Hal R. Clark, a white attorney from Los Angeles set his eyes on developing an all-black beachfront club. In December 1924, he purchased the property which was located a mile below the Huntington Beach Pier. Clark was known not only an attorney but as an opportunist who didn’t past down on a good deal.
Working along with, Joseph Bass, a black businessman and editor of the California Eagle Newspaper; and a few other prominent black businessmen the men set their eyes on making Orange County popular for blacks.
The men had plans to make the resort one of the largest in the country. The seven acres included a bathhouse for ballroom and clubhouse for a restaurant, grocery, drug store, and 200 cottages. The construction on the beach property started in 1925 but mysteriously in 1926 near being completed the buildings burned to the ground.
During this time, the Ku Klux Klan was active in the Orange County and predominantly a white area. Newspapers reported that the project was plagued with problems from the very beginning, with contractors abandoning different projects and white business owners in the area obstructing efforts such as holding back on permits.
On the night of the fire, the watchman, a black man named A. H. Sneed was off duty. However, he later claimed to see two men running away from the blazing buildings. The men got into two cars parked east of the club. One car drove toward Newport, the other toward Huntington Beach. Sneed tried to get water to put the fire out but discovered there was no running water anywhere. No arrests were ever made.