My Journey by Donna Karan

Seal Beach: even its name sounds like a great place to either live or visit.

This is the type of city that has everything one could possibly want from sandy beaches to friendly people and a quaint downtown area.
According t to the city’s website, Seal Beach was incorporated on Oct. 27, 1915, and the current City Charter was adopted in 1964. J.C. Ord, a Civil War veteran known as “the father of Seal Beach,” was the first resident in 1901. The population in 1915 was 250 persons, including children. Bay City was renamed Seal Beach in 1916. Also, California Sea Lions, commonly called Seals, were a regular part of the scene along the coast and a perfect name for the new town. Thus, Seal Beach was born.

It looks like a lot of people who agree that Seal Beach offers much more than a place for residents to hang their hats. As of 2010 census, the population was 24,168, up from 24,157 as reported in the 2000 census.

Location, Location, Location

Seal Beach borders Los Angeles County where other great cities including Long Beach and the adjacent San Pedro Bay. To the southeast are Huntington Harbour, a neighborhood of Huntington Beach, and Sunset Beach, also part of Huntington Beach. A majority of the city’s acreage is devoted to the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach military base.

Years ago, the area that is now Seal Beach, was actually known as “Anaheim Landing,” due to the boat landing and seaside recreational areas of nearby Anaheim. The site of Anaheim Landing is now registered as a California Historical Landmark.

Seal Beach Pier

By the 20th century, Seal Beach was known as Bay City, but there was already a Bay City located in Northern California. When the time came to incorporate in 1915, the town was renamed Seal Beach. It is not surprising that the town became a popular recreation destination and featured a beach-side amusement park long before Walt Disney built Disneyland.

Additionally, The United States Navy’s Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach was originally constructed during World War II for loading, unloading, and storing of ammunition for the Pacific Fleet, and especially those US Navy warships home-ported in Long Beach and San Diego. With closure of the Concord Naval Weapons Station in Northern California, it has become the primary source of munitions for a majority of the U.S. Pacific Fleet. It is one of the most popular attractions in Seal Beach and is visited by residents as well as tourists year-round.

Arts and culture

There is always something to do in this beach town and people come from all over to enjoy its many events. For example, The Lions Club Pancake Breakfast is held every April and then it hosts its popular Fish Fry (started in 1943) in July. If you love fish, this is one event you certainly don’t want to miss. The Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce sponsors many events, including: a Classic Car Show in April, a Summer Concert series in July and August, and the Christmas Parade in December along with Santa and the Reindeer. In September it’s time for the colorful Kite Festival that brings out people of all ages.

Cars weren’t the only mode of transportation back in the day. On Electric Avenue where the railroad tracks used to run, there is the Red Car Museum, which features a restored Pacific Electric Railway Red Car. The Red Car trolley tracks once passed through Seal Beach going south to the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. Going north into Long Beach you could then take the Red Cars through much of Los Angeles County. Even though they do not exist anymore, you can get up close and personal with a similar car at the museum. You might also stumble across some of the tracks while walking around town.

Loads of Recreation

In addition to all kinds of events the city hosts there are a number of recreational activities to join in and see. The second longest wooden pier in California (the longest is in Oceanside) is located in Seal Beach and is used for fishing and sightseeing. The pier has periodically suffered severe damage due to storms and other mishaps, requiring extensive reconstruction. A plaque at the pier’s entrance memorializes Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, 1938, Project No. Calif. 1723-F, a rebuilding necessitated by storms in 1935. Another plaque honors the individuals, businesses, and groups who helped rebuild the pier after a storm on March 2, 1983, tore away several sections.

Of course what is Southern California without surfing? Seal Beach has some of the best surfing around. Surfing locations in Seal Beach include the Seal Beach pier and the river-”Stingray Bay” (or Ray Bay—the surfer’s nickname for the mouth of the San Gabriel River—the stingrays are attracted by the heated water from several upstream powerplants). Classic longboard builders in the area include Harbour Surfboards, established in 1959, in Seal Beach.

Eisenhower Park

As you can see Seal Beach provides much to see and do for its residents as well as those who just want to visit the lovely city by the sea. It is a special place where family, friends and others can congregate to enjoy the good life that Southern California has to offer.

Sources:
City of Seal Beach website
Wikimedia
Red Car Museum

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