Author's Blog

North Long Beach

Many of the housing tracts which would form North Long Beach weren’t built until the 1930s or later. I’ve written about these in my book Fighting Fear, which I will not repeat here, but let me tell of the area’s early development in the 1880s through the 1920s. California Cooperative Colony Ad 4/27/1887 There were other colonies forming around Long Beach’s American Colony, parts of which would eventually become North Long Beach. On the proposed narrow-gauge railroad from Long Beach to Pasadena, the California Cooperative Colony was created on 7000 acres of Rancho Los Cerritos territory on land lying east of the Los Angeles River and north of present 56th Street. It was about six miles inland from Long Beach. On May 2, 1887, stock in the colony was offered for sale. It operated on the subscription basis: 200 shareholders, to be known as “founders,” would each buy a $140 share of stock at a fifty per cent discount. Each share would entitle the holder to a business or residence lot in the projected town, and the privilege of purchasing not more than four ten acre plots of surrounding farmland at a discount. For subsequent investors the farm tracts were offered at $100 per acre, one-third down. The town, called Clearwater for the crystal clear water found in the area, was one mile square. It extended from Downey Road on the east to Cherry Avenue (now Garfield) on the west and from Washington (now Compton Blvd.) on the north to Flower Street on the south. In July 1887, the following ad appeared: “The California Cooperative Colony offers for sale at $100 an acre a portion of its valuable lands in the Cerritos ranch, to those […]

1915 Long Beach

102 YEARS AGO in LONG BEACH, CA. News stories from the local press  1915 LINCOLN MONUMENT IN PACIFIC PARK Since 1906 the stone foundation originally intended for a soldier’s monument in the southeast corner of Pacific Park had laid unattended. The project itself had a checkered past and was abandoned because of internal jealousies among members of the Sons of the Veterans’ Auxiliary over who would get credit for the monument. The original contractor was paid a $200 deposit, but was still owed $3,600 for the soldier statue still in his possession.  Exhausting all efforts to get paid, the contractor placed the matter in the hands of an attorney.  On the next Memorial Day an unusual wood and canvas monument was placed upon the granite base in Pacific Park.  The attorney was in the crowd jotting down the names of a number of participants who had originally donated funds.  A little later each of these received a letter from the attorney advising them that the use of the pedestal was a confession of liability and the money owed the original contractor must be paid.  Not surprisingly, the make-shift monument was removed, and the base remained unused.  The contractor did not get his money. In 1914, Park Superintendent Arthur Falkenhayn suggested the unsightly base be used as the foundation of a drinking fountain to show place the public library.  Receiving approval, he surrounded the base of the fountain with flowers.  The fountain itself was used as an urn in which he planted coleus vines and other shrubbery.  Because of this attention, the local women’s auxiliary of the Grand Army of the Republic decided to rejuvenate the movement to erect a memorial to those who were involved […]

1914 Long Beach

News stories from the local press.

1913 Long Beach

104 YEARS AGO in LONG BEACH, CA. News stories from the local press 1913     THE EMPIRE DAY DISASTER The Irish had their holiday, Saint Patrick’s Day, the Italians Columbus Day, why not a holiday for British Americans?  In 1913, 20,000 former British subjects living in Southern California chose May 24th, Empire Day, as their day to celebrate.  The British holiday began in 1838 to commemorate young queen Victoria’s birthday.  When she died in 1901 her subjects still wanted to honor her accomplishments so Parliament issued a proclamation establishing May 24th as Empire Day.  Now the first Empire Day celebration on the west coast was to be held in Long Beach, California. The Daily Telegram of May 23, 1913 described what was supposed to have happened: “The greatest British celebration ever held on foreign soil. That is what the committee in charge of the arrangements for the big Empire Day celebration to be held in this city tomorrow expects the fete to be.  From all over the southland will come those who formerly lived under the British flag.  Drawing card features of the day will be the presence of the British man-of-war, Shearwater, 60 of whose sailors will act as an escort for the veterans in the parade; there will be a big program of athletic stunts, national games, the parade, music and the natural attractions of Long Beach.  The parade will be  elaborate, with several floats each representing dominions or possessions of the English nation, the participants of each float being natives of the that particular country represented.  The parade will reach the auditorium where speeches will be made.  Five hundred dollars worth of prizes will be given to the winners of the various contests.”  What was to have been a […]