, tile work, and breathtaking paintings still intact.
Author Bio: Author Kevin Bash is a professional actor, writer, director, and chairman of the City of Norco’s “Save the Norconian” Task Force. He has compiled interviews, historical research, and photographs related to the Norconian, the naval hospital, the naval warfare center, and the state prison. His wife and coauthor, Brigitte Jouxtel, is an internationally known photographer with a prominent studio in Los Angeles. Both are longtime residents of Norco.
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