April 27th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1941, Philip Norton, Inc. ran the following real estate ad in the Long Beach Independent.  $3670 for an Ocean Avenue home just one hundred feet from the safest beach on the West Coast!

Philip Norton was a force in Los Angeles area in the first half of the twentieth century. Initially a journalist covering “oriental Russia,” Norton found his true calling when he entered the real estate business in 1921. He was active for decades on the Los Angels Real Estate Board, the California Real Estate Association, and the National Association of Real Estate Boards.  During his long career, Norton played a prominent role in developing many Southern California communities, such as Burbank, Brentwood, Moreno Highlands, Palos Verdes, and, yes, Seal Beach.

His involvement in Seal Beach dates from late 1938 when he purchased all the unsold Seal Beach property owned by Security First National Bank, property estimated in 1938 as being worth half a million dollars. For the next thirteen years,  Seal Beach homes owned and built by Philip Norton, Inc. were advertised as for sale in local papers, but Philip Norton didn’t limit his involvement in the city to just real estate sales.

Norton and his wife lived for a time on Seal Way and were active in the community. He was a member of the Seal Beach Lions Club, fished with his wife, and was a strong proponent of the movement to outlaw gambling on Main Street. Norton was the chairman of the Orange County war housing commission that oversaw the eviction, demolition, and relocation of Anaheim Landing homes when the Navy took over Anaheim Bay.

A handful of Santa Ana Register stories from 1939 to 1941 confusingly give his name as Philip A. Norton, but my personal theory is a reporter or editor absentmindedly gave Norton Philip Stanton’s middle initial. (That sort of mistake never happens on this blog. Ahem.) His given name was Charles Philip Norton, but he must have preferred Philip to Charles because he used “Philip Norton” in all his business dealing. 

Philip Norton retired to Palm Springs and died in 1961.

– Michael Dobkins

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.

This entry was posted in Seal Beach History and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s