Tuesday, October 1, 2013

1914 July - October

Sales Campaign Comes to an End
July - October 1914


A family of four could buy land and a cottage, completely furnished, for $750 in Seal Beach.  Only $75 was required as a down payment, followed by monthly payments of $10.  The city and its beach was a perfect place for families to picnic and feed the seals, in fact there was soon to be a seal farm.

Long Beach Press 7/13/1914
SEAL FARM FOR GROWING RESORT: Seals and Sea Lions to be Tamed and Trained to Perform by Expert
     In accordance with its name, Seal Beach is to have a seal farm, so states the latest announcement, where seals and sea lions are to be tamed and trained to perform.  Work of developing this farm is now in progress and already several large seals have been secured.
     The farm is to be fostered by the Guy M. Rush Company and the Pacific Electric Railway, together with the Bayside Land Company.
     The farm will be located at the Seal Beach end of the trestle of the Long Beach line of Alamitos Bay.  It is planned to spend several thousand dollars in erection of proper buildings and comfortable pens for the animals.

Los Angeles Times 7/26/1914
"The World's Most Famous Smiles.  Try Seal Beach for a summer vacation and get a smile like one of these that won't come off.  Try Seal Beach this summer for a vacation that pays a dividend.  Try Seal Beach this summer for an investment that is guaranteed by two of the most powerful things in the world - the scarcity of beach property and the growth of Los Angeles - 65,000 new residents a year.  Seal Beach is 4 miles east of Long Beach.  Forty-four minutes from Los Angeles.  Has the choice of two electric car lines.  Regular Newport car on every hour and Seal Beach-Long Beach cars connecting with Long Beach and Los Angeles cars.  Growing like a weed and sturdy as an oak.  Nearly 1000 people have bought there within the year.  Upwards of $1,000,000 going into improvements."

W.R. de Tree operated the billiard hall in Seal Beach.  Playing billiards was a popular past time, 
Long Beach Press 7/28/1914
but it was strictly a man's game, no women allowed.  The game originated in France and the term "billiard" came from the French word for stick, "bille."  In 1575, King Henry II was the first of many French monarchs to adopt the sport installing a primitive triangular-shaped table in his chateau.  The earliest tables were equipped with obstacles such as hoops and pegs, but the French simplified "the royal game," as they called it, as they went along.
  The sport was so popular in the American colonies that leading figures of the Revolution, such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, devoted as much of their spare time to the cue as they did working for the cause of freedom.  The White House always had a billiard room, and Abraham Lincoln was one of many presidents who took to the billiard table after a hard day dealing with affairs of state.
  A major improvement in equipment occurred midway in the nineteenth century when piano manufacturers turned out standardized billiard tables.  In the late 1890s - 1920s it was fashionable to boast that you had a billiard table in your home or community, which Seal Beach did in this July 1914 ad.
Besides billiards, dancing was popular in Seal Beach as this ad shows.
Daily Telegram 3/7/1914

Long Beach Press 8/11/1914
"A vacation opportunity.  Seal Beach. Twin pavilions and pier, costing $100,000, complete and now in use.  They contain the finest dancing floor on the coast and finest bowling alleys possible to build.  Over 300 dressing rooms for the accommodation of bathers, modern in every respect and a beach without an undertow..."

The Guy M. Rush Real Estate Company planned to make the pier a "Jeweled City," dazzling with electric lights.  They got this idea from the Tower of Jewels at the San Francisco Exposition of 1915.  In 1916, the Bayside Land Company purchased several of the great scintillators from the exposition which added sparkles and flashes to the electric lights, adding them to the Seal Beach pier.

Los Angeles Times 8/16/1914
"Planning the play time home. Seal Beach.  Put it where the fun is.  Put it on the shores of the Pacific with nothing between you and China but blue water and salt breezes. Put it between the two great still water bays, where there is motor boating, swimming, fishing, hunting, motoring, dancing, clam bakes and good old-fashioned loafing.  Put it by the sea where the undertow is left out.  Put it 44 minutes from Los Angeles - 4 miles from Long Beach.  Put it where it will pay a dividend in dollars as well as joy.       Atlantic City property doubled in valuation in less than seven years.  Seal Beach is the Atlantic City of the west - that's the place to put your playtime house..." 

A price for a Seal Beach lot close to the sea was $750, not bad considering that a lot on Long Island, New York, of the same size in 1914 would cost you $3,000.

Long Beach Ppress 8/19/1914
"Where your dreams come true.  It requires no imagination to produce a picture of the future of Seal Beach. The picture accompanying this advertisement is but the history of other beach cities under less favorable conditions than are enjoyed at Seal Beach..."

In Seal Beach your dreams could come true.     There was still vast acreage the city could expand into and money to be made.  Eleven thousand acres of farmland belonging to the Hellman ranch extended north of Seal Beach.  Here farmers grew beans, sugar beets and barley.  I.W. Hellman was thinking of subdividing this land he acquired in the 1880's into ten and twenty-acre tracts as Seal Beach expanded.

Long Beach Press 8/26/1914

"The comforts of the city and the joys of the beach are alike to be realized at Seal Beach.       Gas, electricity  water, paving and sidewalks are present for your comfort.  Delightful climate, a safe bathing beach with no undertow, big twin pavilions, including bath house accommodating 300 bathers, add to the pleasure of visitors and residents..."







Los Angeles Times 8/30/1914

"Tickle Your Tummy Just Once.  Get a shore dinner at Seal Beach - the place where good shore dinners flourish.  Live at Seal Beach all the year round.  Cook shore dinners for yourself.  Get a lot now while there is till a choice.  400 new lots on the market..."

This ad helped publicize that a special fish dinner was to be served at the Seal Beach Inn and a dance given in honor of Labor Day.

Daily Telegram 9/4/1914
BIG PICNIC AT SEAL BEACH ON LABOR DAY WILL BE MONSTER OUTING
     The committee in charge of the Labor Day picnic to be held at Seal Beach September 7 are shaping up and adding to their program.  There will be professional and semi-professional bicycle races with prizes which have been donated by different bicycle supply houses.
     The committee is making a diligent search for a fat man to race against Frank Rector as they do not want to fall down on any part of their program.
     W.F. Maurer will attempt to beat Beechie in a loop-the-loop in a two-by-four baby arrowplane.  The winner will meet H.T. Marsh in his Ford at the top of the flagpole and together will put up a pennant "Long Beach - The Fastest Growing City on the Continent." R. Fay Taggart will then swallow the ocean to show how easy it is done.  He is now in San Pedro practicing up.  If any of these contestants fail to show up Robert Strathern, H.H. Brown and A.E. Waggoner will take their places.
     A prominent Labor Day speaker will be present ---Mr. J.B. Bowen, international organizer of the L.I.U. of Cleveland, Ohio.

"Go Sunday morning to Seal Beach.  Boulevards all the way.  Right to the spray.  A delightful auto
Los Angeles Times 8/30/1914
trip and the assurance of a delightful day.  Two still water bays and the surf without an undertow.  The same boulevards that lead to Seal Beach also take you to the safest, sanest investment to be had in Southern California - guaranteed by nature and the fastest developing section of the entire country.  Lots $500 and up, easy payments."









Los Angeles Times 9/6/1914



All sorts of activities were planned for Seal Beach's Labor Day picnic.

Daily Telegram 9/7/1914
SEAL BEACH IS BUSY PORT: IS ENTERTAINING THOUSANDS OF PICNICKERS TODAY
     Seal Beach is the Mecca for thousands on Labor Day and it is expected that all facilities for the accommodations of the crowd will be tested to the fullest extent.  However, Seal Beach has grown rapidly during the past year and the accommodations for taking care of the crowd have been tripled.
     Several organizations are having their outing there.  From Long Beach a thousand members of the building trades organization with their wives and families will have an old-fashioned outing with outdoor sports.
     The railway mail clerks, who make Los Angeles their headquarters, are listening to the murmur of the waves and splash in the surf instead of trying to keep their balance on swaying mail cars.  Three hundred of them with their families will occupy another portion of the beach and forget the distractions of the route case.
     Five hundred mail clerks from the Los Angeles post office are making merry with a big campfire, clam roast, baseball game and other athletic entertainments.

Daily Telegram 9/8/914
PICNIC PROVED BIG SUCCESS: A DAY OF SPORT AND JOLLITY - THE PRIZEWINNERS
     Seal Beach was comfortably crowded on Labor Day with a crowd estimated at fully three thousand people, a great portion of whom came from Long Beach.  From early morning the streetcars were crowded and auto busses carried hundreds to the lively little resort.  there were also about five hundred from Los Angeles Railway and post office mail clerks.  The large basket picnic was served in the picnic pavilion, and groups were clustered under the pier and wherever a shady spot could be found.  Free coffee and sugar was served to all.
     At 2 p.m. the dance hall was thrown open and the dance continued till 11 o'clock.  The program of sports was started about 2 p.m.  The first contest was a 50-yard dash for boys won by Clarence Gilman of Los Angeles.  Prize ,$3 hat donated by Hansen's Clothes Shop.
     The second contest girls' 50-yard dash was won by Mary McClaren, 411 East First Street.  Prize box of candy donated by Purycar's Sanitary Grocery Co.
     Lady's race won by Mrs. Katie Densmore (Signal Hill).  Prize, 2-pound box of candy from Miller's Chocolate Shop.
     The heavy ladies' race was hard contested, requiring three heats, and was finally declared a draw, each lady receiving a box of candy.  The participants in the last heat were Mrs. F.J. Roberts of Los Angeles and Mrs. Roy Culp of Redondo Avenue.  Prizes from Miller's Chocolate Shop.
     Fat men's race was won by Charles Faulstick.  Prize, box of cigars donated by Arthur Myers.
     Free-for-all won by C. Gillmore, Los Angeles.  Box of cigars donated by Building Trades Council.
     Sack race won by Clarence Adams of Seal Beach.  Prize, shirt donated by Silverwood's store with a conscience.
     The tug of war between the Los Angeles mail clerks and the Long Beach Building Trades Council was won by the latter with ease. Prize, box of cigars donated by the Trades Council.
     The relay race between the Los Angeles mail clerks and Long Beach Building Trades Council was won by the mail clerks.
     The child's race, under 6 years of age was won by David S. Kingsbury, 524 West Broadway, Prize, a chair donated by F.H. Downs Furniture Co.
     Semi-professional bicycle race, first prize won by Jimmie Fisher, and second prize by Vick Stein both of Long Beach.
     There was a fine ball game between the railway and Los Angeles  mail clerks won by the former.  The two mail clerk organizations joined in with the Long Beach delegation and helped greatly to make the day a complete success.  It was one of the best outings the labor organizations have enjoyed for years.

Long Beach Press 9/8/1914
"'Big guns' buying at Seal Beach.  Businessmen of affairs are buying lots at Seal Beach for their families and additional lots for investment - an investment guaranteed by the scarcity of fine beach property close to the great center of population and by the fastest growing section of the country.  Lots $500 and up, easy payments."

On August 1, 1914, Germany declared war in Europe.  Americans vowed to remain neutral, but as this ad illustrates, America was prepared to defend itself.  When the United States entered the war in 1917 prosperity and growth of Seal Beach came to a halt.  Building supplies were requisitioned for the war and attendance dropped dramatically at the Seal Beach amusement zone.

Los Angeles Times 9/20/1914
SEAL BEACH A PRODIGY
     Nature has done much for Seal Beach, for the western portion of the city lies on a high bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean just like the Palisades at Santa Monica, and like the Palisades at Santa Monica it has a rich sandy loam soil which makes it especially desirable for homes of the better class, and besides, this section of the city  has great natural advantages over the palisades at Santa Monica because it overlooks, in addition to the blue waters of the Pacific, the beautiful Alamitos Bay, whose waters wind in and out among the beautiful environs of Naples.
     The eastern part of Seal Beach slopes gently down to the waters of the ocean on the south and the delightful waters of Anaheim Bay on  the east, and by many this is considered the most desirable section for investment as it is close to the bath house, dancing pavilion and main business portion of the city, and also is the part where most improvements and new buildings are going up.  Great changes have taken place in this portion of the city since the Guy M. Rush Company, who are the sole agents for Seal Beach, became interested in the city.  The sand dunes have been graded off and the sand used to fill in a section where it was not quite so high.  Miles of graded streets have been put in, while excellent cement sidewalks and curbs are in evidence on both sides of these streets.
     This is also the section where most all of the improvements have been made during the past year, houses and buildings of different kinds having gone up on all sides, some of the homes being mansions equal to those found in Los Angeles and other larger and older cities.  The opportunities for investment now at Seal Beach are better than ever before because it has grown by leaps and bounds during the last few months and has passed the stage where it is a question whether it is going to become a home city and resort or not.  There is a magnificent large bath house and pavilion which will compare favorably with any other such structure on the Pacific coast: it contains hundreds of dressing rooms for the accommodations of bathers, and also a large plunge, which is the delight of both young and old.  Another section of the gigantic building is given over for billiards and beautiful bowling alleys, which are enjoyed by the ladies as well as the men.

"Landing in the right place.  Property within sight and sound and smell of the sea is limited by
Long Beach Press 9/21/1914
nature.  The demand for this property is bound to increase with the growth of Los Angeles and vicinity..."


Beach property was limited by nature, in Seal Beach you could purchase land for $500 ($750 if you wanted beach front), a goodly sum considering the average income in 1914 was $682 per year.  Not all professions were poorly paid, a construction worker in 1914 made $1325 a year, postal workers $1150, ministers $938, electric railway employees $735.  Farm laborers did not fare so well, earning only $351.  In 2012 dollars that same $500 lot would equate to $11,800---still a bargain by today's standards!


The California sea lion that frequented Seal Beach was intelligent, playful and friendly (as seen in this Oct. 6th ad) when approached by humans.  If one
Long Beach Press 10/6/1914
happened to live around the shores of Alamitos Bay up through the 1950s, the likelihood of being adopted by a sea lion or seal was good.  As far back as the turn to the twentieth century, newspapers were talking about the special relationship between humans and the silky, black mammal.  In 1906,  the Daily Telegram of Long Beach, related how young Will Graves caught a baby seal in his net while fishing.  After keeping it a few days, Will lost interest in the little fellow.  He ended up giving it to a neighbor, who took it home to keep company with the other pets she had.  The seal, "Jimmy," provided with a tub of water and plenty of fish, thrived well and grew at an amazing speed and eventually became a circus star.  


"Some Seal Beach bathing.  Come on In!  Let your youngster say it.  Give him a chance to say it.
Long Beach Press 10/9/1914
 Where the sand is clean, and the fun is clean and the ocean safe.  Get a life-long lease on the surf bathing and the still water..."


In August 1924, Philip A. Stanton and the Bayside Land Company vowed to set aside the sand strip where the seals liked to meet, for a permanent city park. Stanton promised the seals would be given a full-time police unit to see they were not molested.
  Seals weren't the only concern of Seal Beach officials.  In the 1970's pet laws were revamped and an ordinance was drafted requiring leashes for cats and dogs alike.  Cat owners were so incensed a compromise law was passed, this one prohibiting cats from "trespassing."  However, there was no law against seals trespassing, as Mrs. Sam Ashbrook found out one evening.  She reached down to pet her cat, but what she found instead was a fifty-pound seal.  She was amazed, because her apartment was on the second floor an the seal had to have climbed twenty steps to get there!
Long Beach Press 10/16/1914

"Swing into line with your friends into health, into profits.  Get the Seal Beach swing!  Give your boy and your girl a chance for clean pleasure and for health, buy them a play place and yourself a rest place..."
Los Angeles Times 11/23/1913

Henri DeKruif did other illustrations for the Guy M. Rush Company, which had numerous other real estate tracts throughout Southern California, such as this one advertising Brooklyn West, a real estate development on Washington Boulevard.

  The company also invented a form of "frequent flyer" miles.  Every time prospective buyers
Los Angeles Times 10/4/1914
visited one of the company's subdivisions they earned free mileage (scrip) on any railroad, steamship, or Pacific Electric rail line traveling to either the San Francisco or San Diego Pan Pacific expositions, as this ad demonstrates.  Every dollar paid on an actual purchases of land entitled the buyer to one free mile for every dollar paid.  In addition, all monthly payments during the first year earned mileage towards a free trip.  But the payment had to be on time!

Daily Telegram 10/17/1914

This ad on October 17, 1914, was the last to  appear in local newspapers touting the virtues of Seal Beach.  For fifteen months the Bayside Land Company had utilized the talents of Henry Gilbert DeKruif to sell real estate in their new development.  During the fall and winter season of 1913-1914, 65,000 tourists came to California.  Many remained, choosing Seal Beach as their home.

On October 19, 1915, residents of Seal Beach voted 84 to 14 to incorporate and become a real city.  Miletus H. Snow, whose family owned the A.B. Snow Lumber Company, was selected to handle the finances of the new city as treasurer, the only paid position.  City Clerk was A.L. Havens, a real estate promoter and secretary of the Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce.  Trustees included Harry G. Magie, an employee of the Bayside Land Company; Herman J. Eichorn, a wiring inspector for the Los Angeles Gas and Electric Company; James Hamilton Blagge, a life insurance salesman and stock broker; C.A. Little, pharmacist.
  City founder John Ord was unanimously elected mayor by all 98 citizens casting ballots.  At the November 4, 1915, meeting of the city council, Ord was presented with a gavel and block made from a Cassia tree.  The tree had been planted by the judge in front of the post office, which was the first building in Seal Beach.  Shortly after Judge Ord resigned as postmaster of the city, the tree died.  An interesting co-incidence.
Seals by the Pacific Electric trestle
  The seals that gave the town its name were not forgotten either.  Ordinance No. 3 adopted the seal for the city of Seal Beach.  The seal for the city would be a circle with the sea mammal in the center, and the name "Seal Beach" impressed upon the seal, and the words "incorporated October 27, 1915,"(the date the State approved the election results) directly below.
  The Bayside Land Company was still actively involved in the city.  Phil Stanton arranged to bring a number of displays from the San Franciso Panama-Pacific International exposition.  Most notable was a battery of scintillators (searchlights) with colored lenses which were erected on the end of the pier lighting up the sky for a distance of fifty miles.  A big fountain called the "Setting Sun" was also bought from San Francisco and placed in front of the pavilions and stocked with live seals.  Many of the classic fountains, statues and ornamental light standards, which lent beauty and charm to the great courts and passages between the palaces at the exposition, were also shipped to Seal Beach.  Four thousand feet of ocean frontage were set aside to handle all the attractions coming from San Francisco and the new roller coaster.
 
Roller coaster
The new amusement zone, complete with the latest state-of-the-art roller coaster opened May 1, 1916, but development would soon come to a halt when, on April 2, 1917, the United States went to war with Germany.  All amusement areas were declared non essential and with it attendance at Seal Beach dropped.  Following the war new amusement places sprung up and the attractions at Seal Beach were almost forgotten, according to the Long Beach Press (12/9/1923).  To make matters worse a terrific fire in August 1923 destroyed much of what was known as "Seal Way."

 The economic depression of the 1930's further affected Seal Beach's amusement zone and in March 1935 a plan to improve the beach front meant the removal of the roller coaster.  Two granite jetties were built to deflect sand from the beaches. One ran 1400 feet from the east end of
The Anaheim Landing jetty, built in 1936
Seal Beach at Anaheim Landing.  The other extended out from the west limit of the beach at Alamitos Bay.  Wrecking "unsightly structures" along the beach front, included the removal of much of Seal Way.  In July of that same year sixteen people were trapped on the Seal Beach pier when a 60-foot section of the shore end collapsed into the ocean.  In December 1936  high winds and heavy seas washed away another 50-foot section of the pier.  A new $110,000 pier, paid for with federal money, was dedicated May 20-21 1939.  The 1865 foot long structure also included a restaurant and boat landing.

  In early 1944 a mass exodus of 300 homes at Anaheim Landing began, as many were either moved or razed to make way for the $20,000,000 Navy ordnance depot.  Construction on the 5000 acre depot began March 28, 1944, and operations began in late October.  Also in 1944 the Marine Exploration Company began to drill for oil in the ocean off Seal Beach.
  With new jetties, a Navy station, oil drilling and other developments encompassing Seal Beach, the seal that gave name to the city began to seek new lodgings.  However, it would not be forgotten.  In 1941 the Walt Disney studio presented the city of Seal Beach this image.  Which do you prefer?  The Disney version or the DeKruif original??

Disney seal 

DeKruif seal













This brings to an end the series of  illustrations by Henri DeKruif promoting the Guy M. Rush Company's transformation of Bay City to Seal Beach.  I hope you've enjoyed the ads, as well as articles.

Claudine Burnett












Monday, September 2, 2013

1914 April - June

                              Spring Marketing Campaign

                                               April, May, June 1914
Long Beach Press 4/3/1914
"Seal Beach - on the spring-board of fortune.  A lot at Seal Beach is the spring board that will boost your fortune.  It is the best investment opportunity today.  Go with one of our free excursions; investigate for yourself and be convinced."

There were many opportunities to make money in real estate in Seal Beach.  Property that sold for $4600 in July 1913 was now worth $1,000.

"Grasping opportunity for investment and fortune at Seal Beach.  Streets graded and oiled; 15 foot
Long Beach Press 4/14/1914
alleys; cement walks and curbs; electric lights; everything paid for.  300 room bath house, dancing pavilion...."

On the point of land at the entrance to Alamitos Bay, west of Seal Beach, stood a flagpole proudly flying the American flag.  At its base a large sign read: "From 150 to 200 seals have made their home at Seal Beach for the past 8 or 10 years.  They are usually found in front of this sign at low tide.  As the tide rises they go out to fish, returning only to their sunning grounds at this point after feeding.  The seals are very timid and have been disturbed a great deal by the railroad work, but are now returning to their old habits and should be seen here in numbers at low tide."
      April was the month that baby sea lions (it was sea lions, not seals, who really hung out in Alamitos Bay).  Visitors flocked to Seal Beach to watch the mothers in the bay giving the youngsters fishing lessons and carrying them on their backs when they go tired.  Like human children, the young seals had to be taught to swim.  They also loved to play with people in the water and, in fact would follow a person onto the shore.  This was sad, because a mother seal would often reject her offspring if it smelled of a human.

"Everybody's happy at Seal Beach.  Seal Beach lot owners are as happy as the seals.  Go down on
Long Beach Press 4/25/1914
our free excursion and see them feed the seals between 11 o'clock and noon."

Seals continued to be the advertising theme of the city. In 1925, local fishermen in Alamitos Bay were angry because the seals destroyed fishing nets and ate too many fish.  An average seal consumed 8 to 10 pounds of fish a day, but this was only a fraction of the fish they killed each day, according to those trying to get rid of them.  In Long Beach it was suggested that the seals be moved to Lake Elsinore.  It was an ideal spot, according to some.  The lake was stocked with carp, which humans did not like to eat, but which would make fine feed for the seals.  With the seals out of the way, the State could stock the bay with striped bass and other edible fish, making it one of the greatest fishing spots in the world.
P.A. Stanton
    Seal Beach would have nothing to do with removing their beloved seals.  Bayside Land Company president Philip Stanton sponsored and helped pass a bill in the California legislature protecting the furry mammals.  Stanton had served as a member of the State Assembly from 1903 to 1909; he chaired the Ways and Means Committee in 1905 and was Speaker of the House for four terms.  In 1919 he ran for governor.  He was instrumental in creating not only the city of Seal Beach, but Huntington Beach and Stanton, as well.  It was his influence that allowed Seal Beach to win the battle of the seals against the big city of Long Beach across the bay.  Elected to the California Highway Commission in 1931, Stanton continued to help Seal Beach and Orange County by building roads.  Born in Cleveland, Ohio, February 4, 1868, the 77-year-old Stanton was to die at his home in Seal Beach on September 8, 1945.

Long Beach Press 5/2/1914

Among the residents of Seal Beach, anxious to help tourists, was R.D. Richards, proprietor of Tent City; Mrs. N.B. Wilson, of the Seal Beach Inn; O.O. Richardson, owner of a grocery and delicatessen shop; druggist C.A. Little; M.H. Snow, manager of the A.B. Snow Lumber Co.; F.E. Brown, carpenter and contractor; F. Haegerle and Louis Boiteaux, who sold oysters and clams; W. Floyd Stevens, who ran a dairy; M.L. Russell, rancher; Charles Brooks, caterer; D.R.S. Shaffer, who raised chickens; B.B. Brown who managed "The Seal" refreshment stand; W.J. Edwards, farmer; Chris Welland, apartment house manager; Ira E. Patterson, contractor; G.E. Moon & A.L. Havens, real estate agents; and John C. Ord, businessman, judge and post office manager, whose dreams of a city had been realized.

Los Angeles Times 5/3/1914
WHERE GLOSSY SEALS SPLASH. Season of Activity Begun at Seal Beach
     Seal Beach is one of the most conspicuous of the recent real estate successes of Southern California.  Since July 8, 1913, when this property was put upon the market, over $750,000 worth of property has been sold by the Guy M. Rush Company, according to representatives of that concern, who also say that 1914 promises to be an even more active year.
     Improvements of great scope are being planned, including a cement esplanade from Alamitos Bay to Anaheim Bay, making this one of the most delightful stretches of cement roadway on either the Pacific or Atlantic oceans.
     Seal Beach is now erecting a $12,000 school building, which will be fireproof and modern in every detail, and will afford excellent educational advantages.
     From 50 to 200 seals are at Seal Beach constantly and these constitute one of the main attractions of the place.  The Guy M. Rush Company has taken advantage of the preference of the seals for this particular spot of the Pacific Coast and has perfected every arrangement to feed them and keep them contented with the location. 

Long Beach Press 5/10/1914
In 1914, the Mexican Revolution was underway.  Many feared the violence across the border would spread to the United States. Local national guard units were sent to protect the international boundary line at Calexico.  Military recruitment was brisk once rumors of war surfaced.  In this ad, DeKruif enlists his seals to protect America.
  In 1915, rumors told of Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa fleeing Mexico to seek refuge in Southern California. Newspapers reported that he had gathered a big treasure and would soon cross the border and join his family.  His wife,  Juana, was living nearby, at Ninth Place and East Ocean Avenue in Long Beach.  Another war was soon to erupt---on August 1, 1914, Germany declared war in Europe.

Los Angeles Times 5/17/1914




"Here Ye! Seal Beach court is open.  Bay and ocean frontage.  This is the most ideal part of Seal Beach.  Frontage on the Pacific Ocean - and the great twenty-foot cement promenade.  Frontage on Anaheim Bay.

City founder and judge John Ord might have gotten help with his legal backlog from this seal!






Los Angeles Times 5/24/1914
"Seal Beach gets gas.  Old King Seal is a merry old seal.  A merry old seal is he.  He brings such luck to his Seal Beach folk theat they soon will live in luxury!  Seal Beach now enjoys every comfort of the city.  Gas mains are being rapidly installed and will be completed and serve every consumer by July 1st of this year.  Upwards of $500,000 is being spent in giving Seal Beach every modern improvement and comfort.  Electricity, water, gas, paved streets, cement sidewalks and curbs all in or being put in - not promised.  This is a beach that is - not a goin' to be..."

Natural gas mains were being installed in the city, something quite innovative for the time.  The first commercial national gas venture was in Fredonia, NY in 1858, when the Fredonia Gaslight and Waterworks Company undertook commercial exploitation of this new source of energy.  During the next fifty years scores of promoters developed similar natural gas wells, supplying factories as well as homes.  Increasing production of petroleum after 1900 boosted available natural gas enormously, since it appeared as a by-product.

Los Angeles Times 5/31/1914
"Seal Beach.  Seal Beach is at the place in the ocean where the undertow is left out.  Seal Beach is 44 minutes from Sixth and Main Streets, Los Angeles, on the Newport Electric line.  Seal Beach is just the other side of Long Beach - just this side of Anaheim Landing.  Seal Beach fronts a mile and a quarter on the finest bathing beach on the Pacific Coast.  Seal Beach is between Alamitos Bay and Anaheim Bay.  Seal Beach has more still water sports than any other place in Southern California - look at the map of California and see how few bays there are on the entire coast - Seal Beach has two of them.  Seal Beach has a new $100,000 amusement pavilion - try the new bowling alleys.  Nearly one million dollars of property has been sold at Seal Beach since the Guy M. Rush Company started its campaign here.  50 houses have been begun or finished.  300 lots are just now being put on the market - the choicest we have ever offered yet..."

This ad highlights the new bowling alley.  You'd score big if you decided to make Seal Beach your home!

Los Angeles Times 6/2/1914
"Every comfort is now enjoyed at Seal Beach.  Gas, water, electricity, paved streets, cement sidewalks, and curbs.  Ornamental trees.  Twenty-foot cement promenade on beach, 1 1/2 miles long. $100,000 twin pavilion and pier.  Almost $500,000 is being spent to make real comfort for Seal Beach folk..."

Women of the time were not all the romantic sort depicted in this DeKruif illustration.  Iva E. Tutts added to one of the "comforts" described in this ad. Mrs. Tutts operated the first electric light franchise in Long Beach from 1895-1899.  It was publicized as the "first electric plant in the United States, and probably in the world, to be installed and managed by a woman."

Los Angeles Times, 6/7/1914
LET HIGHWAY CONTRACT: Orange County Supervisors Authorize Beginning of Work Upon Coast Boulevard
     The road supervisors of Orange County have let the contract for the first section of the Coast boulevard, a highway that is to extend all the way from the Los Angeles county line at Seal Beach, through Sunset Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport and Laguna Beach to a junction with the State highway to San Diego, below San Juan Capistrano.
  The contract for the first section takes in the district beyond Seal Beach south and east to Los Patos (a Pacific Electric stop between Sunset Beach and Bolsa Chica).  This portion is built on the sand dunes between Anaheim Bay on the one side and the open ocean on the other.  It will parallel the Pacific Electric Railway on the landward side.  The width of the right of way is forty feet, and the width of the improved roadway is to be thirty feet, considered ample for all present traffic and for the future for at least ten or fifteen years.
  The character of the work to be done on this stretch of road is out of the ordinary.  Sections of the roadbed will have to be filled in and reclaimed from the Anaheim sloughs, while at other points the beach sand will  have to be graded down.  Provision will also have to be made to prevent the sea sand foundations from shifting...

The 40-foot wide Coast Highway, mentioned above, had concrete 6-7 inches thick, which was poured in segments which took 28 days to cure.  The cost of the highway was $9500/mile!

Long Beach Press 6/9/1914
During the summer of 1914 a twenty-five foot wide cement walk, lined with electric lights was built along the entire oceanfront from Alamitos Bay to Anaheim Bay.  It was the perfect place to take a stroll with or without a baby carriage.

Long Beach Press 6/13/1914
SEAL BEACH WINS FAVOR FAST: Growing Crowds Visit Pretty, New Resort, by Chester Lee
...One of the pretty seaside towns that is rapidly growing in popularity and population is Seal Beach, which is located on the shore of the Pacific ocean, about twenty-six miles southerly from Los Angeles.  It is reached by electric railway every hour, the fare being 35 cents one way, 50 cents for a round trip and 35 cents round trip on a monthly commutation ticket, the time in transit from Los Angeles to Seal Beach being only forty-four minutes.
      Automobilists will find a hard, smooth highway the whole distance from the city to the limits of Seal Beach, over which the trip can be made, without exceeding the twenty and twenty-five miles per hour  speed limits in a trifle over an hour, following the highway to Long Beach and out of that city to the east via Ocean Avenue.
      The permanent population of Seal Beach does not exceed 400, but during "the season," from May to November, it often reaches a population of 2000, and when the extensive improvements now going on are completed the population will be largely increased.
    The attractions of Seal Beach comprise surf bathing, on a splendid beach; also boating on inland waters and the ocean; also fishing, both on the inland waters of Anaheim Bay and Alamitos Bay, and from the pier out 1000 feet into the ocean; also watching the seals, which congregate in large numbers on their breeding grounds, the sandy point of Alamitos Bay; also dancing in the splendid pavilion which has recently been erected at a cost of $100,000, besides other forms of amusement which will readily suggest themselves to the visitor.
    Seal Beach is located between Anaheim Bay and Alamitos Bay, the shore line on the ocean being about one and a quarter mile long.  The shore rises very gradually from the ocean, so that it not only offers exceptional advantages to the bathers, both adults and children, but is without any undertow and consequently is safe.  Bathing suits can be rented and worn all day, if desired, for 25 cents each, the bather alternating lying in the warm white sand or meeting the incoming waves as they break on the sloping shore.  In the bathhouse is a tide clock, which tells visitors the best time of day to go into the water.
     Both Anaheim Bay and Alamitos Bay have many varieties of fish which are readily caught by hook and line from row boats which can be rented for twenty-five cents an hour or $1 for a whole day, the arms of the bays extending inland along winding sloughs from three to eight miles.  Oysters and clams are dug at low tide.
    There are probably three hundred cottages or flats at Seal Beach that were built exclusively for rent, and these were all occupied last year and will be again this year by those visiting the sea shore.  Some visitors stay a week: others a month or more.  There are excellent hotels and eating houses at Seal Beach, so that even if only a stay of a few days is made the public can be accommodated.
    The land company, which owns extensive acreage, has a large force of men and teams now at work grading lots along the shore front, and also has a large pumping plant which is dredging sand from the sea shore and depositing at needed points on the townsite.  In the great pavilion four fine bowling alleys soon will be in operation, also an up-to-date cafe and a skating rink.
    Seal Beach will soon have a garage and probably a bank.  In preparation for the incoming summer visitors, the streets and lots are being cleaned up and made attractive.  A twenty-five-foot cement walk is being built along the entire ocean front the distance from Alamitos Bay to Anaheim Bay, a distance of more than a mile, and this is to be lined with electroller street lights.
Long Beach Press 6/16/1914


    You can buy a small cottage at Seal Beach, completely furnished for four persons, with a lot, for $750, and pay $75 down and $10 a month.  There also are lots in Seal Beach that alone sell for $5000.
    There are persons in Seal Beach who go out daily and dig native California oysters and clams, selling them for 25 cents a bucket.
    To the north of Seal Beach is quite an extended area of farming lands, one ranch there belonging to the Hellman estate containing 11,000 acres.  It is contemplated subdividing this land into ten and twenty-acre tracts, thus furnishing homes for a number of families and adding to the importance of Seal Beach.  Mr. Russell, who farms 550 acres of this land, has 200 acres in beans, 100 acres in sugar beets and 250 acres in barley, a sort of 3-B farm.

  

Next:  The ads end.

Monday, August 5, 2013

1914 January - March

Mother Nature Steps In


Los Angeles Times 1/25/1914
Winter was always a slow season for beach communities.  The winter of 1913-14 was exceptionally severe, with terrible storms.  Land sales in Seal Beach and all of Southern California took a deep dive when heavy rains and extensive flooding put a damper on the real estate market.  An unbelievable 6.64 inches of rain fell between January 15-19, 1914---this was indeed remarkable when the average yearly rainfall for the region was 14.98 inches!  Despite the weather, one Seal Beach ad did appear in January.  Promoters had hired a special train scheduled to leave Los Angeles at 10:30 a.m. to bring visitors to the shore.  It was hoped that the rain would stop and there would indeed be a "spring like" day at Seal Beach.

"It's spring at Seal Beach!  The wind is balmy at Seal Beach.  The tides are tame at Seal Beach.  It's shirt sleeve time at the beach without an undertow.  New homes - new buildings - improvements are being made every day at Seal Beach.  Don't fail to visit Seal Beach Sunday."

To let prospective buyers know that Seal Beach would continue, despite the floods, an article about Seal Beach's "commitment" to its residents, and future, appeared the same day as the ad.

Los Angeles Times 1/25/ 1914
ACCEPT SCHOOL SITE
     By a unanimous vote, the citizens of Seal Beach on Tuesday decided to accept the $6000 tract of land offered them by the Guy M. Rush Company and the Bayside Land Company as a site for a school building.  The offer to the citizens was made with the understanding that they would add a like amount to their appropriation for building purposes, making a total of $12,000 available for the proposed structure.  Situated between Eleventh and Twelfth streets, within two blocks of the ocean and close to the car line, the acre site of the new school is practically in the center of the populated district of Seal Beach.  The structure is to be modern in every respect with every convenience needed for the comfort of the pupil.  It is to be constructed of brick and cement and will have a tile roof.

Special Pacific Electric rail cars were set aside on certain Saturday and Sundays to take visitors to Seal Beach during the winter of 1914, as the following ads indicate.
Los Angeles Times 2/1/1914





"Summer is only a wink away.  Get your house in order for beach time.  Make ready for fun time at the beach without an undertow.  Nature has given every blessing to Seal Beach.  Don't wait until wise investors have snapped up all the bargains.  It's paint time at Seal Beach.  It's brighten-up-time at Seal Beach.  It's sure-to-profit-time at Seal Beach.  It's ought-to-buy-time at Seal Beach now..."





Los Angeles Times 2/8/1914






Seal Beach is neat as a pin.  Seal Beach is always clean - Seal Beach is always safe - there is no undertow.  Seal Beach is the livest, fastest growing beach near Los Angeles.  Seal Beach can't stand still, it's going straight ahead.  Don't wait til summer to buy there.  Get a strangle-hold on certain profit.  Population is leaping forward and beach property won't stretch - it's getting scarcer..."





Long Beach Press 2/12/1914

"Landing in the right place. Free Valentine excursion to Seal Beach, Saturday, February 14th, 1914, at 11 a.m."

In order to promote sales in this sluggish winter season, realtors offered free trips to Seal Beach on Valentine's Day.  

Daily Telegram 2/11/1914
NEWS GOSSIP FROM SEAL BEACH
     The pretty weather is bringing quite a number of visitors to this beach where they enjoy the good air.
     Mr. Mills, the new manager of the pavilion is delighted with the crowds that storm the dances Saturday and Sunday and thinks there is great hope for the future.
     Mr. Charles Waters has succeeded in making a picture of a large number of seals on the sand, which will soon be on the market.
     If you want the Telegram, our home paper, call at the Seal Beach Inn and you will be served with pleasure.
     When our school started last September we were blessed with three pupils.  Now we have 47, and we will soon have a fine schoolhouse.
     The Bayside Land company is busy cutting all the streets through to the ocean, which will be a great improvement.
     Judge Ord made a good purchase on Main Street a few days ago.  The judge is about the oldest citizen in Seal Beach.


Long Beach Press 2/14/1914
The amusement zone pictured in this illustration was owned by the Bayside Land Company and was popularly known as "Seal Way."  Here one could find a bowling alley, billiard room, dance pavilion, ice cream parlor and much more.  This entertainment zone helped Seal Beach become one of the most popular beach communities in California.  However, Seal Beach depended on its closest neighbor, Long Beach, for fire protection.  On August 31, 1923, the pavilion and pier were saved from total destruction by the heroic work of Long Beach firemen.  A lighted cigarette started the blaze which gutted a portion of the east end of the pavilion.  A shooting gallery, three storerooms, and a fortuneteller's booth were destroyed.  Losses were estimated at $10,000.



Los Angeles Times 2/15/1915



The early twentieth century is often viewed as the golden age of professional baseball.  The sport was truly national, with no competition as yet from professional football or basketball.  Fans were very enthusiastic about their favorite teams and millions attended National and American League games.  Minor league teams were also popular.  Local
folks supported the Los Angeles Angels, members of the Pacific Coast League. 

Los Angeles Times 2/15/1914
TO STRENGTHEN PIER
     The first work of beautifying the strand at Seal Beach as started this week when the Mercereau Construction Company began the strengthening of the pier with new pilings and general reconstruction.  When this is completed, the Guy M. Rush Company, which is handling Seal Beach property, states that the pier will be put into first-class shape, with electric lights at short spaces and resting seats.  All this work is to be in conformity with the proposed cement promenade that is planned to extend the full length of the waterfront at this place.  The construction of the cement sidewalks and curbs, and the general improvement work on the property lying just north of the Pacific Electric is to be started next week.

The heavy rains which marked the winter of 1913-1914 were not over.  On February 20th Southern California experienced one of the fiercest storms in recorded history, newspapers described the flooding as "the worst flood in the history of the Southland." Back Easterners coming to the Southland for its mild winter climate were stranded for days in railroad cars, waiting for the flood waters to subside.  Bridges failed, trolley service, gas, power and oil lines were out for days.  Even if you wanted to get to Seal Beach, you couldn't---there just wasn't any way in, or out!  In addition, slashing high tides ripped up the shore and hundred of acres of valuable farm land were washed away, silting both Anaheim and Alamitos bays.  One good thing was to come out of the devastating floods of 1914---flood control. 

Ads were put on hold until March 8th.  22.06 inches of rain had fallen for the season, but it looked like the weather was improving---83 degrees expected in Los Angeles the day of the special excursion to Seal Beach!
Los Angeles Times 3/8/1914



"Dive to briny coolness.  Hot days are here!  Hotter days are on the way!  The hottest days are soon to come!  Don't wait until July for a place to spend August and September.  Don't wait until June to prepare for July.  Seal Beach never sizzles.  It's a cool as a cucumber all summer.



This ad stresses Seal Beach's year round temperate climate, which the seals enjoyed until 1956 when Long Beach built a marina in Alamitos Bay.  The seals, not liking the noise and commotion, moved away.




Long Beach Press 3/21/1914

The Guy M. Rush Company wasn't adverse to using some of Henri DeKruif's earlier illustrations.  This one first appeared in the Los Angeles Times in January 1914, and was again used for Long Beach Press advertising in March.  One difference with the March 21st ad, however, was the wording. With the blooming of wildflowers and trees, promoters hoped that property sales that lagged in winter would also "open up." 






Long Beach Press 3/26/1914


Seals are building at Seal Beach!!  New houses are springing up all over Seal Beach.  It's just eternal Spring at the beach with no undertow.  The seals are frolicking in the breakers at Seal Beach."

The permanent population of Seal Beach increased from 300 year-round residents in 1913 to 400 in 1914.  But during the usual beach season of May-November the population jumped to 2,000.
  By 1923, local schools had 320 students.  Two new classrooms and a kindergarten were added to the schoolhouse that year and the faculty expanded from five to eight teachers.
  That same year a Boy Scout troop with twenty-seven members organized, and a community hall seating 300 was added to the Methodist church to meet the needs of the rapidly growing Sunday school.
  In July 1957, a limited number of residential lots were placed on the market adjacent to the new $14,000,000 marina yacht basin in Alamitos Bay.  Located east of Bolsa Avenue between Bay boulevard (later Seal Beach Boulevard) and Balboa Drive, prices in the Marina Shores development ranged from $5,000 to $8,357.  On October 29, 1961, sales for apartments in a 541 acre retirement community known as Leisure World began.  It would be the first senior citizens' development in the United States to include an insured program for medical care and drugs (excluding hospitalization) to be included in monthly rent.    
Long Beach Press 3/28/1914




Both Anaheim and Alamitos bays attracted many varieties of fish.  If one did not wish to fish from the pier, rowboats were available for 25 cents an hour or one dollar for the entire day.  The arms of the bays extended eight miles inland along winding sloughs.  Oysters and clams were so plentiful that many made a living gathering the shellfish and selling them for 25 cents a bucket.





Long Beach Press 3/29/1914
This March 29th ad shows horses on the beach.  Gradually, horses were being replaced by automobiles as the favorite means of transportation.  In the summer of 1913 Henry Ford set up his first auto assembly line for the Model T.  He introduced a revolutionary high wage for his workers of $5 per day.  Between 1909 and 1924 the price of a Model T dropped from $950 to $290.

Los Angeles Times 3/29/1914
SCHOOL BONDS SOLD: Seal Beach soon to have ample educational facilities - contract let for cement sidewalk and curb.
     The Seal Beach school bonds, voted a short time ago by the citizens of that city, were this week sold by the Orange County Board of Supervisors to the Crown City National Bank of Pasadena.  The selling of these bonds means that the new school building at Seal Beach will be under way in a short time and will be entirely completed by the opening of the fall term.  Plans for the new structure are already being considered by the Supervisors.  The contract for the installing of 2,000 feet of cement sidewalk and curb was let this week.  the work is to be done on the south side of Ocean avenue, between Second and Main, and is to connect the new Seal Beach court with the center of town."

Previously students attended classes in the Labourdette building on the southeast side of Main Street.  But, as this March 1914 article indicates, residents approved a $12,000 bond measure for a new school.  A frame building, faced with brick, for two school rooms and a hall between them for an office and library was ready for the 1914-1915 school year.  There were two teachers, 1-4 and 5-8 grades.

Next: Spring Rebounds


Saturday, July 6, 2013

1913 October - December

Gearing Up for the Winter Season



Daily Telegram Oct. 1, 1913
"Join the seals - Push a good thing along.  Everything is moving in the right direction at Seal Beach.  Climate, transportation, outdoor sports, and all the joys of beach life are ideal at Seal Beach.  Forty four miles from Los Angeles. Two splendid lines of transportation. 25 cents round trip by commutation book.  Two fine still-water bays.  Surf without a danger.  An ocean with the undertow left out.  Fine lots, 3 blocks from the sea, $495.  Others smothered in the spray a little more..."

Electric rolling chair at Seal Beach
Electric rolling chairs were the latest craze for beach resorts, a fact not missed by illustrator Henri DeKruif.  However, Seal Beach wouldn't have rolling chairs until the 1914 summer season.  The city celebrated by holding an electric chair race.

Daily Telegram 10/6/1913
"Make Mr. Seal boost your family fortune.  Every swing of the pendulum - every tick of time - Seal Beach rises in everybody's favor.  Were you away from home when opportunity called with fortune at the time Long Beach was in its infancy?  Were you too late to make money in some of the choicest parts of Long Beach?  Have you delayed buying at Seal Beach?  Take the judgement of hundreds of shrewd real estate investors --- they have bought over $400,000 in a little over two months".


Bayside Land Company, c1913
The railroads offered special "universal railroad colonist rates" in September and October.  From September 25 to October 10, 1913, 5,000 people traveled cross country to visit the Long  Beach/Seal Beach area, according to figures released in the Daily Telegram.  The newcomers were prospective residents, prospective businessmen, tourists and home seekers.  It was important for the Bayside Land Company to continue their ads to encourage these "back Easterners" to establish their permanent homes in Seal Beach.  Not lost to the promoters, was the fact that Long Beach had gained the distinction of being the "fastest growing city in the United States" according to the 1910 U.S. census.  Why?  Because of its fine climate and business growth, something that buyers in nearby Seal Beach could also take advantage of.

Daily Telegram 10/10/1913
"Leap Frogging to Fortune.  Lots of lots are selling and values are rising every day at Seal Beach (Bay City).  Homes - all the year 'round homes - are being built at Seal Beach all the time.  A new lumber yard is being opened to furnish lumber and building material.  The school has already 35 pupils and more will enter soon.  A new billiard hall and barber shop has just been opened.  A first class hotel is proving popular.  The new Los Angeles boulevard through Naples to Seal Beach will be opened in a few days.  Seal Beach is 10 degrees warmer from October to March than Los Angeles and 10 degrees cooler during the summer.  Same commutation rate as Long Beach.  Two lines of cars..."

On October 10, 1913, the whole way of life on the Pacific Coast changed.  At exactly five minutes before 11 a.m. local time all over the nation factory whistles blew, auto horns tooted, flags unfurled, as America engaged in wild pandemonium---the Panama Canal had opened!  At 11 a.m. President Wilson touched the button in Washington, signaling the destruction of the Gamboa dike in Panama.  The destruction of the dike technically meant that the Panama Canal was completed, but it was not until August 15, 1914, that the first ship sailed through.  The canal cut off two-thirds of the distance from New York to Long Beach harbor.  The harbor in Long Beach had started operations two years earlier, bringing more wealth and commerce into Southern California and an opportunity for developers to start promoting Seal Beach.
Scintillators from the Panama-Pacific Exposition
came to Seal Beach in 1916
     To celebrate the opening of the Panama Canal and the discovery of the Pacific Ocean by Vasco Nunez de Balboa, who crossed the Isthmus of Panama in 1513, two expositions were held in California in 1915.  The Panama-California Exposition in San Diego specialized in Pan-American themes centered on the Southwest.  It opened January 15, 1915, and closed in 1917, after having been extended for a year.  The largest one, the Panama-Pacific International Exposition, was held in San Francisco from February 4 to December 4, 1915.  Notable were the lighting effects from searchlight-type lamps called scintillators and the architectural unity of the various pavilions.  The scintillators and pavilions were purchased by the Bayside Land Company and came to form the new Seal Beach amusement zone in 1916.

Long Beach Press 10/13/1913
SEAL BEACH NOW TRANSFER POINT: Trolley Trips hereafter will be routed Long Beach-Seal Beach
     The Pacific Electric Company has made Seal Beach the transfer point for all its traffic between the south coast and Long Beach.  Since the completion of the Long Beach-Seal Beach line on September 9 it has been proposed to change the transfer point on the south coast lines to Seal Beach through Zaferia (East Long Beach) and this has now been done by official orders.  It is probable that a schedule of twenty minutes between Seal Beach and Long Beach will be maintained every day, including Sundays, which now has twenty-minute service.
     The trolley trips which heretofore have used the Newport line will hereafter be routed via Seal Beach and Long Beach, leaving the Newport line at Seal Beach on the return journey to Los Angeles. This action will be followed by the building of a handsome tile and concrete station at the junction of Long Beach and Newport lines at Seal Beach.
     Traffic on the south coast lines had been increasing every year and practically all of the traffic from Orange County to and from Long Beach will now be transferred at Seal Beach.    

Daily Telegram 10/13/1913
"Seal Beach is gliding right a long.  Plans are under way for the building of a new school to cost several thousand dollars.  Bankers are looking the field over for the establishment of a bank.  Buyers are beginning many buildings.  Sales are being made almost every day to buyers who are looking for all the year round homes.  A lumber yard is open for business.  A sash and door factory is investigating the field. A feed and fuel yard will be built during the coming week.  6000 people visited Seal Beach yesterday.  2140 tickets were sold yesterday from the local P.E. station for Seal Beach.  Several lots were sold in our new addition Bay View Heights.  Nice lots 3 blocks from the ocean and easy gliding from our two beautiful bays and adjoining the new school site.  $500 to $100 very easy terms..."

Though this ad says that bankers were looking the town over, it would be nine years before Seal Beach actually succeeded in getting its own bank.  On December 2, 1922, the California State Bank opened, immediately attracting 327 new accounts.  To stimulate juvenile thrift city founder John Ord offered to add a dollar to the account of the first ten youngsters opening accounts.  Hours before the doors opened, there was a long string of young people waiting in the drizzling rain.  At the close of opening day the total deposits reached $31,603.33, of which $5700 had been placed in savings accounts.
     Besides founding the town, John C. Ord was the first postmaster, judge and mayor establishing the first post office and court in his store.  He also also added to his income by building and selling houses and lots.
John Ord
     Ord was one of fifteen children.  He left his family home in Vermont to join the Union Army when the Civil War broke out.  He was taken prisoner with 11,000 Union soldiers at Harpers' Ferry in 1862. The entire regiment was released after making a gentleman's agreement not to take up arms against the South again.  Because of this agreement, the 11,000 soldiers were sent to Chicago to control an Indian uprising.  In 1863, when an official trade of prisoners was made between the North and South, the gentleman's agreement became null and void.  Ord returned to active service and served as a sharp shooter and a member of the assigned guard to General Grant.  Because of this assignment he personally witnessed the surrender of General Lee.  After the Civil War Ord traveled to Canada and got involved in an Irish uprising known as the Fenian Raid.  He donned the British red coat and became a member of the Queen's Army.  He came to California in the 1870's crossing the isthmus in Nicaragua.  After several years exploring California he settled at Grass Valley, later moving to Los Alamitos in 1894, and to Bay City/Seal Beach in 1901.  Born in 1842, he passed away in Seal Beach on January 15, 1937.

Daily Telegram 10/16/1913
SEAL BEACH BRANCH BUSY
     The Seal Beach branch of the Snow Lumber company is reported to be doing a brisk business.  Lumber for a feed and fuel yard and several residences has been sold from the yard during the past few days, as well as half a carload of cement.

Long Beach Press 10/18/1913
BAND CONCERT FOR SEAL BEACH FOLKS: Site selected for new school occupying entire block; other improvements.
     Improvements are being carried forward with a rush at Seal Beach which promises to be one of the liveliest resort cities on the south coast.  The Snow Lumber Company, of this city, has just opened a yard at that place and the feed and fuel yard, owned by former Senator Coggings, of El Centro, is nearing completion.  Three handsome new residences are now under way and more contemplated.
     The Long Beach and Seal Beach boulevard will be opened next week and development of the new Bay View addition is going forward very satisfactorily and sales continuing briskly each day.
     An attractive feature of the weekend is the Sunday band concert in the Main Street Pavilion, which has just been inaugurated.
     A site has been selected for a new school house at the corner of Eleventh, Twelfth and North streets, the site to occupy the entire block.

Daily Telegram 10/20/1913
NEW STATION AT SEAL BEACH: Pacific Electric Officials Plan Improvements
     Pacific Electric officials were at Seal Beach during the past week making tentative plans for the location of a new station for that point, now that all of the passengers from the south coast, Orange County and vicinity will transfer at Seal Beach for Long Beach.  New schedules are being figured, and it is probable that twenty-minute service will be put in at once on the Seal Beach line.
Daily Telegram 10/27/1913

"Activity lasts all the year at Seal Beach.  Enthusiasm is now rapidly increasing.  The number of lots is rapidly decreasing. Better be safe than sorry.  See Seal Beach right now..."

Many beach communities shut down during the winter.  What this ad conveyed was that Seal Beach was active year round.  But active in what?  Many in Seal Beach would earn their living by illegal gambling and liquor.  In September 1923, the Seal Beach Inn was raided.  Thirty people were arrested on charges ranging from vagrancy to violation of the Eighteenth Amendment (Prohibition).  Roulette tables, dice and other gambling paraphernalia were confiscated.  At the Jewel Cafe, several guests who had illegal liquor on their tables were also taken into custody.

Many had summer homes by the sea, but Seal Beach wanted a permanent full time population.  To attract a more "gentile" element, it erected its first church.  The cornerstone of a $1500 Methodist church was laid on June 4, 1916, on Sixth street between Ocean and Boulevard avenues according to the Long Beach Press. (Other Seal Beach histories say it was at 149 Tenth Street).  The church, which looked like a bungalow, included a reading room and rest room and was open to the public every day of the week from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A special invitation was issued to visitors to "drop in at any time." But along with these godly residents came unforeseen consequences.  On December 24, 1923, city trustees ordered all amusement and concessions to close on Sundays because year-round residents felt that the Sabbath was sacred.  The Women's Improvement Club led the drive for Sunday closing to stop what they viewed as the "lawless element" that was attracted to the town.  The Bayside Land Company was not happy with the new law and told the Women's Improvement Club they could no longer hold their meetings at the sun parlor on the end of the pier owned by Bayside.  But this was just the start of problems for the Bayside Company.  Unable to survive the economic crisis of the 1930's the entire ocean front south of Ocean Boulevard in Seal Beach and 900 lots owned by the company were forced to be sold.  The largest foreclosure sale ever recorded in Orange County took place on August 31, 1935, when $295,246.56 worth of property owned by Bayside was taken over by the security First National Bank of Los Angeles.

Daily Telegram 10/27/1913
SNOW COMPANY SELLS LUMBER: For Numerous New Buildings at Seal Beach
     Six new residences and two new business blocks have been started in Seal Beach within the past two weeks, as well as a new feed and fuel yard.  The lumber for these has all been furnished from the yards of the Snow Lumber Company which has recently opened up there as a branch of the main yards at Long Beach.  The contractors working on the new Bay View addition to Seal Beach, which lies just back of the Pacific Electric main line and extends almost to the waters of Anaheim Bay, are rushing the improvements of this tract.  The handsome new pavilion is practically completed.
     'Seal Beach' will hereafter be the official designation of the Pacific Electric station heretofore known as Bay City.  At the request of the Bayside Land Company, based upon the petition of a number of the residents of the south coast place, the Pacific Electric Company will officially change the name of the station from Bay City to Seal Beach as soon as the railway maps and tickets can be altered.  In addition to changing the name of Bay City to Seal Beach, petitions are being circulated for the change of the name of the post office from Bay City to Seal Beach, because of the confusion with a similar post office known as Bay City in one of the northern counties, as well as the natural confusion that comes because of the reference to San Francisco as the Bay City.

Long Beach Press 11/3/1913
BOULEVARD BUILT TO SEAL BEACH: Last link in Good Roads System of Los Angeles County Completed.
     The last link in the good roads system of Los Angeles County, connecting Seal Beach with the boulevards to Long Beach, Redondo and the harbor, was finished last week, and with the exception of two concrete bridges which are just being finished, the work is complete.
     Work on this section, which is the last of the good roads systems of Los Angeles County, has been in progress for several months, and it leads up to the Orange County line, where Orange County will begin improvements aggregating nearly $2,000,000 for good roads throughout the county.  Orange County will carry this boulevard through the center of Seal Beach, one boulevard branching to the east, paralleling the coast to Balboa, and ultimately to San Diego, and the other branch to the northward to Santa Ana and the interior of Orange County.


Daily Telegram 11/3/1913
"The Boulevard is Completed to Seal Beach.  Get your motor car and spin over to Seal Beach.  Our representative is always on the ground, and will be pleased to show you around.  Remember - Seal Beach is the fastest selling subdivision in Southern California today.  $500,000 worth of property sold in ninety days...There are so many good things to tell about Seal Beach that space will not permit. So come with us and see it for yourself and let us tell you all about it."

A three-mile highway down Ocean Avenue led from Long Beach to Seal Beach.  One could reach Seal Beach by automobile from Los Angeles in little over an hour.  It's interesting to note that around this same time Henry Ford was setting up his first auto assembly line for the Model T.  Between 1909 and 1924 the price of a Model T. would drop from $950 to $290.  This lower cost for automobiles made them more affordable to the American public.  With more autos on the scene better roads were called for.  On March 25, 1925, a new "Pacific Coast" Highway opened through Seal Beach all the way to Newport.

Long Beach Press 11/10/1913
HEAVY TRAFFIC ON SEAL BEACH ROAD
     More than 200 automobiles were lined up on either side of a luckless autoist who was having trouble with his machine on the Long Beach-Seal Beach boulevard yesterday just this side of the bridge over Alamitos Bay.
     Mr. and Mrs. R.L. Bisby, returning in their auto from Santa Ana, were in the number of those stranded on the narrow boulevard until the trouble could be remedied.  Bisby, with characteristic impatience at delay, got out and commenced to give directions to the constantly increasing army of autoists, lest there be some further accident in the crush, when Mrs. Bisby quietly reminded him that his authority, as secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, might perhaps not extend to auto mix-ups on the road, and warned him therefore to be careful lest he take in too much territory.
     The secretary appreciating her joke, laughingly started to jolly-up the gang and the fun-making spread like measles, so that everybody was in good humor by the time the recalcitrant motor was coaxed into activity once more.
     The incident proved an eye-opener to all concerned, who little dreamed until they saw the autos bunched together on the road what a heavy traffic passes between here and Seal Beach on a busy Sunday afternoon.

"Cutting the Seal Beach Melon.  Every day is dividend day for every Seal Beach buyer - and there are many hundreds of them.  Why have they bought nearly $500,000 worth of Seal Beach lots in a few weeks?  Because Seal Beach has: the
Daily Telegram 11/5/1913
safest beach - absolutely no undertow.  The finest climate-warmer in winter-cooler in summer.  Two great still-water bays, affording fine boating, bathing and fishing.  The best transportation-two lines to Los Angeles-frequent cars. Low fare to and from city and Long Beach---good soil.  First class improvements all included in the price of lots.  Great activity in building."


This November 5, 1913 ad, with the seal carving a pumpkin, brings to mind Mrs. Jan DeArmand and her love for  Halloween.   In the 1930's, Mrs. DeArmand began giving Halloween parties at her home at 128 Eighth Street in Seal Beach for her young daughter, Jacqueline, and Jacqueline's friends.  By 1950 Mrs. DeArmand's Halloween celebration had become a community-wide event attracting over 600 youngsters.  Each year the DeArmand's constructed an elaborate entrance way leading into their yard.  Inside there was a jungle booth, set up so sharpshooters could shoot cork popguns at wild beasts; a bean bag throw; fortune telling booth; lemonade, hot dog, popcorn and peanut stands; cotton candy machines and amusement rides.  Everyone was encouraged to wear costumes and prizes were awarded for the best ones.  But the event grew too large for the DeArmand's to handle all by themselves.  Civic organizations such as the Junior Woman's Club, Parent-Teachers Association, Lions Club, American Legion, the Chamber of Commerce, and local newspapers chipped in to handle the Halloween celebration.


Daily Telegram 11/10/1913
Anaheim Landing looking towards
Sunset Beach - 1930s
"Combine Business with Pleasure at Seal Beach.  The real year round home for real home lovers.  Seal Beach is always moving forward, never lags behind.  Seal Beach always gives every outdoor pleasure to you and your family.  Seal Beach is always safe, no undertow.  Seal Beach is balmy and invigorating all the year.  Seal Beach is growing, building, spreading every day..."

There were a number of powerboats kept in Anaheim Bay.  Seal Beach was a perfect place for boaters to come to after a busy week at work.  They could fish, go duck hunting in the inlet bays, or take off for a day at Catalina Island.  However, larger boats were to come.  In January 1944, the bayside area of Seal Beach known as Anaheim Landing was dismantled and the Seal Beach Naval Ammunition and Net Depot constructed in its place.  Commissioned on November 2, 1944, under the command of Captain A.B. McCrary, the base supplied the ammunition used by all Navy ships on the West Coast.  To this day, ships of various sizes are frequently seen at Anaheim Bay loading and unloading ammunition.
     In 1946 a campaign to create a West Coast Naval Academy at Seal Beach got underway.  Though nothing became of it, high ranking Naval officials felt the Naval Net Depot and Fort Bolsa at Bolsa Chica near Huntington Beach could provide land enough to house the proposed Annapolis of the west.

"Don't Stand in Your Own Light.  If the operator were to stand in front of the moving picture machine you would to see the picture on the screen as above.  If you allow doubt and skepticism to
Daily Telegram 11/19/1913
stand between you and the purchase of Seal Beach lots you will never receive your share of the splendid profits to be realized by our investors.  Pause, look, listen, act and act quickly for things are moving lively at Seal Beach..."


Motion pictures were becoming a popular form of entertainment, and many film studios found the picturesque setting of Seal Beach ideal for their movies.  On October 19, 1915, Seal Beach's election for city hood was immortalized on film.  The Balboa Film Studio from Long Beach staged an election scene in front of the Seal Beach pavilion and filmed the first movie ever taken at night.  Big bonfires were built, and torches further illuminated the set.  Seal Beach was also used for Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton comedy films.  In July 1918, Fatty Arbuckle gave a farewell party for Buster (who was joining the Army) at the Jewel City Cafe in Seal Beach.  Buster had been granted an extension by the U.S. government to finish his last picture---the Cook---in Seal Beach.  Once the film was completed,
Jewel City Cafe
members of the film troupe celebrated at the Jewel City Cafe.  Buster entertained his friends by performing a snake dance, the snakes consisting of a string of hot dogs.  He also donned a tablecloth to cover his clothes and had two napkins hanging from his ears.  It must have been quite a night!


Spend Sunday at Seal Beach, Gem of the Pacific Coast.  Located in Orange County, 24 miles from Los Angeles, 4 3/4 miles from Long Beach, 3 miles from Sunset Beach, 8 miles from Huntington Beach, 16 miles from Newport, 18 miles from Balboa, 15 miles from Santa Ana.  Seal Beach is the hub of the great wheel of Southern
Daily Telegram 11/21/1913
California cities.  The closest beach to the great orange belt cities.  The last elevated ocean frontage that can be bought at first sale prices.  Seal Beach has $250,000 in public improvements in or nearing completion.  Two splendid county boulevards.  Two lines of electric railway to Long Beach and Los Angeles.  Same fare to Los Angeles as Long Beach and other beach cities. A climate 10 degrees warmer in winter and 10 degrees cooler in summer than Los Angeles.  Two magnificent still water bays.  Finest and safest surf on the coast.  Lowest tax rate in California.  No bonded indebtedness..."


Seal Beach relied on tourism, but it needed year-round residents.  During the winter months it needed to sell itself as a permanent residence within an easy commute to jobs in Los Angeles and Orange counties.  Though it never wanted to become an industrial center, several substantial industries did move to the community.  In the 1940's one could find the Dow Chemical Company, the Los Angeles Bureau of Power and Light generating plant, and the Sport Craft boat building yard furnishing employment for a number of workers.

Long Beach Press 11/24/1913
SEAL BEACH SAND DUNES LOWERED: Work Being Done to Make Way for Bulkhead of Cement on Front.
     The sand dunes that have lined the shore at Seal Beach for the last many years are being taken away and placed on the property lying just back of the Pacific Electric tracks.  An enormous electric pump, or sand dredge, has been given the job of transferring the big piles of sand through the pipes to the land which is being raised to grade.  After the dunes are removed earth will be spread over the property being filled.
     This work is being done to make way for the cement bulkhead that is to run the length of the ocean front at Seal Beach, and for the thirty-foot promenade which is to extend from Anaheim Bay to Alamitos Bay.
     Handsome electroliers, each with a cluster of five lights, will cast their glow on the promenade in the evenings.


Daily Telegram 11/28/1913
Willard Hotel, one of
the many inns built
in Seal Beach in 1913
"Houses and Fortunes are Being Built at Seal Beach...New homes are springing up all over Seal Beach.  It's just like eternal spring at the beach without an undertow.  Scores of buyers are going to be thankful Thursday and every day for many years that they have bought at Seal Beach.  Hotel open, fine fish dinner. Newspaper almost ready now.  Business openings for drug store, garage, general merchandise store and hardware store.  Bank will probably be started by January 1st.  Next summer you'll wonder why you waited. Seal Beach won't wait for you!"...

Three hundred rental cottages were built at Seal Beach in 1913.  They could be rented for a week, month, or the entire season at prices ranging from $5 a week on up.  You might, however, want to stay away from 13th Street.  There sand dunes as high as sheds graced the beach.  During windy days sand would completely cover porches of cottages on Ocean.  The only way out of one house was through a side window on the north!


Daily Telegram 12/1/1913
"Seal Beach Turkey Tastes Good All the Year Round.  There is less beach property today than there was yesterday.  There is more demand for beach property than there was yesterday.  There are more people demanding beach playground.  There will never be another crop of beach property and it won't stretch.  Somebody has to make a profit.  Why not you?  Act now!  Don't let the other fellow skim the cream..."

Seal Beach had much to be thankful for, in four months $610,000 worth of property had sold.  In 1929, the City of Seal Beach would really give thanks when a new two-story City Hall opened at the corner of Central Avenue and Sixth Street.  Since its incorporation in 1915 municipal offices had been housed in a two-room converted restaurant.  The Police Department, City Clerk, Water Department, City Judge, City Engineer and all other municipal employees worked side by side.  With the new City Hall there were separated offices for all departments.  A large auditorium was located on the second floor with a kitchen amply supplied with essentials needed to hold banquets or meetings.  One of the major features of the hall was a three-room apartment furnished for one of the police officers and his wife and a library built in the north wing of the building.

Los Angeles Times 12/7/1913
"Seal Beach is Gift Laden All the Year. It gives to you, a surf without an undertow.  Two great beautiful bays, ideal for boating, bathing, fishing hunting and canoeing; fine boulevards and streets; a twin amusement pavilion, costing $1000,000 and the finest on the coast; an ideal all-the-year climate, 10 degrees better than Los Angeles summer or winter' electricity, Water, cement curbs and sidewalks all included in the price of lots."
Artist Henri De Kruif has decorated the seals' Christmas tree with things the community was thankful for---the arrival of the new Pacific Electric rail line and numerous new buildings.

Long Beach Press 12/15/1913
UP-TO-DATE GARAGE FOR SEAL BEACH
     Anticipating a great increase in the automobile traffic to and through Seal Beach upon the completion of the Orange County good road boulevards that will extend from this resort, arrangements were made this week by local automobile men for the building of an up-to-date garage on North Main street, which is one of the main laterals.  It is expected that the work on the boulevard leading from Seal Beach to the north, by way of Main street, will be started by the first of the year, and it will no doubt be completed before the summer season opens.  All of the streets in the town are to be resurfaced and put in first-class condition before the summer months.

Daily Telegram 12/15/1913
"High in Public Favor all the Year 'round.  Seal Beach never sags.  Seal Beach never blows up.  It
glides on and on in its even way.  Seal Beach never disappoints the public.  It has fine soil, fine bathing, no undertow.  Fishing, boating and canoeing in the two great fine still-water bays.  Surrounded by the finest duck hunting grounds in Southern California.  Excellent transportation service, reached by two of the finest boulevards in California.  Buy a lot now at Seal Beach and build an all-the-year-round home...."

Since the first U.S. air races were held at nearby Dominguez in 1910, and Cal Rodgers made the first transcontinental flight from New York to Long Beach in 1911, flying had become a popular past time.  Crowds gathered whenever one of the air machines flew overhead.  They knew aviation was a dangerous sport, with death always lurking in the background.
Aerial view of Seal Beach from
Long Beach, 1932
     In 1916, Seal Beach promoters lured Long Beach aviators to their city by establishing an airstrip north of town and building a $1500 hanger to house the airplanes for free.  Fliers were anxious to leave Long Beach where local politicians listened to residents complain about airplane noise and attempted to regulate flying.  Seal Beach was happy to have the aviators with their air machines in their city---it was one more tourist draw.


Los Angeles Times 12/21/1913
"Santa Seal Stuffs the Stocking Full.  A Seal Beach lot is a gift that grows in value always.  A Seal Beach lot means peace and good will 365 days in the year.  A Seal Beach lot is a gift that will not tarnish with the years.  Nature has only allowed so many of these gifts to be made.  There will never be another crop.  Beach property won't stretch.  It grows in value as Long Angeles grows in population..."

Christmas was a special time in 1913 America.  Two-thirds of all toy sales came at Christmas and many stores carried no toys at all the rest of the year.  Just as toys were limited so was seaside property; nature only made so much.  Why not give a gift of Seal Beach real estate as a Christmas gift to yourself?


Los Angeles Times 12/28/1913
" I hereby resolve to spend the rest of my days at Seal Beach.  Towering waves do not undermine Sal Beach.  Wrecking winds are unknown.  The beach without an undertow is always safe.  In storm or peace, Seal Beach is a safe refuge for grown-ups or little children.  It is the very place you want for an ocean home.  Don't wait until summer.  Seal Beach sells all winter.  Only the thermometer stands still at Seal Beach..."

Many did resolve to spend the rest of their days in Seal Beach.  One of them, W.L. Robertson, (discussed in the last blog) a former Los Angeles police detective, opened a Quonset hut casino, the Airport Club, in 1950.  Angry Seal Beach citizens successfully banned gambling from their city in 1954.  Robertson, however, still came out a winner, having obtained extensive real estate holdings in Seal Beach during the heyday of his gambling hot spot on Pacific Coast Highway.  The poker king became a real estate tycoon.

IN THE NEXT BLOG:  The news was good, the Daily Telegram reported November 29th 1913.  The  railroad had just released statistics on passenger rates for the year and the Long Beach/Seal Beach area was the second greatest tourist destination in Southern California (Los Angeles was first, San Diego third).  In November alone 9000 visitors arrived to enjoy the wonderful fall weather... but things were soon to change as the wonderful weather took a drastic turn.