History of Long Beach California

Long Beach CA History¦A Native American tribe known as the Tongva (which means the people of the earth)

History of Long Beach California

Long Beach California History



From the People of the Earth to the City of Long Beach

A Native American tribe known as the Tongva (which means ˜the people of the earth) were the citys first known residents.  The Tongva disappeared in the 1800s as settlers began pouring into the area.  Manuel Nieto built a rancho on a huge parcel of land awarded him through the Spanish Land Grant in 1784.  Over time, his property was divided many times for business and personal reasons.  Long Beach grew out of two settlements that came from Nietos tract:  Los Cerritos and Los Alamito.



Settling Long Beach

In 1880, Englishman Erwin Willmore created the first township here by subdividing parts of Los Cerritos.  Even after the township failed, settlers were drawn to the areas easy access to the ocean, wide beaches and business opportunity.  By 1888 the City of Long Beach had a name, 59 buildings and a school.  Long Beach incorporated in 1897. 



Do you like historic homes? 

Today, Willmore City has more Craftsman, Prairie, Victorian, Mission and Spanish Colonial Style homes than any other Long Beach historic homes districts.  Named for Mr. Willmore, it was part of the citys original 1881 plan.


Historic Villa Riviera CondominiumsHistoric Villa Riviera Condominiums

In 1933 Long Beach was hit by a very large earthquake which caused incredible damage to buildings for miles around the city.  During the 30s and 40s the city slowly rebuilt itself and began to attract the motion picture industry. 


Elizabeth Taylor spent her first honeymoon at the Hilton Hotel on Ocean Boulevard, she married Nicky Hilton, son of Conrad Hilton.  The Breakers Hotel Penthouse has since been converted to the magnificent restaurant The Skyroom (my personal favorite).  



Long Beach was known as the motion picture capital of the world until post World War I when Hollywood developed around the glitz of the era.  With its perfect Southern California climate, Long Beach afforded the perfect setting for the industry.  There were eight film houses, two stock companies, roller-coasters and bath houses at the historic Pike, along the shore of Downtown Long Beach.  This was the home of the Balboa Amusement Production Company, the worlds most prolific silent-film studio.  W. C. Fields and other stars lived in beautiful mansions in the Bluff Park neighborhood along Ocean Boulevard and First Street, many of which remain in the families to this day.

In 1967 the Queen Mary (built in 1936) was withdrawn from service to the Cunard line and brought to rest in Long Beach Harbor.  She was to become a floating hotel, open to the public.  She was outfitted with restaurants, shops and tours -  open to the public.  Did you know that the Queen Mary transported troops during World War II and served as Winston Churchills headquarters at sea?  She was painted gray and nicknamed ˜The Gray Ghost.  The Queen transported over 800,000 troops and traveled 660,000 miles.  The Queen Mary is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 


Historic Landmarks
right here in Long Beach. 

Long Beach is home to many interesting and well preserved historic landmarks.  One such historic landmark is Fire Station #10, the oldest remaining fire station in Long Beach.  Today it is no longer in service for firefighters, but instead houses the Long Beach Firefighters Museum and contains a collection of antique fire engines, historical photographs, and other firefighting memorabilia.

The  Long Beach Museum of Art
in historic Bluff Park, is housed in the historic Elizabeth Milbank Anderson House, a stunning Craftsman Mansion, built in 1929.  The museum is perched on a towering bluff overlooking Long Beach Harbor.  With ocean front gardens and a charming cafe, it is a wonderful place to escape to for a day of gazing out over the ocean, watching the comings and goings of the cruise ships and viewing the harbor. 

If you love books, be sure to visit the historic landmark Acres of Books a family owned used books store that has been in Long Beach for over 50 years.  With more than 750,000 used books in stock, youre sure to find something to enjoy.  (...Read More About Long Beach Historic Landmarks)

Historic Treasures

Today the  Rancho Los Alamitos Historic Ranch and Gardens and Rancho Los Cerritos Historic sites are owned by the City of Long Beach.  Be sure to stop by these history-rich treasures!  Youll see agricultural buildings, acres of gardens and adobe ranch homes dating from the 1800s.  Long Beach is packed with historic homes and significant older structures.




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Posted on September 05, 2010 15:36:19 by Laurie Manny Professional Group
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Comment from: Rich B. [Visitor] Email

I am interested in finding out about passenger trains that used to stop in Long Beach. Is anyone aware of such informaton?

PermalinkPermalink March 17, 2009 01:40:25
Comment from: Laurie Manny [Visitor] Email · http://www.lauriemanny.com/

Hi Rich,

Contact the Long Beach Historical Society, they should be able to help you.  Their website is:  http://www.historicalsocietylb.org/

PermalinkPermalink March 17, 2009 04:14:58
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