Huntington Beach Old Photos and Information for Surf City

The most recent history of Huntington Beach is 100-year venture into tourism, oil & space exploration and soft industries with corporate headquarters locating to the city. Huntington Beach's rich history of photos began with the Newland House, the Red Car, a pleasure pier, ocean plunge, pavilion and attractions not strikingly different from today.  Shortly after Huntington Beach adopted its name, an oil boom began when several veins were discovered on the land near the beach. For approximately 100 years, the derricks, offshore platforms and pumps have dotted the terrain and appeared in the landscape of photographs. While the pumps surprisingly still sit next to houses, a hotel in the downtown region and are plentiful near the wetlands, many have been capped as the price of land goes up. This picture gallery includes an assortment of photos obtained through various sources and is brought to you for your enjoyment. We'd like to thank those who have contributed to the cause of helping educate and remind us of our roots in the West Coast Mecca of Huntington Beach, California, also known as Surf City.

Huntington Beach banner

Carousel near Huntington Beach Pier in Old Photo

Huntington Beach
 Hunting Beach
Huntington Beach
Red Car
Franklin Roosevelt
4th of July Parade
New Riders of the
Purple Sage
Golden Bear
 Robin William
Golden Bear
Linda Rondstadt
Golden Bear
John Mayall
Golden Bear

Kenny Rankin

Golden Bear
Golden Bear
Steve Martin
Golden Bear
Bachman Turner
Golden Bear
../Golden Bear building and signage from the 1980s

Golden Bear

Soap Box Derby
Huntington Beach
Main Street
Post Office
Realty Co. Office

Beach Carousel

Evangeline Hotel
Man on 3 while bike at Huntington Beach Pier
End of the Pier Cafe
John Gustafson
Huntington Surfer
 Surfing Huntington
Hoyt Axton
Golden Bear
Main Street Biz
Matthew Helme and His Family pose for photo in front of Historic Helme Building
Matthew Helme(15)
Helme Building
Salt Water Plunge
Huntington Beach


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Huntington Beach History

In 1895, the Southern Pacific Railroad built a line to Huntington Beach, connecting the farming area to the Holly Sugar Plant which had relocated to Santa Ana.

In 1901, Philip A. Stanton and Col. H.S. Finley visited the area and recognized its potential as a west coast resort rivaling Atlantic City, New Jersey. They formed a syndicate called the West Coast Land and Water Co. They acquired 1,500 acres for $100,000 and began dividing the area around Main Street into lots and streets. They named their new development Pacific City.

Eighteen months later, they sold out to another group of investors, including Henry E. Huntington. Hence the city's new name. One of the first things the new Huntington Beach Company did was construct a wooden pier. The Pacific Electric Railway also now connected the city to Long Beach. The city's first telephone system was installed. It operated from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The city incorporated on Feb. 17, 1909. The first mayor was Ed Manning. The city saw its first school built the same year.

In 1920, oil was discovered, and the small village quickly mushroomed into a full-fledged boomtown. Pacific Coast Highway was constructed in 1925, opening up access to 8-1/2 miles of virgin beach and ushering in the city's gradual transition to "Surf City." By the 50's and 60's, Huntington Beach had become the fastest growing city in the nation. Today a population of approximately 200,000, the city is world renowned for its surfing and is becoming a destination attraction.

The Pier is one of Huntington Beach's focal points. The first pier, a 1,000 foot. long timber structure, was built in 1904, five years before the city's incorporation. In 1912, winter storms nearly destroyed the pier, and a $70,000 bond issue was approved by the voters to build a new one. The new 1,350 ft. pier was the longest, highest, and only solid concrete pleasure pier in the United States at that time. In 1930, the pier was lengthened by 500 ft. with a caf'at the end. In 1939, a storm destroyed the end of the pier and the caf' After reconstruction, it was re-opened in 1940. In 1941, the Navy commandeered the pier for submarine watch during World War II. In March of 1983, storms severely damaged the end of the pier and the caf' necessitating demolition and closure of the end of the pier. In September 1985, the rehabilitated pier reopened with a new two story "End Caf'" only to be washed away again on January 17, 1988. The pier was declared unsafe and closed on July 12, 1988. In July 1990, the construction bid for the new pier was given to Reidel International. The new pier replicated the historic architectural style of the original 1914 concrete pier, complete with arched bents. The pier was built to withstand not only wave impact and uplift, but also earthquakes. Today, thousands of visitors stroll along the pier and enjoy a meal at Ruby's Restaurant at the end of the pier.

Huntington Beach is rich in history with its beginning as an oil town. Today, the Newland House still stands proud at Beach Boulevard and Adams, a reminder of the architecture as well as furnishings of the early 1900's. Also of great historic value is the City Gym & Pool located next to Dwyer Middle School on Palm Avenue. The building was constructed in 1931 and survived the 1933 earthquake, while other buildings did not. In the 1960's, many buildings were destroyed because they failed to meet new earthquake standards. The School Board chose to donate the facility to the City of Huntington Beach. The city made structural upgrades and it has since served as a recreation center that has served the community with a variety of programs and recreational opportunities. The City Gym & Pool was renovated using the original wood in the gymnasium, and most of the fixtures and windows were restored. The building was rededicated on October 12, 2000.

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