August 10th in Seal Beach History

 On this date in 1944, a car crash fatality at Main Street and Bolsa Avenue in Seal Beach occurred, according to the Long Beach Independent. An unnamed reporter wrote the next day that “Claud Roland, 23, of the San Diego naval base, was killed at 7:27 last night.”

12-17-1936 aerial shot of Main Street as it turns into Bolsa Avenue right after crossing PCH

Roland had been turning on to Bolsa Avenue from Main Street when his tire blew. The car flipped over and skidded almost 30 feet, throwing passengers USMC Sergeant James Johnson of the Corona Navy Hospital and Mrs. June Blackman of Fullerton from the car. Blackman and Johnson suffered some bruises and lacerations, and pedestrians Edward Booker and Joe Jackman, both of the Naval Weapons Depot, couldn’t avoid being hit by the car, but were only slightly injured. The injured were taken to the Long Beach Naval Hospital, according to Seal Beach Police Sergeant Charles Irvine.

Police Chief Lee Howard, Captain James Morousek, and Sergeant Jack Whittington rushed to the accident scene and struggled to remove Roland from the overturned car wreckage, only to discover his head had been crushed and young Claud Roland was dead.

A 5/23/1931 aerial shot showing how Bolsa Avenue curved into Main Street at PCH and how Main Street continue up into the farmland on Landing Hill.

– Michael Dobkins

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6 Responses to August 10th in Seal Beach History

  1. Robert Black says:

    I was there at this accident, I was four years old at the time and still remember
    it and think of it occasionally.


    • Michael Dobkins says:

      Wow. I did not anticipate anyone reading this would also have witnessed the accident. Not a pleasant experience for anyone to have, but it must have been worse for a four year old.


  2. Anonymous says:

    How is it possible for this accident to happen when today Main St and Bolsa Ave. don’t connect. I know they may have at one time but I trying to picture in my head but I am unable to do so.


    • Michael Dobkins says:

      This was before the hill was developed or the Seal Beach Shopping Center was built. According to today’s Google Map, Main Street stops at PCH, and as soon as you cross it, you’re on Bolsa Avenue with Chase Bank on your left and CVS on your left. Bolsa Avenue then abruptly curves to right along the back of the CVS parking lot and continues towards McGaugh and the Naval Weapons Station. That’s where I believe the accident happened. (Maybe Robert Black can confirm this.)

      At the time of the accident, Main Street continued straight up into the hill to meet a ranch house next to what is now Gum Grove Park. (Don’t mistake this for today’s Silver Shoals Avenue.) Once it got past Bolsa Avenue, it appears to me in aerial shots to be a dirt road.

      Confused yet? I’ve got more trivial street trivia to share. Before the Long Beach Marina was constructed, Marina Drive was named Bolsa Avenue and quite clearly is a continuation of modern day Bolsa Avenue, although I’ve never seen an aerial photo showing the two roads connecting.

      I’ll try to post an photo of the intersection from 1936 that will show this all much more clearly, but for now check out this post for January 14th. It includes an aerial photo from 1922 that shows how Bolsa Avenue and Main Street met in the old days (even before the dirt road to the hill).

      Hmm. I need to do some relabeling on some of those images.


  3. Anonymous says:

    The accident was located on the north side of Bolsa, between Seal Beach Blvd. And pch. Back then Bolsa ended into Main st. at pch. The only thing along Bolsa then was farm land from pch to the trees. (the trees is what we kids called it back then). Robert Black.


    • Michael Dobkins says:

      I’ve added two aerial photos from the thirties to show the intersection before the shopping center and the housing tracts were built. I wish I had time to label everything, but I have work to finish today.


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