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History So Cal back in the day...

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by 1stGrumpy, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. LBCD
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 732


    I was on Seal Beach Main St. last weekend and came across this, I’ve seen a few different era cars there lately that have been real nice. [​IMG]

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
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  2. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,982


    Hey 1OT,
    Agree, the beach towns have that certain feel to them. Growing up in So Cal has its advantages watching it expand and develop. (some good, some bad...etc. but, hasn't bothered us for all of these years.) At nights, they are attractive for those that go to restaurants and shop with less people milling around. The hot rods are few and far between during the winter months, even though it is fairly mild...(not this week) But, on any spring/summer weekend anywhere in the Orange County area has a lot of old cars coming out of the woodwork.

    These days, on Saturdays, Cars and Coffee San Clemente Outlets, Donut Derelicts in Huntington Beach, and others up the coast are crowded with hot rods, customs, and trucks. They all have to leave sometime between 10-11 am, so they are on the road somewhere. Last week, we saw an old 50s black Buick/Cadillac, fastback sedan going the other way on Coast Highway, too fast for the camera, correct ID, and driving. But, definitely not your everyday Honda Civic.

    Your truck fits right in going down those main streets of the beach towns. For us, it would be a "head turner" for sure.
    Ron Funkhouser likes this.
  3. LBCD
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 732


    My city...some of the sites are still around today and some aren’t. Born in Dublin Ire and move to LBC in 75, love it here. [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]
    My wedding reception in 92 was at the Breakers (the tallest building above) my friend and some of his friends just bought the Breakers and are turning it back into its former glory...can’t wait for that!

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    Joined: Feb 22, 2006
    Posts: 531


    Just Neat Pic's///////////////
  5. The Villa Riviera. My grandma worked here as the switchboard operator during WWII. My grandpa died a week before my mom was born in '39 and grandma relocated from San Berdo to Long Beach. She was a school teacher and worked here as well. She use to tell me stories about how tough it was being single with 2 kids during the depression. She met her 2nd husband in LB, a 30 year navy man and Pearl Harbor survivor.
    My brother in law and his wife lived in the Villa for about 5 years, their place faced the ocean and was one of the few condo/apartments with a balcony. Pretty cool building.
  6. My what I'm calling home area, was there from elementary through high school. I wasn't there in these times but I REALLY wish I was.

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  7. Olive Ave. Burbank, Ca.
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  8. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,982


    Alamitos Bay: Bayshore Ave And 54th Place. (2nd Street bridge in the background)

    Hey LBCD,

    Nice array of Long Beach area early photos. Bought The Breakers? Wow, impressive. In HS, on dates and Friday night hang out times, the thing to do was to try and get to the top of the Breakers for the views of the city or walk down to the arcade level for a different entrance to the Pike Amusement area.

    You picked out one of the "most cruised" corners of the whole Alamitos Bay/Belmont Shore area. This could be during Easter Vacation early 1960-62 as the Bayshore Ave. is not closed to through traffic. During the summer months, Bayshore Ave. is closed from 2nd Street to the 54th Place intersection. Sometimes, the closure starts at Ocean Blvd and 54th. This area leads to the famous corner (54th and Ocean Blvd .) handball court(s) where the macho guys would put on a battle for their girlfriends.

    Constant cruising the Bayshore Ave. brought on the closure during the summer. It was just too much stop and go traffic (mostly stop to view the sun bathers on the very close to the street, beach.) Our "go to" beach area was the Alamitos Bay Peninsula for quiet hanging out. But, for cruising, talking, basketball, handball and meeting new kids from other high schools, this corner was "THE" place to be. There were teenagers, usually from Lakewood, Jordan, Millikan and the near by, Long Beach Wilson high schools gathering here.

    Now, the Long Beach peninsula residents and visitors knew/know this about this closure and took other measures to bypass this blockage, during this time. If you wanted a busy, crowded gathering spot to spend a day at the beach, this corner area was it. If you wanted quiet, serenity, empty beaches and quiet, romantic walks on the ocean side, it was a short stroll across the Ocean Blvd. 80% of the time the photo below shows how empty this area was for beach use, even with homes all along the beach and boardwalk. (a long boardwalk and premium parking spots were the drawbacks, here...)

    Ocean Blvd and Dana Place, ocean side of the street.

    The yellow car shows the location of a duplex, on the corner, during our final college days. My wife (girlfriend at the time) lived in this tiny 400 sq. ft. beach cottage in 1967-68. It was a ¼ mile away from this Alamitos Bay Beach drive-by corner. It was a fun place to live and hang out. The duplex was a getaway from the hectic final year of college. Just down the boulevard to the end of the peninsula was a fun summer surf spot at 72nd Street.


    The Belmont Shore/Alamitos Bay area was as farthest South in the Long Beach cruising area. Belmont Shore borders on Seal Beach and Orange County. The area has changed (not that much) since 1959, but it has remained a favorite of most Long Beach locals throughout the years. This whole area was full of hot rods and cruisers on Friday/Saturday nights as part of the whole Long Beach cruising scene. It definitely had a bunch of hot rods cruising during the day on those busy weekends.
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  9. This spot has for decades been called, and still is by those that grew up around here, 'Horny Corner'

    fullsizeoutput_23f0.jpeg .
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2018
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  10. Adams Blvd., Los Angeles, My Grandfather on his Harley (1915?) with his tall friend Corey Barger (no relation to Sonny)
  11. Billybobdad
    Joined: Mar 12, 2008
    Posts: 858


    I wondered how long it was going take for somebody to point this out. Used to frequent this spot back in the day and the name was certainly appropriate....lotsa bad behavior enjoyed by all!
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  12. That's what it used to look like ?!?!?!, I've been past there before 2000's and it's not the same (of course I drive past it at night).
  13. old man hal
    Joined: Jun 21, 2017
    Posts: 65

    old man hal

    Belmont Shore, remember it well!

    Sent from my iPad using H.A.M.B.
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  14. It still looks pretty much the same, especially during the off season. No more oil rigs in the distance though.
  15. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,982


    a different look:
    CRUISING STREETS: 54th Place from the ocean and Bayshore Ave. along the long, Alamitos Bay heading toward the Belmont Shore 2nd Street Bridge. (Those tall trees were simple, skinny trees, around 6 feet tall, back in the early 60s.)


    The ultimate summer rental beach apartment fell into our laps one year. When a friend called us one day and invited us to come down to his new apartment located on Alamitos Bay, we jumped at the chance. He had rented a place with a balcony facing the famous Alamitos Bay, 54th Pl. and Bayshore Ave. corner. How cool was that? It was a fabulous place to hang out everyday, especially for the location, location, location.

    As we were on the balcony enjoying the views, we could not get over the fact that this place was a fantastic place to live. For us, it was a summer hang out place. For my friend, it was his year long home that he saved up for years and had to work daily to keep the place. We felt badly, but he did invite us down there during the fun summer times. Of course, we had to park a ways over on the next block(s) or on the main Ocean Blvd. and walk to his place.


    As much as this place afforded great views and was located on the bay front, it got old. It was because of so much traffic and the crowds just kept getting bigger and bigger. The noise was just LOUD. The rental places down the long peninsula were more affordable and the beaches were virtually empty.

    As far as the local given name, it was not around in the early 60’s. Growing up there and living there years later, it became too crowded and busy for us. No one I knew/know can give me a definition of when it started to go downhill with that name. Newspaper articles as early as 1985 mentioned it. That was a different world then. The place is certainly different, now.

    Historical fact about those lonely homes along this short stretch of Ocean Blvd.

    DEC 2016:
    upload_2018-3-7_5-14-57.png (a rand photo… "Designed by mid-century architect Edward Killingsworth, the restaurant’s exposed post and beam structure and massive windows helped make it a classic for more than half a century.")


    A couple of Christmas seasons during high school, my friend’s family had a tree lot on the corner of San Antonio and Long Beach Blvd. It was right near two hot car/restaurants. The one on the adjoining lot to the Christmas tree lot was Hof’s Hut, Bixby Knolls. The other is right down the street, Grissinger’s Drive In. We all know what the thing is with drive in restaurants and cruising cars. This Hof’s Hut (now an office building) had a drive out only driveway that went right by the best booth in the restaurant. It was the most cruised driveway in this area, besides the drive-in parking lot. The reflection of the cars in the restaurant windows was up close and personal. What a sight for everyday cruising in your car.

    We were the only ones working the Christmas tree lot and one of the workers took the 1951 Chevy pickup home. So, all we had was the lowered, 57 Chevy Bel Air. Around 8 pm on a Saturday night, this older lady came in to buy a tree. She bought an 8 ft. tall white flocked tree. She wanted it delivered to her house. We both said fine and I started to flock the whole tree. When the tree was ready, she told us the address, which was at her beach house on the Belmont Shore Peninsula, about 11 miles away. We told her that the lot closed at 10:30 pm and that we could deliver it then. She said it was fine and gave us an extra tip to drive it to her house. Wrapping up the flocked tree with plastic and securing it to the top of the lowered 57 Chevy was an exercise in planning. It was a good thing that the Chevy was white…a white sleigh with a white tree on top…a sight for sure.

    When we were ready, we decided to drive through the adjoining Hof’s Hut driveway and see if we knew anyone sitting in the prime booth inside the huge window. Low and behold, there was a booth full of our friends (girls) having a late evening hamburger/coke/fries meal. They were all decked out in Christmas attire. When they saw the 57 Chevy, they knew it was us. When they saw the white flocked tree on top, they all stood up and started to laugh/point at us. What a scene… it should have been a movie clip for history…


    Yes, we delivered the white tree to the lady’s house and set it up in her living room. She thought the white tree on top of the white 57 Chevy Bel Air was fitting. A little LB history…the house was one of the only few that was still standing on the empty portion of the Peninsula/Alamitos Beach. It was one of the few houses that survived the documented 1939 hurricane that hit Long Beach. We always wondered why there were only a few homes from the famous Alamitos Bay handball courts to 55th street. Now we know. Back then, it was just a strange sight to only see a few homes on this stretch of beach. We were not historic information junkies back then, like in today’s internet driven world.
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  16. LBCD
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 732


    Horny corner is still the same, times haven’t changed we used to go to the bay all the time with my parents but would be just north of horny corner, the apartments just across the road were party central and still are! [​IMG]

    Here is the first electrically operated traffic signal installed in 1927, at Broadway and Pine Avenue. On hand for the occasion were Officer Houghton, Chief James Yancy, and City Manager Henry Callahan.

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2018
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  17. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,982


    upload_2018-3-8_5-59-16.png completed in 1931
    Hey LBCD,

    That early photo of the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium brings back many memories from the 50s and 60s. We used to go to hot rod/custom car shows there during that time period. Also, our 1962 high school class was the last graduating class to use the Municipal Auditorium as our venue. It also held our “All Night Dance” (now called Grad Night) there. That year, 1962, before our Sunday (optional) Baccalaureate Services for graduating seniors, a big swell came in overnight.

    Baccalaureate services:
    “Formally defined as a religious service to honor the graduating class, in many institutions of higher education the baccalaureate has evolved into a quieter, more reflective event that focuses on students' personal growth and achievement.”

    The other following high school classes were able to use the main floor of the new Sports Arena for their graduation ceremonies and “All Night Dance.” Until the All Night Dance evolved into Grad Night at Disneyland or other places.
    Municipal Auditorium interior seating and stage

    In the pier/beach photo, there is water on this side of the curved road. That was the beginning of the old Rainbow Pier/Lagoon. (the name came from the pier looking like a curved rainbow.) A man made curved pier that looped the auditorium. We always drove around that Rainbow Pier as it gave anyone a great view of the ocean and coastline, either way, north or south.

    On the south side of the Rainbow Pier, it faced in a southerly direction. During the early summer south swells, created waves that were rideable as people stood on the pier pointing and laughing.
    On the other side of the pier,(San Pedro side) my dad used to tell me that he and his teenage friends used to body surf overhead waves that constantly crashed there. Mainly because back then, there was no breakwater to block any swells coming to the beach.

    I could imagine the waves coming in and breaking all along that shore that is now the Shoreline Marina and exit of the LA River. Even where the Queen Mary is located would have great waves pushing into the LA Rivermouth. But, the breakwater allows a rather calm public harbor and freight harbor in the LB/LA shore.

    “It's safe to say that a more distinctive pier never adorned the Southern California shore. Unlike the many pleasure piers that stretched beyond the breakers only to dead-end above the ocean's swells, the Rainbow Pier in Long Beach extended more than a quarter-mile into the cold Pacific before arcing back to shore. The 3,800-foot-long structure resembled a giant horseshoe, or a rainbow -- hence its name.

    But its shape was not all that made the Rainbow Pier unique. It was also among the first of its kind designed explicitly for the automobile. Built atop a granite breakwater, the pier's roadway could easily support the weight of a motorcar. And the fact that the road returned to shore eliminated the need for awkward turnarounds.

    By the 1960s, however, wave action and tidal forces had begun to undermine the pier, and Long Beach, flush with oil royalties, eyed Rainbow Lagoon as potential real estate. By 1966, a massive land reclamation project created the area home today to the Long Beach Convention Center and the Aquarium of the Pacific, while Shoreline Drive -- a six-lane thoroughfare linking the 710 freeway to Alamitos Avenue -- had replaced the city's graceful Rainbow Pier.”

    Belmont Shore upper right, Signal Hill upper left
    New Sports Arena still attached to the Municipal Auditorium(right) taken in 1962

    In 1962, our high school had a Sunday Baccalaureate Services for the families and students. It was a semi-mandatory event as part of the senior activities. But, from early Saturday morning, a new south swell rolled in between the breakwater openings and was breaking right at the left side entrance to the Rainbow Pier. I was determined to catch some waves as the size started to get bigger with the approaching hurricaine swell, hitting the beach.

    So, at the crack of dawn, a few friends and I were surfing those big waves, right next to the pier. Before the time of the Sunday event, there were people standing on the Rainbow Pier watching us surf. It was a built in stadium event for high school surfing…needless to say, I missed the school event taking place in the Municipal Auditorium just across the parking lot.


    On Monday, at school, I got called into the principal’s office to get chewed out for missing the event. Since I was supposed to be sitting in the front row (with the student government group) facing the stage, there was an empty seat throughout the event. Of course, everyone knew where I was during the event. What was my excuse for missing this gathering? It was not mandatory. Couldn’t everyone move over one seat? Sheesh…

    The June Graduation Ceremony was the last event of its kind to take place in the old Municipal Auditorium. The new Sports Arena was already attached to this historic building and starting in the fall, could be used for any kind of events. (Bigger hot rod/custom car shows, rock concerts, boat shows, etc.)

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  18. LBCD
    Joined: Oct 28, 2009
    Posts: 732



    Great info on the pier! I would of loved to been around back in those days. I never made it to the pike, but we used to go to the Belmont pool and looking up the beach you could see the Cyclone Racer.
    Here are some pics from the Long Beach Motorama held in the Arena a few years back that I attended and it was amazing....[​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    Sent from my iPhone using H.A.M.B.
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  19. 2bubbas
    Joined: Mar 19, 2011
    Posts: 463

    1. Upholstery

    thanks for posting- I enjoyed seeing the photos- never been there-
    LBCD likes this.
  20. happy hoppy
    Joined: Apr 23, 2001
    Posts: 2,322

    happy hoppy

    A good friends, Mother and Father. Pasadena, Ca. Yes, same car.
    Craig greene father.jpg Lois Jane Laning Greene Neff. Craig Green. 1932 Ford. Pasadena.jpg
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  21. jamesgr81
    Joined: Feb 3, 2008
    Posts: 265


    So who remembers the Marina Palace? Or who went to see bands play there? Seal Beach.
  22. jimmy six
    Joined: Mar 21, 2006
    Posts: 2,408

    jimmy six

    If it was at the west end of town on the north side of PCH, I did....
  23. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,982


    Tommy Ayres Chevrolet Dealership: Laguna Beach,CA

    Hey 1OT,

    Nice license plate surround. That dealer was the only Chevy dealer in South Orange County for many years. They were located on Broadway just south of the famous, Festival of Arts grounds. If any of the hot rods are driving South to Laguna from the inland areas, this is the road to the ocean from the I-5 freeway.
    upload_2018-3-10_4-15-39.png This is the main drag coming into Laguna Beach from the canyon. Tommy Ayres Chevrolet on one side of Broadway going toward the ocean, South Coast Ford was across the street.
    Tommy Ayres: Now, a gallery and a Goodyear Tire dealership.

    More prominent to travelers on Coast Highway North or South, the Cadillac/Oldsmobile Dealership was located on the next block across the street from the ocean.
    Allen Cadillac dealership, late 40s until 1971.
    2018, a restaurant complex and gas station corner.

    When we lived in Laguna Beach in our first house, this place saw our 72 blue El Camino many times. The local mechanic at our favorite gas station was stumped as to why it did not get better gas mileage. (we knew it was the factory smog crap that was bolted on from the factory via the U.S. Gov’t rules)

    So many trips to Tommy Ayres still did not solve it. Timing, spark plugs, less weight oil, all tried and still it got terrible gas mileage. This is during the gas crisis during the 70s in So Cal. It did have superior A/C which was mandatory as our first A/C car and pleased my wife, since she was the daily driver in it. They had top quality mechanics and service. Plus, it was just down the hill from our house.

    Other car dealers in Laguna Beach, now gone: a Cadillac/Oldsmobile dealership moved to Laguna Niguel by the I-5 freeway, and a Buick dealership to ??? This small city on the beach now has no major car dealers anymore. The reason, high cost of land, buildings and a deadend at the ocean for clientele. Not a 360 degree market. Only a 180 market.


    But for the time we were there driving by those dealerships, daily, it was a fun town to live. The community? Outstanding, except for the weekends and summers. Oh yeah, home values, once affordable, but outrageous these days.

    My mom told me a story about how my dad took her down to Laguna Beach a long time ago. (early 50s) for a nice lunch and drive. (He probably wanted to see some great surf fishing coves..) But, at the time, from a previous land sale, she had some floating money for investment.

    Having grown up on the beach, she wanted to buy a beachfront house or property. So, they found some that were nicely priced. By the time they got back to Long Beach, my dad had convinced her to invest in stocks and not property. Some foresight…we could have grown up on the beach in Laguna! Geez…

  24. i.rant
    Joined: Nov 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,851

    from Illinois
    1. 1940 Ford

    Thanks to all who posted and shared their experiences,photos and knowledge on this way back journey thread. Nostalgia and storytelling at its best.
    Looking forward to our visit later this year as we wind up our Rt66 trip, last visit in 95 and prior was 68 upon discharge from the Marines.
    I loved it there,to this day I wonder how my life might have been different if I’d stayed.
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  25. The area has changed in my time also, I was there from 1980-87. Was a great place to grow up but all the unique shops that I remember are gone...but at least the coastline is still the mostly same. 5 of the places I worked at through school are being where Allen Cadillac was (Giovanni's Pizza, first job at 15). I grew up on the north end of town and my friend from 6th grade (still my friend and he's on the HAMB) family goes back to the 20's or 30's in Laguna (his mom still lives there).

    Again Jnaki thank you for posting the history of the area.
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  26. Benny's Ford
    Joined: Dec 26, 2016
    Posts: 13

    Benny's Ford

    Thats how I remember it, I used to live in Azusa.
    1stGrumpy likes this.
  27. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 1,982



    If I recall correctly, back in those early 1950s, our dad took us to downtown Long Beach to see the latest in inventions. It was an intersection on Pine Ave. (Broadway crossing?) that allowed the pedestrians to cross at all angles during an extended red light in all traffic directions.

    Since my dad’s favorite stores were on Pine Avenue, it was a treat to go with him. He always liked to shop for something. So, when we got to the intersection, it looked the same to us. No big deal. But, when the light turned green, only cars moved, not the pedestrians… he held us back. We had to wait until the cross traffic finished their turn, then ALL lights were red.
    Now, it was our turn to go across the street when an interesting extra box light with a pedestrian symbol lit up. When my dad took a step off of the curb at a diagonal and headed for his favorite store, we thought he was crazy. No one walks at a diagonal in intersections. We all grew up going corner to corner, with the green light. No, my dad laughed and told us to follow him. There were other pedestrians doing the same thing, walking across at a diagonal. What???


    Over the years, it was used only downtown at the busy intersections. It got to be so common that as a driver, we avoided those intersections because it took up too much time sitting, waiting for our green light. Then the one way streets came into play and that is another story.

    Today, these intersections are called Scramble Crosswalks.

    “The scramble crosswalk, also known as a pedestrian scramble or diagonal crossing, was first introduced to the United States and Canada in the 1940s. They allow for pedestrian crossings in all directions, including diagonal, while motorist traffic is stopped, providing an added measure of safety in an effort to reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions while at the same time promoting walkable cities.

    Scramble crosswalks have been shown in studies to be safer for pedestrian traffic because they stop motorists in all directions and allow for traffic-free crossing of the streets where they’re present. Collisions in some cities dropped by nearly half after the installation of the special crosswalks. However, they also force motorists to sit for longer periods at lights which has led to some resentment and backlash in the past, moving many cities to remove them shortly after installing them.

    The demonstration will take place at one of three that will ultimately exist on Pine, a second one is already in place at the 5th Street intersection and third scramble crosswalk is scheduled to be painted at Pine and 1st Street. The city installed a pedestrian scramble in Belmont Shore at the beginning of March the first such crosswalk to be built in the city in decades.”

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