On this date in 1929, a fire was set in the Seal Beach Methodist Church auditorium.
This was no criminal act of arson, however. The only damage from the fire was to a mortgage note for the two lots at Tenth Street and Central Avenue where the church buildings stood. The mortgage was $2300 loaned in 1923 by Judge John C. Ord, one of the city’s founders (and the church’s neighbor across the Central Avenue.) The mortgage was completely destroyed.
The perpetrators of the blaze were Seal Beach mayor R. E. Dolley and J. Simonson of Long Beach. The two lit the fire in front of a crowd celebrating the paid off mortgage and the completion of a church remodeling that included a larger auditorium, a larger kitchen, modification to the stage and the addition of what was called “a commodious club room.”
Donations made towards the mortgage included $100 plus interest by the Ladies’ Aid Society, $800 from Mayor Dolley, $100 from Mr. and Mrs. D.P. Proctor, $400 from Judge Ord himself, and $1000 in individual gifts from Methodist Churches in Long Beach.
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.