The History Behind Litchfield's


The sign towers over the other buildings on East Francisco Boulevard, an enduring presence flanking a busy portion of the highway. Did it belong to a now-defunct grocery store? Far from it. Dubbed “California’s Las Vegas,” Litchfield’s Bermuda Palms was the place to be during the ’60s and ’70s. Built in the late 1940s by Irving “Whitey” Litchfield, a millionaire construction mogul, the resort had a luxury swimming pool, color television, nightly dancing and rooms for under $10 a night. In its prime, the on-site ballroom drew top music acts including Duke Ellington, the Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, Chuck Berry and many more. Litchfield’s also served as lodging for the glitterati — in 1954 Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, John Wayne and Robert Mitchum stayed there while filming Blood Alley at China Camp. And since Whitey was an amateur boxer, it once even served as a boxing training camp. In the ’70s drugs and prostitution proliferated in the area and the motel’s shimmer began to fade. The neighborhood grew dangerous and Litchfield claimed he lacked support from police. In 1988 he finally shut down the property and kicked out all tenants except those placed by the county welfare department. There was one final jab. On the motel’s marquee he left the message, “I have sinned. Please forgive me. I have created a haven for humans. Don’t judge me too harshly.”



Kasia Pawlowska

Kasia Pawlowska loves words. A native of Poland, Kasia moved to the States when she was seven. The San Francisco State University creative writing graduate went on to write for publications like the San Francisco Bay Guardian and KQED Arts among others prior to joining the Marin Magazine staff. Topics Kasia has covered include travel, trends, mushroom hunting, an award-winning series on social media addiction and loads of other random things. When she’s not busy blogging or researching and writing articles, she’s either at home writing postcards and reading or going to shows. Recently, Kasia has been trying to branch out and diversify, ie: use different emojis. Her quest for the perfect chip is never-ending.