October 9th in Seal Beach History

On this date on the 1936, Chief Sperry Knighton and the Seal Beach fire department used the city’s hook and ladder truck to rescue a cat from a palm tree in front of 124 11th Street.

124 11th Street – Over 80 years after the emergency. The address remains, but the perilous palm tree is long gone.

The reason why this event was significant enough to warrant a story in the Santa Ana Register is that, after 15 months without a fire call within the city, this emergency call from residents concerned by the mewling of the trapped cat finally broke the department’s dry spell of no emergencies. 

Not the actual rescued cat (or even a cat that actually needs rescuing.) Also, not an actual palm tree. The only thing actual here is our pandering to the internet by posting a cute cat pic.

This is exactly the sort of thing a cat leash law would prevent. 

– Michael Dobkins

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8 Responses to October 9th in Seal Beach History

  1. Robert Black says:

    This was my child hood home through the 1940s. It hasn’t changed at all except the color. My dad died while we were living there in 1943. I remember setting in the dark and air raid sirens going of during the war. It was a great place to grow up in as a child. I also Knew Sperry Knighton ( family friend )

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Anonymous says:

    I remember Sperry, too. Also, the air raids. Lights out!!!


  3. Eugene W. says:

    Sperry & Grace were my Grandparents on my Dad’s side of the family. I miss them. a lot


    • Michael Dobkins says:


      They are still fondly remembered in Seal Beach today, although I must admit by fewer and fewer as times marches on. I know Sperry gets mentioned a bit in Larry Strawther’s book (amazon.com/Seal-Beach-History-Larry-Strawther/dp/1626194890), you might enjoy checking it out.

      By any chance, would you have any Sperry photos than could be scanned and shared?


      • Eugene W. says:

        Thank you for yhe link to that book..i will ask my sister [she is named after Grandma; Grace] if she has any of those photos. Thank you -e.w.


  4. Robert Black says:

    If there is some way I could send you a photo, I have a picture of me in front of the tree.


    • Michael Dobkins says:


      I know I’ve mentioned the possibility of getting together to scan some photos in years past, but some of my real life travails have gotten in the way. If you’re up for such a thing, let’s try to make it happen some day in the next three months. Let me know what you think.

      Take Care,


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