Image of The Week
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This colorful letterhead was used for official city correspondence in the early years of Seal Beach. The fanciful view of the beach and pier was more a product of wishful thinking than an accurate depiction of the beach in 1916. The artist signed his name on the curb at corner just below the light post. It seems doubtful that “SYMMES” had even visited Seal Beach before he drew this.
Early promotional copy for the city sometimes made it sound as if almost the entire 1915 San Francisco Panama Pacific Exposition was going to be rebuilt on the beach of the city formerly known as Bay City, and this artwork probably reflects that “sky’s the limit” optimism of early Seal Beach boosterism. No band shell was ever built on the pier, the architecture and landscape of the beachfront never quite looked like this, and I doubt the beach fashions were actually this colorful.
However, the roller coaster and the scintillators were exported to Seal Beach from San Francisco after the expo closed, and one of the expo’s stunt fliers, Joseph Boquel, became a popular regular attraction in the skies above Seal Beach 1916. So perhaps this artwork was accurate in spirit, if in not in detail.
We’ll share more picture and photos of the beach, the pier and more as the year progresses. Be sure to check back every Monday for a new Seal Beach image.