On this date in 1960, the new lifeguard headquarters went into service on the Seal Beach pier.
The new headquarters enhanced lifeguard effectiveness in two ways. The higher vantage point from the pier allowed better visibility of distant swimmers and sharks venturing near to shore. The new headquarters and the seven lifeguard towers on the beach were also equipped with telephone for faster and more detailed communications and coordination between the stations. Previously the lifeguards used signal flags to communicate with each other.
An added benefit for obsessive Seal Beach history buffs (like myself) is that photos showing the pier without a lifeguard tower can be dated no later than 1960. For example, this popular postcard was postmarked in 1962, but I’ve always suspected the photo itself was taken a few years earlier in the late 1950s. Now we know it was taken before the tower was built on the pier.
The tower stood on the west side of the pier as shown in this November 1963 photo.
Here’s a closer view of the pier from the same photo.
This tower was destroyed in 1983 when the pier was washed away by high surf. The current tower on the rebuilt pier was moved to the east side where it still stands today.
– Michael Dobkins