On this date in 1931, a letter from Seal Beach Mayor Frank Wilson was read to Los Angeles Board of Supervisors explaining the Seal Beach city council’s opposition to the Flood Control District’s plans to improve the San Gabriel River channel by straightening it and adding two jetties to catching drifting sands to build more of a beachfront.
In the letter, Mayor Wilson said:
“The residents of Seal Beach for many years have visualized a sixty-foot vehicular bridge across the Alamitos Bay channel and the City Council, as a whole, is now reluctant to commit any official act the would in any wise jeopardize the rights of the municipality.
The Council feels that the plans for San Gabriel flood control should not be approved as requested by Engineer Eaton until some provision has been made for such a vehicular bridge.”
In other words, if you want your flood control, give us a bridge.
There were other concerns expressed in the letter — care for the cooling waters from the Los Angeles Gas and Electric Corporation’s steam plant, a permanent right of access to any beach formed by the east jetty, and the need for the two jetties to be constructed at equal lengths.
But the most important idea was Seal Beach needed an Ocean Avenue bridge for automobiles replacing the rail bridge used exclusively for Pacific Electric red car trolleys.
Negotiations continued until an agreement was reached to include an Ocean Avenue bridge in the project in July 1931, and Seal Beach approved the project. The Los Angeles Gas and Electric Corporation granted a right-of-way for the bridge in September, and the War Department approved the plans in October 1931.
Construction began in early 1932, and the completed bridge was opened to traffic on October 20, 1932. Mrs. Phillip A. Stanton cut the string.
And that, my friends, is how Seal Beach got itself a bridge in a short nineteen and a half months.
– Michael Dobkins
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