Thursday, June 6, 2013

1913 July - August: The Ad Campaign Begins


July & August 1913

Step back to 1913 and relive the “selling of Seal Beach” in these drawings and articles.  The illustrations are presented chronologically, as readers in 1913-14 would have found them.  In addition to the illustrations, articles about Bay City (soon to become Seal Beach) were featured.

Daily Telegram 7/9/1913
The first ads for what would later be revealed to be Seal Beach appeared on July 9, 1913, and were “teasers” to catch the public’s attention.  No mention was given as to what the ad was about, but the question mark led you to believe that more information was to come.

An ad similar to the first appeared the next day in the Daily Telegram.  Ads also started to appear in the Los Angeles Times and Long Beach Press.  

An article in the Daily Telegram gave an inkling about what the mysterious seal was all about:

Daily Telegram 7/10/1913 

Seal Beach Excursions: Long Beach Headquarters 9 Locust with R.D. Horton
Daily Telegram 7/10/1913

    O.W. Goding, of the Guy M. Rush Company of Los Angeles, has opened up headquarters with R.D. Horton, 9 Locust Avenue, exclusive agents for Seal Beach, from which place this property will be handled.  Excursions will be run to this property each Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, during this month and Mr. Goding says that the fare will be so reasonable and the program for entertaining will be of such character that he expects to haul capacity crowds on each excursion.  This property is located just a few miles below Long Beach and is known to the old-timers as Bay City.  Since Mr. Rush took over the property great improvements have been made and thousands of dollars are yet to be spent.  It is the intention of the company to keep on improving this nature’s beauty spot until it will be second to none on the coast.  The fact that Guy M. Rush Company is handling it and the further fact that the local representatives are men of high sanding for square dealings, is a pretty good guarantee that Seal Beach will become one of the most popular beach resorts on the coast.

Friday, July 11, 1913, the ad revealed the mysterious seal was advertising Seal Beach, also identified in the drawing as Bay City. Prices for lots started at $495.  The time to open the resort was perfect.  The Pacific Electric had just introduced its summer beach rates.  The ad states: "Go and See the Seals Now - See 200 of them in the water at this famous beach.  Only 44 minutes from the heart of Los Angeles. 4 1/2 miles from Long Beach.  The safest beach in the world.  Absolutely no undertow. The only beach with two still water bays, a big  back country and a mile of the finest bathing beach in the world.

More articles clarified the ads:

Los Angeles Times 7/11/1913
Daily Telegram 7/11/1913
Beach Bait’s Brace of Bits; Big Bunch Bites.  First Thursday of the Summer on Which Twenty-five-cent Rate to the Seaside is Effective; Company Estimate is Forty Thousand Fares.
      With city asphalt reduced to the consistency of a huge omelet, and a summer sun getting its best licks for the year, the Pacific Electric called the turn when it selected yesterday for the first of the half-fare, two-bit, round-trip excursions to the sea shore.
      The surprising feature of the ocean exodus was not the number of persons who went to listen to the secrets of the waves as much as that there were any left in town to paddle around in wilted collars and disarranged tempers.  At the hill Street station it looked as though the metropolis was being depopulated…The special rates will be in effect every Thursday during the remainder of the summer alternating between Long Beach, San Pedro, Bay City and Anaheim Landing, and Santa Monica, Ocean Park, Playa del Rey, Venice and Redondo.

This article appeared the same day in the Daily Telegram
Daily Telegram 7/11/1913
 Big Excursion Next Monday to Seal Beach (Bay City) from P.E. Station
      How would you like to see 200 live frolicking seals disporting themselves in the placid waters at Seal Beach?  That’s what you can see next Monday, if you go down on the excursion which is advertised in this issue of the paper by Mr. Goding, southern manager of the Guy M. Rush Company of Los Angeles.  The company has spent over $100,000 in improvements at Seal Beach, Bay City, and will run their first excursion from Long Beach next Monday morning, special train leaving the P.E. (Pacific electric) station at 10 a.m.  A splendid program has been prepared for the entertainment of those who make the trip, together with a free lunch which will be served on the beach, where you can see the seals play their latest and most entertaining games…the electric line from Long Beach to Seal Beach will be completed by the middle of next month, which will bring the place within a few minutes ride of this city.

Sales were in full swing.  To go along with the illustrations the Los Angeles Times and the Long Beach Press ran identical articles:

Los Angeles Times 7/13/1913 
TOWN RENAMED: Bay City Hereafter to be Known as Seal Beach – Work Begun on Huge Trestle.
Daily Telegram 7/15/1913
      Two hundred seals have adopted Bay City as their natural  home, and are responsible for the change of the name of this thriving South Coast resort from Bay City to Seal Beach.  These seals have been arriving in increasing numbers each year and have made their particular headquarters in a little inlet entering Alamitos Bay.
      Right at this point the new trestle connecting the Bay City branch of the Pacific Electric with the present line is being built.  One of the incidents of the building of this trestle will be the creation of one or more rock islands near the shore, where the seals may sun themselves and the appointment of a seal keeper by the Pacific Electric Railway Company.
      Work on the 700-foot trestle began early in the week, and large gangs of men are busy making up for lost time in the connecting up of this railroad, which will make a direct line from Long Beach to Bay City, or Seal Beach.  This bridge will be completed early in August.

The big opening of the new community was July 17, 1913, when the Federated Improvement Association, a group formed to protest unjust taxation, came to town.  The Los Angeles Times ran a major story about the auspicious day:

Los Angeles Times 7/18/1913 
TWO THOUSAND PERSONS TO TWO HUNDRED SEALS: But Bay City Fur Bearers Beat It When Federated Improvement Association Descend Upon Their Habitat
      Never was a happier crowd than the 2000 who flocked to Bay City yesterday to enjoy the first outing of the Federated Improvement Association and the christening of Seal Beach.
      When they arrived on the grounds the Bay City Company, under the leadership of its president, P.A. Stanton, had the fresco luncheon ready.  The tables were piled high with heaps of barbecued beef, tubs filled with frijoles, buns, pickles and other toothables, besides barrels of coffee.  In order to determine which improvement association had the greatest percentage of its members present, the serving table was fenced off and the only way to reach it was through the gates at one end, each person being required to present a ticket.  The tickets cost nothing, but this seemed to be the only way to determine which association was there in greater force. 
      Then there was an hour or two to spend in the surf before the speech making began.  The handsome new pavilion is almost completed and the under portion, which is devoted to a bath-house, was fitted up ready for action.  Big and little, old and young, scrambled into bathing suits and had the time of their lives.  Some of the ladies who didn’t care to get wet all over took off their shoes and—and—stockings, tucked their “toadies” up fore and aft until they looked like troubadours, waded in the surf-and some of them managed to get wet just about all over.  But it was a jolly crowd and everything went.
      The occasion was graced by the presence of May Rose (of Los Angeles) who made a short speech in which he said he appeared there as a private citizen, offering his heartiest congratulations to the organization that he declared was the result of protests against unjust taxation.
      P.A. Stanton, in welcoming the crowd to the new Seal Beach, said they had no barbecued seal meat, but those who wished to see the real live “water birds” could walk up the beach and take a look at them.
      Following the speech making, the grand march took place as a dedication of the new pavilion, which has a fine maple floor and when completed will be one of the finest pavilions on the Coast…Nearly the entire crowd took part in the grand march to the music of an orchestra, after which there was a general dance.
      Those who did not care to dance went outside and took part in the races and other amusements…A handsome loving-cup, about eighteen inches high and valued at $125, was awarded the North Main Street Improvement Association as the one having the largest percentage of its membership at the picnic.
      Seal Beach is one of the best on the Coast.  It is clean as if swept with a broom and the shallow offing extends far out toward the end of the pier, and there is no undertow.  It is destined to become one of the favorite bathing beaches, though not so near the city (Los Angeles) as some of the others.

Daily Telegram 7/18/1913 
BOULEVARD TO BAY CITY: Will be Completed Within Sixty Days Says Supervisor
      Interesting news regarding road improvements in the vicinity of Long Beach was given the East Side Civic League last night by Supervisor W.E. Hinshaw…Mr. Hinshaw told of the work in progress on the boulevard between Long Beach and Bay City and said that the road would be paved and completed within 60 days.
Daily Telegram 7/19/1913 

You might spot a change in this July 19th ad.  It appears that the price tag of .25 cents may have been too expensive for many.  The cost for the excursion was lowered to .15 

Los Angeles Times 7/20/1913 
      A paved boulevard, skirting the ocean’s edge closely for twenty-five miles from Long Beach to Balboa, is now assured.  The Board of Supervisors have voted to appropriate $20,000 to complete the road from Bay City south to Balboa and the latter city is prepared to pave its road from Main Street to the northern limits of the city at the Santa Ana bridge.
      The road from Long Beach to Bay City has already been built and the new work, which will be undertaken at once, will complete one of the best and most beautiful ocean drives on the Coast.  The long boulevard is sure to be a favorite with automobilists because of the beauty of the surroundings and the level grade.  For several miles of the distance it will skirt the open ocean on one side with the inner bay on the other.

The California Department of Fish and Game says most of the animals in our coastal area are really sea lions, with an occasional harbor seal thrown in.  Sometimes people have a hard time telling them apart.  Supposedly, it is quite easy to distinguish a sea lion from a seal.  Sea lions have external ears and can fold their hind flippers under them.  Harbor seals appear “spotted” when they dry out, they are also more “sausage” like in appearance.  To early journalists, however, the harbor seal and California sea lion were simple “seals.”  If they had distinguished between the two, the more appropriate name for the new community would have been Sea Lion Beach.
Daily Telegram 7/22/1913
Daily Telegram 7/26/1913 
SPLENDID SHOWING: Seal Beach lots selling fast – Excursions popular
      “Since the Guy M. Rush Company took over the sale of Seal Beach and began running excursions from the local offices at 9 Locust Avenue sixty lots have been sold,” said Mr. Goding, local manager.
      “The remarkable record Southern California has made in the past few years, continued Mr. Goding, “has attracted the attention of the entire world, and as a consequence there are always numerous investors waiting for just such opportunities as those presented at Seal Beach.  The unexcelled location and surroundings, together with the vast improvements that have been made and those now in process, make of Seal Beach one of the safest and sanest investments in the entire Southland.  Lots are still selling at ground floor prices, but as soon as the Pacific Electric bridge connecting the Alamitos Bay line with Seal Beach is completed, the price of all lots will be materially advanced.  Seal Beach is destined to be a second Long Beach, and everybody knows that Long Beach has made fortunes for those who bought property here not so very many years ago, when Long Beach was young and Los Angeles was still a stripling.  It is a notable fact that Long Beach investors are much in evidence on all of our excursions.  They have made good here and express the utmost confidence in a glorious future for Seal Beach.  We are accommodating from forty to sixty people on each of our excursions, and as yet we have not had a single person who has not come home boosting Seal Beach and its opportunities.”

Los Angeles Times 7/27/1913 
RUSHING IMPROVEMENTS: Work Started on Trestle Across Mouth of Alamitos Bay – Road Gang Attacks New Highway
      All of the improvements now under way at Seal Beach, Bay City, are being rushed through as rapidly as possible.  The Pacific Electric Long Beach-Seal Beach line will probably be in operation within a short time, as the trestle across the mouth of Alamitos Bay was started this week.
      The new pavilion, although not entirely completed, is ready for occupancy, the bath house department having been in business since July 17, when it was initiated by the members of the Federated Improvement Association of Los Angeles.  The dance hall was also dedicated at this time by the visitors.  The Bay View Hotel has been opened for the season.

Daily Telegram 7/31/1913

The illustrations seen here are all different; however, many were used over again at different times to advertise the new township.  During the summer of 1913 three to four ads a week ran in the two major Long Beach newspapers, the Daily Telegram and the Long Beach Press as well as the Los Angeles Times.

Daily Telegram 8/2/1913 
SEAL BEACH EXCURSIONS: Local Investors Take a Hand
“It’s a bear” and it’s at Seal Beach and, too, there are lots of seals there.  No occasion here for one to imagine a row between a member of the bruin family and the docile amphibians sporting in the waters at Seal Beach, however.
The facts are that the sales out at Seal Beach are an “ursa major” of a success and the excursions, run from Long Beach at stated intervals for some time past, are bearing many people who invest after they view the tract and its charming surroundings.
A bare statement of facts as outlined by R.D. Horton and O.W. Goding, who are Long Beach representatives for Seal Beach tract, justifies this comment.
These men are not neglecting even the creature comforts of their excursionists, serving an appetizing luncheon to all who go.

Daily Telegram 8/5/1913 
IS BECOMING POPULAR: Seal Beach Grows in Favor for Big Outings
     With the announcement of the rushing of work on the amusement buildings at Seal Beach comes a simultaneous announcement that the new resort and residence district has already attained for itself a prominent place of popularity among the beaches.
During the week five or six different organizations were at Seal Beach negotiating for accommodations for outings.  The “Woman’s Million Club,” headed by Mrs. Clara Shortridge Foltz, will hold its annual outing at the beach on August 16.  The members of the club will be taken to Seal Beach in special parlor cars and an al fresco luncheon will be served.
Now that the pavilion is in full use the number of people arriving daily and is said to be increasing.
Daily Telegram 8/5/1913
Three hundred dressing rooms for the use of the surf bathers are now available.  The dancing pavilion, the floor of which is large enough to accommodate more than 200 couples, is said to be one of the finest on the coast.
The second building, it is expected, will be completed by the time the new Seal Beach-Long Beach line is in operation.  The new building will contain an assembly hall, moving picture hall, billiard hall and bowling alley.

This Aug. 5th ad is the first in which the hint of a "wedding" is mentioned: "The Flirtation With the Seal is Becoming Serious.  In fact those who meet our exceptional lot values at Seal Beach are soon wedded to a beautiful homesite." This theme continued until Long Beach and Seal Beach were joined by the new Pacific Electric rail line.  The two cities would soon be linked by a trestle being built across Alamitos Bay.

Daily Telegram 8/12/1923
This Aug. 12th ad states: "Make Long Beach longer. Long Beach increased in population over 700 per cent in ten years.  It grew faster than any city in the United States (Official). Why?  Because of its climate, its transportation and its location in the shadow of what is to be the third largest city in the United States.  Long Beach hasn't stopped growing, but to get moderately priced property you have to go back many blocks from the ocean.  Seal Beach, four and one-half miles east of Long Beach, has every natural advantage that Long Beach has, and many additional ones.  It has: A better beach, free from undertow. Two deep water bays. $100,000,000 worth of new improvements.  A new railroad direct to Long Beach.  Big lots fully improved, three blocks from the ocean, $495- other right on the ocean a trifle more in price.  10 percent cash, balance to suit."

Seal Beach had close ties with the City of Long Beach.  Many felt it was just a matter of time before the former Bay City would be annexed to its neighbor.  In 1925, legislation was introduced in the State capitol which would permit a city to annex territory situated in another county.  Though the bill passed, it was vetoed by Governor Richardson who felt it set a dangerous precedent.  Attempts to unite the two cities were not over.  In 1929, local Assemblyman Morgan  Keaton fought to move the boundaries of Orange County so Seal Beach could become part of Los Angeles County and Long Beach.  Though residents favored annexation, large interests such as the Los Angeles Gas & Electric Corporation which moved to Seal Beach because it was in Orange County rather than the more regulated Los Angeles County, did not.  Keaton failed in his efforts.
The Los Angeles Gas & Electric plant before 1933

     The Seal Beach Steam Plant, as it came to be known, began construction in 1924 on 8 acres of land at First and Ocean in Seal Beach.  Once deemed the most modern in the world, the $15 million plant was demolished in 1967.  Its chimney stack built on the roof of the boiler room, extended 400 feet above sea level and was established as a landmark on maritime maps until 150 feet was snipped off after the 1933
Power plant in 1934
Long Beach earthquake.

      Seal Beach relied on Long Beach for many services, such as sewage disposal and water.  Seal Beach came into the Long Beach water system in 1911, when Long Beach took over the Alamitos Water Company.  In 1935, a water bond measure, funded partially with a grant from the Public Works Administration, passed.  Seal Beach now had its own water supply.

Daily Telegram 8/19/1913

This Aug. 19th ad is one of the earliest representations of a “surf board” in any advertisement: "Get Out Your Surf Board and Join the Seals in the safest surf on the Pacific Coast.  Seal Beach lots are selling faster than any in Los Angeles County.  Over $150,000 worth of lots have been sold in a month.  Why?  It's the last highly improved close-in beach near Los Angeles.  It's the safest beach in the world, has no undertow.  Its climate is ten degrees cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter than Los Angeles.  It's only fifteen minutes from Pine avenue, on the new shore line.  It's the place for the business man to shed his cares.  It's the place for the family to thrive all the year round."

On July 11, 1913, world champion Hawaiian swimmer, Duke Kahanamoku thrilled beachgoers in Long Beach with an exciting demonstration of surf board riding.”  The famous swimmer and 1912 Olympic champion was in Southern California to compete in a swim meet at the Los Angeles Athletic Club.  The Duke, as Kahanamoku was nicknamed, narrowly beat a Long Beach boy, Pete Lenz, who invited the Hawaiian to visit Long Beach.  The Duke and his teammates spontaneously gave a thrilling exhibition of surf board riding.  Thousands were impressed at the novelty of standing erect on such a board.  De Kruif decided to use the popularity of Kahanamoku’s new sport in this ad.
The following year, on July 25, 1914, the first surf board contest was held in Seal Beach during the Minnesota Sate Society annual picnic.  Contestants started twenty-five yards from shore, where the waves were breaking best, and made a dash to shore, the winner being the “surfer” who first reached the beach on the crest of a large wave. 

Los Angeles Times. 8/19/1913
     Seal Beach put on her gala attire yesterday in honor of members of the Million Club of Los Angeles.  American flags and bunting were displayed an an enthusiastic reception tendered the visitors as the train of special cars pulled in...A band stationed in the handsome new pavilion supplied music for dancing, while to the strains of "Splash Me" and like classics those who were inclined gamboled in the surf and sunned themselves on the beach.  At 6 o'clock an al fresco supper was served on the spacious lawns adjoining the home of Phil Stanton...After an impromptu reception at the Stanton home club members were conveyed to the beach where a huge bonfire had been arranged...On the pier, in the wake of the moon, an informal business meeting was called...With the inconstant moon lending its rays, and the broad Pacific as an inspiration, members fancied they could peer into the future and see their plans full-bloomed realities...So when the last gong rang and all were homeward bound --- some reluctantly --- and a few stragglers left with the moon on the beach.
Daily Telegram 8/21/1913
This Aug. 21st ad states: "No Life Guards Need Apply.  Nature has made Seal Beach safe, safer than any beach known, there is no undertow.  Make your home all the year round where the surf is always a joy and never a danger.  $150,000 worth of lots have been sole in Seal Beach since July 8 of this year.  $100,000 is being spent for the finest pavilion on the coast --- 300 rooms for bathers --- dancing floor big enough for 200 couples.  New line to Long Beach giving car every fifteen minutes, to Los Angeles in 44 minutes, will be open in two weeks.  Cement walks and curbs, water, electricity, graded streets all in and paid for.  Lots have fine soil and are high and sightly."

The original pleasure pier, built in 1904, still stood in Seal Beach.  In addition, developers built
Seal Beach twin pavilion
a twin pavilion, which resembled the famous twin pavilion of Atlantic City.  This spacious amusement hall, divided into two separate units, was erected at the foot of Main Street.  The east two-stories building was 30 x 135 feet and had an entrance facing the beach.  On the ground floor was a bathhouse, equipped with a swimming pool, 275 dressing rooms, offices, laundry and drying rooms, and showers,  Above it was a dance hall with a street level entry.  The west side of the building was 53 x 128 feet and had its entry on Main Street.  It contained a bowling alley, cigar stand, and more dressing rooms.  The second floor, level with the pier, served as a pool and billiard hall.
Beach and pier
The pier stood until July 1935, when a sixty-foot section collapsed into the ocean, marooning sixteen on a portion still standing.  Thousands lined the shore watching the Coast Guard attempt to rescue the sixteen left on the outer end of the tottering pier.  When a Coast Guard cutter arrived, soundings showed the water too shallow to allow the craft to get to the pier.  A small boat, which could accommodate only four people, was rowed to the pier and a rope thrown to the marooned group and a boson’s chair rigged to rescue the stranded people.  The pier was still the private property of the Bayside Land Company, but things were to change; a new pier and breakwater project was approved with funding from the Public Works Administration.  On May 21, 1939, the new 1850 foot Municipal Pier officially opened.  The two-day celebration, “Seal Beachcombers’ Frolic,” included bathing beauty and band competitions, swimming and fishing contests, sailboat, paddleboard and kayak races.

Daily Telegram 8/23/1913
The seal is enjoying his “sundae,” just as visitors would enjoy their “Sunday” by the sea: "Enjoy the new sensation,  try a Seal Beach sundae.  Seal Beach Sunday is great, but it's just as good on Monday, Wednesday or Friday.  Scores are buying lots at the very rim of the ocean every week.  Why?  Because it's live, as live as Venice, Ocean Park or Long Beach when they were most active.  Shrewd, conservative buyers are backing their faith in this "new Long Beach" by their dollars.  Business openings are being snapped up quickly.  Money is available for business and other buildings.  Thousands have their eyes on Seal Beach, the one beach absolutely without an undertow.  Two great still water bays.  Lots fully improved, $550 and up.  10 per cent cash, balance to suit you."

Seal Beach was great fun, a crowd of 80,000 on a Sunday was not unusual.  People who came to spend a day on the beach arrived by trolley car, buggies and rattling automobiles that frightened the horses tied to hitching posts along the main street.  If one got tired watching the playful seals, fishing or swimming, there were balloon ascensions, parachute jumps and other carnival type entertainment.

Los Angeles Times 8/31/1913 
      Seal Beach and Long Beach will be tied together by a new electric car line and the formal opening of this road will take place on Admission Day, September 9. Cars will be operated every twenty minutes in both directions.  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.

Next: September 1913 - The Wedding of Seal Beach and Long Beach

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