Tuesday, June 11, 2013

1913 September: The Wedding Month

 Seal Beach & Long Beach United

September 1913

September 1913 was a big month for publicity, making the most of the "wedding" of Seal Beach and Long Beach.  Actually the two had married before, a fact promoters failed to mention.  In 1904, one year after Bay City was founded, the Pacific Electric line from Long Beach passed through Bay City on its way down the coast to Huntington and Newport Beach.  Now, in September 1913, a new electric rail connection with Long Beach was completed via a trestle across the Alamitos Bay entrance channel.

Daily Telegram 9/1/1913 
NEW CAR LINE READY SEPT. 9: Long Beach-Seal Beach Connection Almost Done, is Report
      Seal Beach and Long Beach will be connected by a new electric street car line and the formal opening of this road will take place on Admission Day, September 9, according to present plans.  Cars will be operated every twenty minutes in both directions and a low rate of fare will make Seal Beach a natural suburb of the larger city.
      The trestle work over Alamitos inlet has been completed and the Pacific Electric railway is now rushing the work on a fill at either end of the trestle.  Ties and rails will be laid early in the coming week and it is hoped to have the trains operating regularly by Admission Day.
      The new amusement building, which is a twin of the dancing pavilion, will probably be opened formally on the same day and Seal Beach will be decorated from stern to stern and every flagstaff will carry national bunting.
            Considerably over $200,000 worth of property has been sold in the seven weeks of selling, and the Guy M. Rush Company announced that with the completion of the first quarter million dollar sale the prices of all unsold property will be advanced ten percent.  This date will probably be not later than September 1.
      Many residents of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada are buying homes at Seal Beach and a number of investors have taken business property at Seal Beach with the intention of making improvements at once.
      The barbecue, field day and dance of the printers’ board of trade at Seal Beach yesterday was a complete success in every sense of the word and several hundred happy boosters left late in the day for their homes praising the seals, Seal Beach and the surf without limit.
Long Beach Press 9/5/1913
Daily Telegram 9/6/1913

Childhood and beachfront land are limited, as this Sept. 5th ad points out: "Admission Day Excursion. Youth comes but once to all of us, and nothing carries more joy than a real beach that has no treachery.  The surf at Seal Beach is safe, there is absolutely no undertow.  Nature gives only one period of youth and only one crop of beach land.  Most good beach property around Los Angeles has been sold, and the owners are using it for homes, most of them all the year around.  In spite of the phenomenal selling at Seal Beach there are some good lots left.  Buy your lot now and let your children get their share of enjoyment in the children's paradise, Seal Beach.  Pertinent facts--Seal Beach: 22 miles from Los Angeles. 4 3/4 miles from Long Beach.  Excellent street car service.  All lots within 3 blocks of ocean. Prices---$550 and up.  Terms---10 percent cash, balance to suit." 

The Sept. 6th ad uses the same illustration as the one which appeared one month earlier on August 5th.  It again talks of the "wedding" of Mr. Seal Beach and Miss Long Beach.  Mr. P.E. Railway was to perform the ceremony and Guy M. Rush Company would give the bride away.

Los Angeles Times 9/7/1913
This Sept. 7th ad reveals the year round appeal: "Nurse seal keeps her youngsters at Seal Beach all the year.  Take a tip from the wisest creature in the sea and move your family to the safest beach on the Pacific Ocean.  The gently surf is absolutely free from undertow, and the water is pleasant all the year round.  January, February and March are balmy and full of joy.  Nowhere else this side of the Bay of Naples are the sunsets as fine as they are at Seal Beach.  Seal Beach is not a summer resort.  It's chock full of all-the-year-round comforts and pleasures.  The new Long Beach car line opens next Tuesday, September 9.  It will bring four cars an hour between Seal Beach and Los Angeles.  Seal Beach has the same commutation rates as Long Beach.  Tickets will be good on either line.  You know what Long Beach has done.  Watch the second edition of Long Beach do the same..."

Sales were brisk in the seaside town over Labor Day (which became a Federal holiday in 1894).  Prices were to increase 10 percent at midnight September 1.  Sales on August 31 and September 1 totaled $67,300, the best weekend of business to date.

The new trestle connecting Long Beach and Seal Beach is featured in this ad: "Mayor Seal invites the world to use his new car line today! The last spike has been driven in the Pacific Electric rails over Alamitos Bay.  Engineers are working day and night, Sundays and week days to tie Long Beach and Seal Beach together with copper and steal.  The work is finished.  Tomorrow (Admission Day) is Seal Beach Day.  Join the throng and see the finest beach on the Pacific Coast.  Try the surf---absolutely safe-free from undertoe.  Loaf on the sand!  Take a motor boat over the tranquil waters of Alamitos Bay.  Buy a lot and live in Seal Beach 365 days a year.  There are only a few left..."

Though the ad also mentions" Mayor Seal," the town would not have a real mayor until it incorporated in 1915. City founder John C. Ord was unanimously elected to that office.  He resigned in February 1916, but his successor was recalled in an election a few months later and Judge Ord was again named mayor.  By 1918 Ord began a gradual withdrawal from civic duties and sold most of his real estate concerns before his death on January 14, 1937, at the age of 94.

Daily Telegram 9/9/1913
SEAL BEACH, EASTERN SUBURB, OFFICIALLY ON THE MAP TODAY: Connection With Long Beach by Means of Street Railway Made Gala Occasion---Some Facts About This New and Progressive Resort
     Long Beach was married today.
Daily Telegram 9/9/1913

     At exactly 6:35 o'clock this morning the hands that 'ne-er do us part," were welded together and Long Beach took under its wing, promising to aid, care for and protect, its spouse, Seal Beach.
     The bands have been published in scores of newspapers in Southern California during the past two weeks and the news of the fashionable, far-reaching event was scattered by every known means of modern advertising.
     This publicity fact insured an attendance from the prosperous, the boosters and well wishers, who added to the meaning of the occasion by their presence.
     In other words, Seal Beach, destined to become one of the finest and best resorts and resident centers of the south coast, was this morning officially opened with the completion of the P.E. tracks from Naples to the new beach townsite.
     Just about 7 o'clock last night, just as the evening shadows were deepening and the workaday world was out seeking its amusement, the last spike in the steel rail connecting link between Long Beach and Seal Beach was driven.  Then, after a close inspection by officials of the company, the line was thrown open for traffic, the first car passing over it being that filled with railroad officials and officials of the Guy M. Rush company, owners of the beach town tract.
     From that minute on the 'weddin' crowd began to assemble in both Long Beach and Los Angeles to attend the ceremony at Seal Beach and to see with their own eyes the wonders accomplished there by man in bringing out the beauteous features that nature had already provided at that beach.
     By noon, on a conservative estimate, there were 3000 people at Seal Beach and all were having the time of their lives.  For the Rush company had provided 1,000 free lunches, including sandwiches, fruit and coffee for all comers.
     Courteous guides met each train on its arrival before the tract office and escorted parties through the new pavilion, out on the pier then later in detached groups the visitors were taken on auto rides to the bay and through the tract.
     Of course there were scores who were interested in getting in on the ground floor for the purchase of real estate, but there were a majority who came to spend the day picnicking and sightseeing.  And they all enjoyed themselves.
     The seals were the big attraction.  The monster denizens of the deep, who are making the bay at Seal Beach their home and for whom the new and coming city was named, attracted the attention of all visitors.
     When the first car arrived nearly 100 of the satiny-skinned animals were sunning themselves on the rocks and the sands.  But along towards noon as the sun came out with its warm smile of welcome, they tottered off their perches, into the water and swam majestically out to sea...
     When the excursionists arrived in Seal Beach they found the townsmen with their arms wide open in welcome.  The town was in full gala trim and buntings and flags hung from every vantage point.
     On arrival in Seal Beach visitors were astonished at the work of improvement...these include a magnificent pavilion, skirting the 500-foot pier, a fine dance pavilion and the beginning of the construction of the proposed mile-long bulwark and walk.  The pavilion houses the bath house, a dance hall, bowling and billiard alleys and space for a large and up-to-date cafe.
     The Rush Company plans an extension of the bulwarks and walk that will be, when completed, finer than the famous walks along the ocean front at Atlantic City.  This walk will reach a half mile in each direction from the pier, extending from Alamitos Bay to Anaheim landing.  The work will cost in the neighborhood of $100,000...
     Mr. Guy M. Rush reported that Seal Beach has broken all realty records of Southern California as $352,000 worth of property had been sold in the division since his company assumed the ownership of the plat early in July.  All but 105 lots had been sold when the opening day dawned and company agents predicted that a majority of these would pass into the hands of private owners before the day was over.
Brief History
Daily Telegram 9/10/1913
     Possessing only 75 houses last year, Bay City today boasts of a thriving population of nearly 300 people, and over 200 homes.  The town, which at the present time is under the jurisdiction of the county supervisors, contemplates incorporation before the passing of another year.  It was founded and laid out in 1904 by the Bayside Land company, of Los Angeles, which controlled the property at that time.  An 1800 foot pleasure pier, which is still standing and in good condition, a dancing pavilion, and thousands of dollars in street work, were the principal improvements made by the first three years of the existence of the town.  This brings the history of Bay City up to 1907, the time of the financial panic.  At this time the property was taken off the market, not to be submitted to public sale until this time last year.  Since then building activity and the promotion of general improvements has taken on an animated appearance, with no let-up in sight at the present time.
     The townsite of Bay City comprises 320 acres, blending into 14,000 acres of proven fertile farming land stretching back from the sea.  The streets are graded and well laid out.  The city has electricity, an excellent water supply, telephones and cement walks.  In addition to the pier, a source of enjoyment to anglers and promenaders, and the handsome twin pavilion, said to be similar to the famous twin pavilion of Atlantic City, and one of the finest amusement places of its kind on the Pacific seaboard, Bay City has two general stores, post office, restaurant, meat market, and a combination hotel and cafe, in addition to other smaller business places.  It is estimated that at the present time there are eighteen miles of sidewalks and curbing in Bay City within the townsite limits, and twelve miles of oil and graded streets.
Seals by trestle leading to Seal Beach
     The name "Seal Beach" has been bestowed upon Bay City by enterprising real estate dealers, owing to the advantage to be derived from the advertisement of such a name, inasmuch as a colony of over 200 seals make their home in the waters lapping the sands of Bay City.  Owing to the recent work on the Alamitos Bay - Bay City Pacific Electric trestle, the seals have been frightened away from the beach during the working hours of the day, but may be found in large numbers basking in the early morning sunlight or wallowing in the warm sand during the final shining moments of the descending sun, after the noisy workmen have laid down their tools, picked up their lunch boxes and left for the day.

Daily Telegram 9/12/1913
A three-day honeymoon was enough for Mr. and Mrs. Seal Beach.  The weather in the interior was incredibly hot, and the couple was anxious to get back to the cool ocean breezes of Seal Beach.  The Sept. 12th ad reveals that: "Mr. and Mrs. Seal Beach have returned from their honeymoon and are at home to the world in their beautiful Seal Beach castle just beyond the new Alamitos Bay trestle.  When a Telegram reporter called on Mr. and Mrs. Seal Beach their Royal Highnesses issued the following statement: 'We are glad to be back in Seal Beach after our wedding tour.  The weather in the interior is indescribably hot; but here at Seal Beach the ocean breezes are always delightfully cool.  We are delighted with our surroundings and new neighbors.  The surf here is beyond compare, the still water bathing and boating are the best ever, and talk about fishing is simply immense...'"

Company agents had hoped the 105 remaining lots would have sold on "wedding" day, but they had not.  By the time of this ad, prices of the lots had again gone down to $495.  The ten-percent increase that was to go into effect at midnight on September 1st did not happen.

Daily Telegram 9/15/1913
People were visiting Seal Beach and traveling on the new electric railway line.  In addition to the pier and twin pavilions, travelers found two general stores, a post office, restaurant, meat market and a combination hotel and cafe.  The Pacific Electric left Los Angeles for the forty-four minute trip to Seal Beach every hour, the fare was .35 cents one way, .50 cents for a round trip ticket.  This Sept. 15th ad calls for all to board the Long Beach-Seal Beach Flyer: "All aboard for Seal Beach.  Accompany conductor seal over the new scenic Long Beach-Seal Beach line.  500 people visited Seal Beach yesterday.  Were you among them?  If not, you had better go over today --- lots are getting scarce --- and remember this one fact, Seal Beach is the last elevated ocean frontage between Santa Monica and Balboa, and the prices are bed rock.  Lots $495 and up.  Terms very easy...Go where things are doing.  Over $200,000 worth of improvement already made.  Over $150,000 more improvements to be made.  Surf and still water bathing, fine boating and fishing. Be in at the birth of a city and profit by the delightful experience of city building."

By the 1930's more than 900 cars traveled the 1,150 miles of P.E. track which criss crossed Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.  Sadly passenger service on the Pacific Electric through Seal Beach would end on July 2, 1950.  Freight service continued until the mid 1950's, but on April 8, 1961 all Pacific Electric service ended.  Trucks, cars and buses had supplanted the old mode of transportation. 

Daily Telegram 9/17/1913

"'Whew!--good-bye,' said Mr Seal to his business associates at his Los Angeles office yesterday.  'I am going back to the coolest spot on the coast.' When business interferes with your comfort quit the business.  'Henceforth I will transact all my business from my Seal Beach office.'  Seal Beach is cool in summer and warm in winter.  Bathing in the surf is perfectly safe as there is no undertow.  Fine still water boating and bathing.  another new business block started yesterday.  New houses constantly popping up..."

Daily Telegram 9/19/1913

"Splash me now! The water's cool at Seal Beach.  Seal Beach Hotel has been thoroughly renovated throughout.  Services of a celebrated chef secured, and will be thrown open to the public Saturday evening with a 6 o'clock dinner.  Dancing at the new pavilion Saturday night.  Sunday afternoon and evening.  All day yesterday and day before Seal Beach was the coolest spot on the Pacific Coast.  It is surrounded on three sides by salt water.  It 
can't get hot.  Cool breezes blow all summer long at Seal Beach.  Balmy days fill out the winter at Seal Beach.  365 days in the year the surf at Seal Beach is perfect, no undertow!  Why not insure forever against the heat---buy a lot at Seal Beach..."

Los Angeles Times 9/21/1913

"Cook Seal is waiting for you--Sunday.  Can't you just taste a chicken dinner with waffles and fixin's after a plunge in the safest, coolest surf on the Pacific Coast!  Remember the kind that mother used to make after you came back from the old swimmin' hole?  That's the kind of a dinner you will get at the newly decorated, newly furnished Seal Beach Hotel.  their specialty will be fish dinners and chicken dinners.  Reserve a table now..."

As the ad states, the Seal Beach Hotel was renovated and a celebrated chef hired.  What better way to spend an evening---you could dine at the hotel and then go dancing at the pavilion by the pier!  The Seal Beach Hotel (later re-named the Seal Beach Inn) came to offer other forms of entertainment.  In September 1923, the owner Mildred J. Blankenship and seven men, were arrested and later released on $5,000 bail. On the second floor of the hotel roulette wheels and other illegal gambling devices were found.  Seal Beach was gaining a reputation as a "wicked" place.  One Long Beach clergyman preached a sermon entitled, " a Moral Hell," with Seal Beach obviously in mind.

Original Glider Inn (with auto in front) 11/24/1931
Perhaps the best known Seal Beach eating establishment was the Glider Inn, now known as Mahe, still recognizable by the airplane on the roof.  Designed by Long Beach architect/draftsman Winfield Payne in 1930 it was originally located near Anaheim Landing  and and moved to its present location on Pacific Coast Highway in 1944 when the Navy Ammunition Depot took over the landing.  Before its move it was the hangout for pilots who frequented the small airport at Bay
Glider Inn after the move
Boulevard (now Seal Beach Boulevard) and Pacific Coast Highway.  The Glider Inn was known for the aeronautical memorabilia which lined the walls, model planes which hung from the ceiling and a pilot's register with signatures and notations by hundreds of pilots.

Los Angeles Times 9/21/1913
The amount of traffic being carried on the new Long Beach-Seal Beach line of the Pacific Electric Railway is a revelation to all.  Twenty-minute service will be inaugurated tomorrow and when the filling of the approaches to the new trestle across Alamitos Bay is completed, cars will run on this schedule at all times.  This will give the residents of Seal Beach four cars an hour to Los Angeles.  Ten new residences are in the course of construction here at the present time.  During the past week W.S. Chorn began the erection of a business block on Main Street, directly opposite the hotel building, and on the adjoining 100 feet another two-story building will be started within sixty days.
     A two-story brick or concrete building will be started in December by J. W. Griffith, a capitalist of Cripple Creek, Colo., on the corner opposite the hotel.  The contract calls for several handsomely finished stores on the lower floor, and apartments above.  This work will be started in December.
Daily Telegram 9/24/1913

"Join in the chorus and boost with the band.  Seal Beach.  Seal Beach has broken all recent real estate records and is today the fastest growing and most attractive all-the year round beach property on the Pacific Coast.  a hundred new lots just opened.  prices $500 and up.  All improvements included.  three blocks from the sea, and a hop, skip and jump from Anaheim Bay---electricity and water, gas coming this fall, macadamized streets, cement sidewalks and curbs, 44 minutes from Sixth and Main, Los Angeles, choice of two lines, commutation ticket 12/1/2 cents per ride.

A new subdivision opened, placing 100 additional lots on the market.  Called Bay View Heights, it was located three blocks from the ocean adjacent to the school site.  The price for lots was raised $5, placing the starting purchasing price at $500.  The costlier lots were $1100.

Long Beach Press 9/25/1913
     Contrary to the general supposition that Seal Beach, the thriving new resort east of Long Beach, across Alamitos Bay is to be a wide open town, R.D.  Horton, local representative of the Guy M. Rush Company, promoters of the resort, states that it is to be as "dry" as Long Beach.  Prohibitive clauses are contained in every deed and no license will be granted to sell liquor as a beverage.

Well, R.D. Horton didn't get his facts straight.  Not only did Seal Beach become one of the "hot spots" for illegal liquor, it also became a Mecca for gambling....something that wasn't remedied until Seal Beach residents voted in May 1953 to close the notorious Airport Club, a Quonset poker palace, owned by ex L.A. police officer William L. Robinson.  A wake for the poker parlor was held May 20, 1953,  for the club that had operated on a 24-hour basis since its opening June 9, 1950.  As a gesture of appreciation for the mourning poker populace, Robertson had ham sandwiches and coffee passed out freely after the last hands were played at 11 p.m. This was just the first step in getting gambling out of the city.  On October 20, 1954, by a vote of 605 to 516, Seal Beach residents approved a new city ordinance banning all forms of professional gambling, not just poker.

Newspapers advertising the new resort of Seal Beach touted it as being a place of romance.  Many a single man and unmarried woman came to the sea shore, cast aside their worries and found a congenial companion to share the rest of their lives with...or so the ads led you to believe.

Los Angeles Times 9/28/1913

"Cupid seal is matching hearts every day.  Seal Beach, no undertow.  Watch the little love god cut capers at the best and safest beach on the Pacific Coast.  Take her with you and pick out "cupid" from the rest of the silk-coated, deep-sea sponsors of Seal Beach.  Head up Lovers' Lane and Honeymoon Walk.  Buy a lot and plan that first house where the air is ever cool in  summer and the winter breeze is always balmy..."

Next: Oct.-Dec. 1913 - Gearing up for winter

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