November 5th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1961, the Seal Beach Republican Women’s Federation conducted a home tour of five Seal Beach homes and gardens, each decorated in either a Thanksgiving or Christmas holiday theme.

The tour started at 2 p.m. in the garden of Dorothy Henkey at 706 Ocean Avenue. Transportation to the other homes on the tour was offered to anyone who registered in advance with Charlotte Shuman of 204 Ocean Avenue.

Also on the tour were the homes of Captain and Mrs. Russell Grotomat at 11 Bolsa Street, Mr. and Mrs. Harry Buffum at 450 Ocean Avenue, Commander and Mrs. A.H. Sleeth at 404 Ocean Avenue, and Mr. and Mrs. Fred Lusk at 1530 Crestview Avenue. A highlight of the tour was a five foot dome designed and built by Mrs. Sleeth.

Mrs. M.L Johnstone, chairman of the committee that organized the tour told a Los Angeles Times reporter that refreshments were to be served during the tour by Mrs. Robert Osborne, Mrs. Dorian Boyd, Virginia Tessier, Mrs. Roy Jensen, Mrs. James Bonar, Mrs. R. Smith, and Mrs. James Harbison.

– Michael Dobkins

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3 Responses to November 5th in Seal Beach History

  1. Lonnie Brownell says:

    A Captain and a Commander? I’m sort of picturing the Banks’ neighbor in Mary Poppins, with full rigging on the roof and firing the cannon at 5pm. Except two of them. I need a time machine to go check it out.


    • Michael Dobkins says:

      This is not rigorously researched, but about twenty years ago when I was on the historical society’s board, we did a surfing program with Seal Beach surfers. One of the guests was Rich Harbour, and I think he’s the one that mentioned that a lot of sea captains used to retire to Seal Beach (I wonder if that’s why I used to see some much nautical decor in home landscapes in Old Town.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Lonnie Brownell says:

        It was a seaside town, so ocean-themed items were expected, but nautical items take it a step farther; add a legacy of sea captains retiring there, and it gives our little town a more…um…classical feel. Like New England-y, old houses with Widow’s Walks and, as mentioned, the ol’ Cap’n firing off a round when the cocktails flag goes up!


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