Welcome to This Date in Seal Beach History

This blog project is devoted to exploring Seal Beach’s past one day at a time.  It is individually run and maintained and is not affiliated with the City of Seal Beach or the Seal Beach Historical Society.
If you want to share posts or images from This Date in Seal Beach, please credit the site and share a link back to us if possible. The writing is copyrighted and all rights are reserved, so please do not share the work done here as your own.
Each post has a comment section, but you can contact me directly at mike@sealbeachhistory.com
If you enjoy the posts, the vintage photos, and the research shared on this blog, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.
Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.
This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, totebags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.
My sincerest gratitude to all the people have donated to this project. Click here to see a list of This Date in Seal Beach sponsors.
– Michael Dobkins
Advertisements
Posted in Seal Beach History | Leave a comment

May 20th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1939, Andy’s Fish Pond ran the following ad in the Santa Ana Register.

May_20_1939_Andy__039_s_Fish_Pond_adWe know some of our readers have firsthand memories of Anaheim Landing before the Navy took over in 1944. Can any of them pinpoint which building in this 1939 aerial photograph was 2000 Coast Highway? (Click on any of these images for a larger view.)

1939 Seal Beach

1939 Seal Beach

Here’s a closer view of Anaheim Landing.

1939 Anaheim Landing Close Up

1939 Anaheim Landing Close Up

Our guess is that Andy’s Fish Pond was in one of these two buildings.

1939-Anaheim Bay-Aerial close up circle– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

May 19th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1916, Seal Beach the Lodge Cafe on Main Street ran this ad in the Santa Ana Register.

May_19_1916_Lodge_Cafe_ad

Adams, Beverly and West were a male comedy and singing trio active in 1916.  After some initial success in Chicago, they were booked on a western tour with stops in Portland, Salem, Oakland (where the Oakland Tribune took favorable note of the trio’s “Mr. Snippy’s Nightmare” by calling it “one of the greatest laughing sketches we have ever seen”), San Francisco, and obviously Seal Beach. They appear not to have stayed together past their brief 1916 season in the sun.

And that’s show biz, folks!

The Lodge Cafe's dining room

The Lodge Cafe’s dining room

A wildly inaccurate view of the Lodge Cafe's Exterior at Central Avenue and Main Street.

A wildly inaccurate view of the Lodge Cafe’s Exterior at Central Avenue and Main Street.

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 18th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1974, Seal Beach threw a Fiesta on Main Street, complete with an artists and merchants sidewalk sale, a Lions Club Pancake Breakfast, a parade, strolling musicians, and a marimba band! 

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 17th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1924, the Santa Ana Register cited an unnamed report that claimed that the colony of 300 seals residing in Alamitos Bay were consuming “some twelve tons of fish a day” and would soon deplete the bay. Local fishermen reported that they were still catching “extra fine specimens” of “the finny tribe.”

The article concluded with the observation that the seal colony, oblivious to the human dispute over fish supply, watched with wonder the construction of the Los Angeles Gas and Electric steam plant on the shore of the bay, “undisturbed by rumor or roar of machinery.”

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

May 16th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1969, this Long Beach Independent ad offered sport fishing from the G.W., the Valencia, and an offshore barge from the Seal Beach pier.

The ad also featured a crude rendition of Solly the Seal (he may have been known as Salty originally), a Walt Disney designed mascot that had been adopted by Seal Beach in 1944 and used on city stationery and other promotional materials.

 – Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 15th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1954, two “kangaroo men” — as they were named in a headline in the next day’s Long Beach Independent — escaped from Seal Beach Police. John Johnson, the owner of the drugstore at 141 Main Street, was leaving work for the night when he heard noises from the roof above his store.

Johnson called the police department, and the dispatched officers scaled the building and confronted two suspects. The two men surprised the officers by leaping twenty feet to the ground and making a clean getaway in a car parked nearby. 

Unfortunately, there were no wandering minstrels nearby to witness this and turn it into a famous folk song.

The Seal Drug Co. was located at 141 Main Street on the west side of the street where Bob’s Rexall did business for years and where Stitch and Feather has operated a “women’s boho boutique; a Dame’s Market” since 2013.

This photo can be dated within a seven year period from 1946 to 1953. Along the edge of the left side behind a street lamp, there is a glimpse of the Cole’s Market sign. Cole’s Market opened their Seal Beach location in August 1946 and included the address in advertisement until August 1953. By November 1953, a “Food King Mkt.” occupied 148 Main Street. (The market’s name expanded to John’s Food King later.)

This photo is filled with long-gone Seal Beach businesses that are little bit easier to see if you click on the image for a larger view.  Also, note the Pacific Electric red car tracks paved over down the center of Main Street.

Next to Seal Drug Co. was the Seal Beach News, an anti-gambling rival newspaper to the Seal Beach Post and Wave.  The short-lived Seal Beach News started circulating in 1946, but didn’t last long. It was gone before 1954 when a Baptist church took over that address.

On the other side of the Seal Drug Co. was a jewelry store (probably the actual target of the “kangaroo men” and The Friendly Nook, a yarn and wool store, at 137 1/2 Main.

Further down the street towards the pier is Frosty’s Shop, specializing in “Ladies and Gents Wear” and helping you “Look Your Best” and “Look Well-Dressed” with “Careful Cleaning,” according to the ad copy on a Frosty’s Shop matchbook. Frosty’s was owned by John C. “Frosty” Felts, an active member of the Seal Beach community and one-time president of the Seal Beach Lions Club. His name is spread across newspaper stories about Seal Beach community events from the thirties to the fifties.

If you ever rode on the merry-go-round that was installed on the east side of the pier, you’re familiar with his work. He spearheaded the 1947 fundraising and installation of the “flying wheel” as the chairman of public welfare committee of the Seal Beach Lions Club. “Frosty” Felts lived at 502 Central Avenue and passed away in 1956.

And, if you look carefully just past the Frosty’s sign, you can see the sign for the Circle Cafe. There are other stores and signs that unfortunately didn’t photograph sharply enough to read. One final curiosity is an advertisement for the Hollywood Record Club on the side of one of the Main Street buildings. This wasn’t a Seal Beach business, but a mail order record outfit similar to the Columbia House Record of the Month Club.

Even though this photo was taken before the rooftop chase described in today’s post, the Main Street it shows would have still looked much the same when those elusive “kangaroo men” made their dramatic twenty foot leap into Seal Beach history back in 1954.

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

May 14th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1951, the Los Angeles Times reported that the  was busier than any time since World War II.

According to Captain Russell G. Sturges, commanding officer, the Korean War had spurred activity at the 5,000 acre facility, and personnel had expanded from a stand-by staff of 50 to 800 civilians, 50 Marines, and 20 Naval Officers. Contractors were busy repairing and rebuilding railroad lines, docks, fences, and depot buildings.

Before any ship entered the Long Beach Naval Shipyard for repairs or refitting, its ordinance would be unloaded at sea and taken to the Seal Beach depot for inspection and storage under the supervision of chief quartermaster, Udor Labossier. Additional work done at the depot included repair of large steel anti-submarine nets, processing spent shell casings for either reuse or to be sold as scrap metals, and leased farming of 2,000 acres of the base to provide revenues and act as an aid to fire prevention.

This was a dramatic change from the previous year. In 1950, the depot had been all but deactivated. Navy use of Anaheim Landing was so slow that The city of Seal Beach had been negotiating  a 20 year lease for Anaheim Bay for aquatic and recreational use when the Korean conflict heated up. This would have severely curtailed any further development of the depot, and the Seal Beach Naval Weapons Station would not probably not exist in its present form (or might have been closed by now). Anaheim Landing would not have been available (or suitable) for loading Saturn rockets for sea transport in the sixties, and Seal Beach would have missed out on being part of the history of NASA’s Apollo program.

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 13th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1916, the newest and latest of all cabaret and dance cafes, the Wilcox Casino had its grand opening! Connie Conway and six other noted dancers from Los Angeles and San Francisco will introduce the newest dances of all the latest dances! Conway himself created this new dances exclusively for the grand opening!

The newest and latest casino has a kitchen with its own refrigerating plant under the management of one of the most famous of Chefs (unnamed, however), a 67 foot by 29 foot dance floor, tables for eight hundred people, and, wait for it, a new SEAL BEACH song –complete surprise! (Even though it was announced in the ad.)

May_13_1916_Wilcox_Casino_grand_openingWilcox Casino didn’t last long under this breathless management. By August, H.W. Wilcox had enough unhappy creditors, including his wife who sued him for non-support, to fill the dance floor. The casino was closed under attachment, and that was the end of the casino under the Wilcox Casino name.

But, boy! Parking Space for 1000 Cars!

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 12th In Seal Beach History

On this date in 1932, the U.S.S. Akron was sighted off the coast of Seal Beach at 2:00 p.m on its way to an airbase in Sunnyvale. The Akron reached Sunnyvale at midnight, but weather conditions prevented it from mooring until late May 13th.

Today this U.S. Navy helium airship is best remembered for an April 1933 air disaster when it hit bad weather off the New Jersey shore and went down into the Atlantic Ocean, killing 73 of the 76 passengers and crew members. The Akron was designed for reconnaissance and could launch and retrieve scout biplanes in midair, but its full potential was never fully explored. In its brief 20 month history in the air, the USS Akron met with many accidents and mishaps, not the least of which happened the day before it passed Seal Beach in 1932.

The Akron had been sent on a coast to coast tour and arrived at Camp Kearny in San Diego County on May 11th.  While attempting to moor, the Akron unexpectedly lifted up, carrying with it three sailors from the ground crew hanging from the mooring line. Aviation Carpenter’s Mate 3rd Class Robert H. Edsall and Apprentice Seaman Nigel M. Henton lost their grip and fell hundreds of feet to their death while thousands watched. Apprentice Seaman C. M. “Bud” Cowart managed to secure himself to the line and hung on for two hours until a separate line winched him into the dirigible. The Akron safely moored at Camp Kearny later in the day and departed up the coast May 12th, just a few hours before the Seal Beach sighting. 

Here’s a clip on the Camp Kearny accident from a Discovery Channel special:

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

May 11th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1962, the new Seal Beach branch of the Orange County Library was dedicated in an afternoon ceremony at 8th Street and Central Avenue.

In May 1973, the Seal Beach City Council unanimously passed a resolution requesting that the Orange County Board of Supervisors rename the Seal Beach library the “Mary Wilson Branch Library.” Mary Wilson had recently passed away, and the new name was in honor of her thirty years of service as Librarian of the Seal Beach Branch Library and how “in that time, Mary Wilson opened up the ‘wonderful world of books’ to generations of Seal Beach residents who will ever be in her debt.”

A ceremony making the new name official was held on November 3, 1973. The Central Avenue location was closed in December 1977, and the library collection and the “Mary Wilson Branch Library” name moved to the current library location on Electric Avenue, opening on January 9th, 1978.

– Michael Dobkins


Have you enjoyed this and other This Date in Seal Beach History posts?

If so, please consider making a small donation of a dollar or more to help defray the online subscriptions and other research costs that make this blog possible.

Donations can be made securely with most major credit cards directly through PayPal. Just click on paypal.me/MichaelDobkins to go to PayPal. Thank you.

This Date in Seal Beach History also has an online store hosted at Cafepress where you can order shirts, tote bags, stationery, and other gift items imprinted with vintage Seal Beach images. Visit the online store by clicking here.

Posted in Seal Beach History | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment