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The History of Huntington Beach

The History of Huntington Beach

Huntington Beach History

Oil Boom - Click to Enlarge In 1895, the Southern Pacific Railroad built a line to Huntington Beach, connecting the farming area to the Holly Sugar Plant which had relocated to Santa Ana.

In 1901, Philip A. Stanton and Col. H.S. Finley visited the area and recognized its potential as a west coast resort rivaling Atlantic City, New Jersey. They formed a syndicate called the West Coast Land and Water Co. They acquired 1,500 acres for $100,000 and began dividing the area around Main Street into lots and streets. They named their new development Pacific City.

Eighteen months later, they sold out to another group of investors, including Henry E. Huntington (hence the city's new name). One of the first things the new Huntington Beach Company did was construct a wooden pier. The Pacific Electric Railway also now connected the city to Long Beach. The city's first telephone system was installed. It operated from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The city incorporated on Feb. 17, 1909. The first mayor was Ed Manning. The city saw its first school built the same year.

In 1920, oil was discovered, and the small village quickly mushroomed into a full-fledged boomtown. Pacific Coast Highway was constructed in 1925, opening up access to 8-1/2 miles of virgin beach and ushering in the city's gradual transition to "Surf City." By the 50's and 60's, Huntington Beach had become the fastest growing city in the nation. Today a population of approximately 200,000, the city is world renowned for its surfing and is becoming a destination attraction.

The Pier is one of Huntington Beach's focal points. The first pier, a 1,000 foot long timber structure, was built in 1904, five years before the city's incorporation. In 1912, winter storms nearly destroyed the pier, and a $70,000 bond issue was approved by the voters to build a new one. The new 1,350 ft. pier was the longest, highest, and only solid concrete pleasure pier in the United States at that time. In 1930, the pier was lengthened by 500 ft. with a café at the end. In 1939, a storm destroyed the end of the pier and the café. After reconstruction it re-opened in 1940. In 1941, the Navy commandeered the pier for submarine watch during World War II. In March of 1983, storms severely damaged the end of the pier and the café, necessitating demolition and closure of the end of the pier. In September 1985, the rehabilitated pier reopened with a new two story "End Café," only to be washed away again on January 17, 1988. The pier was declared unsafe and closed on July 12, 1988. In July 1990, the construction bid for the new pier was given to Reidel International. The new pier replicated the historic architectural style of the original 1914 concrete pier, complete with arched bents. The pier was built to withstand not only wave impact and uplift, but also earthquakes. Today, thousands of visitors stroll along the pier and enjoy a meal at Ruby's Restaurant at the end of the pier.

Huntington Beach is rich in history with its beginning as an oil town. Today, the Newland House still stands proud on Beach Boulevard and Adams as a reminder of the architecture and furnishings of the early 1900s. Also of great historic value is the City Gym & Pool located next to Dwyer Middle School on Palm Avenue. The building was constructed in 1931, and survived the 1933 earthquake while other buildings did not. In the 1960s, many buildings were destroyed because they failed to meet new earthquake standards. The School Board chose to donate the facility to the City of Huntington Beach. The city made structural upgrades and it has since served as a recreation center that has served the community with a variety of programs and recreational opportunities. The City Gym & Pool was renovated using the original wood in the gymnasium, and most of the fixtures and windows were restored. The building was rededicated on October 12, 2000.

Huntington Beach is in the process of making history. The South Beach area improvements, from Beach Boulevard north to Huntington Street, has already been completed. This includes the repaving of the 650 space parking lot, building of 30 inch sand wall barriers keeping sand on the beach, planting of 248 additional palm trees, replacing restrooms, creating two plazas designed as sea shells to access beach from parking lots, creation of an entranceway and monument at Beach Boulevard, and a pedestrian bridge crossing Pacific Coast Highway. Phase II of the South Beach improvements are well underway and are expected to be complete in the fall of 2003. A new Marine Safety (lifeguard) headquarters will be built. The old one will be demolished, and in its place, a new building will be constructed that will meet the needs of all Marine Safety personnel. A new Junior Guard Headquarters will be constructed in lieu of the current trailer that is used by this world-renowned program. The new building will accommodate an excess of 1,000 children participating in the Junior Guard Program each year.

Published Thursday, October 04, 2007 1:05 AM by Brian Liberto

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Brian Liberto represents the coast’s finest properties with an exceptional skill for innovative technology..He has a clear understanding of the mindset of luxury home buyers and sellers and undoubtedly meets their expectations. For sellers, today’s technology allows us to reach millions of qualified prospective buyers and sellers world-wide in real time. Nearly 87% of home buyers initiate their home search on the internet. We utlize technology via Facebook, Twitter, Zillow, Realtytrac, and Utube to sell your home today. We turn Browers into Buyers ! Our commitment: provide our clientele with the best in real estate representation & marketing services. Whether buying or selling, we strive to make the entire experience rewarding by exceeding your expectations & providing an extraordinary result