2017

Welcome to 2017. This Date in Seal Beach History will be a mix of recycled past posts with original posts for dates that the blog hasn’t covered yet. If you see material you’ve seen before, please be patient. I’ll be posting some new Seal Beach history and photos throughout the year. With luck, we’ll finish 2017 with a post for each date in Seal Beach history. Thanks. – mpd

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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

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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

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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

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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

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May 16th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1874, the Southern Californian reported that nine steamers had landed at Anaheim Landing so far in May.

– Michael Dobkins

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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.

– Michael Dobkins

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May 14th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1951, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Seal Beach Naval and Ammunition Depot was busier than any time since World War II.

Depot workmen repair anti-submarine nets. The crane would lower each net section after it was repaired.

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

 

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