Outdoor Dining Amidst The Rubble

Image of The Week

Police Station – March, 1933

click on the image for a larger view

I still have more earthquake photographs from 1933 to share, but I’m swamped this week.  I’ll do my best to post the rest next Monday.

Today’s single image is of the old Seal Beach police department on Central Avenue taken from a vacant lot where the Old Town fire station stands today between 7th and 8th Street.

I was puzzled by this photo when I first saw it.  Why were these people dining outdoors across the street from the police station?

My guess — and it’s only a guess — is that this photograph was taken shortly after the Long Beach quake.  This is based on what appears to be brick rubble in the foreground and that this was the area in town where the National Guard set up tents for quake refugees from Long Beach.  So these diners at the table may have been unfortunate Long Beach residents who have just lost their homes.  Another possibility is that this was a Seal Beach family who decided to avoid being indoors when aftershocks hit.

There’s something about that rubble that still puzzles me.  Where did it come from?  I’ve checked aerial photos from May 1931 and May 1933, and there wasn’t a building on this lot.  Did it come from the collapsed building on Main Street?  Or is this just a picture from different year with no connection to the earthquake?  There’s no way at this late date to know for certain.  Like so many times when we try to find a definite answer to a historical question, we’re only led to more questions.

We’ll share more historical pictures and photos of Seal Beach as the year progresses.   Be sure to check back every Monday for a new Seal Beach image.

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