November 26th in Seal Beach History

On this date in 1954, 58-year old widow Ernestine Goetz refused to be interviewed by reporters and secluded herself inside her home in the Seal Beach Trailer Park.

The West Virginia Supreme Court had just ruled that Ernestine would inherit an equal share of an estimated 4.5 million dollar estate that belonged to an eccentric aunt of her deceased husband. Mr. Goetz had contested the will with two other Goetz relatives, but had passed away in 1953.

Ernestine Goetz was understandably overwhelmed by the situation. “Just say I’m grateful. I have no plans. I’m sorry — I’m a little shy,” she shared from behind the door of her green trailer.

And that was all the reporters got from her. Ernestine continued to live in the trailer park for a couple more years according to voting records, but her trail runs cold after that.

– Michael Dobkins

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7 Responses to November 26th in Seal Beach History

  1. Pingback: Top Five Posts Of 2017 | This Date in Seal Beach History

  2. Lonnie Brownell says:

    Where was the Seal Beach Trailer Park then? I see there’s one now, sort of, between Welcome Way and 1st street — same place? That’s terra incognita in my town memories.


    • Michael Dobkins says:

      It’s the same footprint as today’s more upscale trailer park except it also included townhouses on the north side of Marina Drive (then Bolsa Avenue) between the river and First Street. Here’s a 1947 aerial of the trailer park that’ll give you a better idea of what it looked like. For all we know, Ernestine Goetz was down there in her trailer the moment the plane passed overhead and the photographer snapped this shot.


      • Lonnie Brownell says:

        Very nice! I looked in the tag cloud in the right margin but didn’t see “Trailer Park”, thanks for the link.

        I assume the dirt road that opens onto Bolsa/Marina is 1st street. I’m thinking it was that way — maybe — when I lived on 2nd street, too young to cross Marina on my own (and maybe a bit intimidated). Even later, I don’t remember ever walking/biking/driving on that stretch of road, even after the Oakwood Apartments were built (which now appears to be “Eaves”).


        • Michael Dobkins says:

          First street didn’t extend past Bolsa Ave./Marina Dr. until the late sixties/early seventies. It would be paved along the right edge of the photo. The current streets inside the trailer park don’t reflect the original layout of the trailer park.

          Something I’ve never noticed is that there appears to be a railroad spur along that same right edge. Perhaps it was used for Pacific Electric freight loading and unloading at the Dow Chemical Plant.


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