Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Dreaming big: Pacific City 1903


Pacific Electric Railway map of Pacific City (Huntington Beach) circa 1903.  (Image, raremaps.com)

   The map above was made by the West Coast Land and Water Company in 1903, six years before Huntington Beach incorporated.   The West Coast Land and Water Company was a land syndicate formed by Philip A. Stanton, John N. Anderson and Colonel S.H. Finley, who acquired 1,500 acres of which 40 acres would be the new Pacific City.

   Printed on waxed linen, it still shows the pencil marks of planned roadways.  The map shows the pier, bath house, a pavilion, and planned ocean-front lots north of Newport Beach.  There's also a mention of "Vickers addition," which is a reference to J.V. Vickers, also part of the West Coast Land and Water Company.

A view of Huntington Beach from the wharf, circa 1904.  (Photo, USC Libraries)

   There are street names that have since dropped off the map: Water, Finley, Philo, Gates.  And, of course, the bigger change came when the partners enlisted Henry E. Huntington to bring his electric railway to town.  Huntington agreed, received a large block of stock in the company, the West Coast Land and Water Company became the Huntington Beach Company, and the town was renamed Huntington Beach.  

   By July 1904, the Pacific Electric Railway extended its line from Long Beach to Huntington Beach.

   In a 1981 history of Huntington Beach, Carolyn F. Bailey writes the Huntington Beach Company "invested heavily in city improvements.  A generator was built to provide electricity. Telephone service operated from 6 A.M. to 9 P.M.  Sidewalks, curbs and gutters were built.  A pavilion, an indoor plunge and a hotel were constructed.  Parks and a nursery, providing free plants to residents, were among the major projects undertaken."

   According to Barry Lawrence Ruderman Antique Maps, "by early 1903 about 200 lots had been sold, a 550-foot wharf had been built plus a pavilion and about 35 cottages."  Ruderman is selling the map and you can take a closer look at the map's details at http://www.raremaps.com/gallery/detail/31794df/Map_of_Pacific_City_Orange_Co_Cal_Huntington_Beach/Pacific%20Electric%20Railway.html

A horse race on the sand in Huntington Beach, early 1900s. (Photo, Pomona Public Library)

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1 comment:

  1. This is a great Blog! Keep it up HB has lost a lot of it's History, way to keep it alive!

    ReplyDelete

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