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Long Beach, California

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Please add profiles of those who were born, lived or died in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California.

Official Website

History

The town grew as a seaside resort with light agricultural uses. The Pike was the most famous beachside amusement zone on the West Coast from 1902 until 1969; it offered bathers food, games and rides, such at the Sky Wheel dual Ferris wheel and Cyclone Racer roller coaster. Gradually the oil industry, Navy shipyard and facilities and port became the mainstays of the city. In the 1950s it was referred to as "Iowa by the sea," due to a large influx of people from that and other Midwestern states. Huge picnics for migrants from each state were a popular annual event in Long Beach until the 1960s.

A Bixby cousin, John W. Bixby, was influential in the city. After first working for his cousins at Los Cerritos, J.W. Bixby leased land at Rancho Los Alamitos. He put together a group: banker I.W. Hellman, Lewellyn and Jotham Bixby, and him, to purchase the rancho. In addition to bringing innovative farming methods to the Alamitos (which under Abel Stearns in the late 1850s and early 1860s was once the largest cattle ranch in the US), J.W. Bixby began the development of the oceanfront property near the city's picturesque bluffs. Under the name Alamitos Land Company, J.W. Bixby named the streets and laid out the parks of his new city. This area would include Belmont Heights, Belmont Shore and Naples; it soon became a thriving community of its own. J.W. Bixby died in 1888 of apparent appendicitis. The Rancho Los Alamitos property was split up, with Hellman getting the southern third, Jotham and Lewellyn, the northern third, and J.W. Bixby's widow and heirs keeping the central third. The Alamitos townsite was kept as a separate entity, but at first, it was primarily run by Lewellyn and Jotham Bixby, although I.W, Hellman (who had the largest single share) had a significant veto power, an influence made even stronger as the J.W. Bixby heirs began to side with Hellman more and more.

When Jotham Bixby died in 1916, the remaining 3,500 acres of Rancho Los Cerritos was subdivided into the neighborhoods of Bixby Knolls, California Heights, Los Cerritos, North Long Beach and part of the city of Signal Hill.

Pine Avenue near 4th became the center of a large shopping district. Besides upscale Buffums (1912; expanded 1926), in 1929 alone Barker Brothers, the Hugh A. Marti Co., and Wise Company department stores built large new stores, Walker's (1933), and nearby at American and 5th, Sears (1928) and Montgomery Ward (1929). It would remain popular until suburban malls sprung up starting in the 1950s. (see also: History of Retail in Southern California)

Oil was discovered in 1921 on Signal Hill, which split off as a separately incorporated city shortly afterward. The discovery of the Long Beach Oil Field, brought in by the gusher at the Alamitos oil well #1, made Long Beach a major oil producer; in the 1920s the field was the most productive in the world. In 1932, the even larger Wilmington Oil Field, fourth-largest in the United States, and which is mostly in Long Beach, was developed, contributing to the city's fame in the 1930s as an oil town.

The M6.4 1933 Long Beach earthquake caused significant damage to the city and surrounding areas, killing a total of 120 people. Most of the damage occurred in unreinforced masonry buildings, especially schools. Pacific Bible Seminary (now known as Hope International University) was forced to move classes out of First Christian Church of Long Beach and into a small local home due to damage.

The Ford Motor Company built a factory called Long Beach Assembly at the then address in 1929 as "700 Henry Ford Avenue, Long Beach" where the factory began building the Ford Model A. Production of Ford vehicles continued after the war until 1960 when the plant was closed due to a fire, and January 1991 when the factory was demolished partially due to air quality remediation efforts. Ford had earlier opened a Factory in Los Angeles at the location of 12th Street and Olive, with a later factory built at East Seventh Street and Santa Fe Avenue after 1914.

Come 1938, the creation of Housing Authorities for both the City and County of Los Angeles were complete — and North Long Beach was to be home to the County Authority's first order of business: the Carmelitos Housing Project, Southern California's first affordable housing complex.

The city was part of the Battle of Los Angeles during World War II when observers for the United States Army Air Forces reported shells being fired from the sea. Anti-aircraft batteries fired into the night sky, although no planes were ever sighted.

Before the war, Long Beach had a sizable Japanese-American population, who worked in the fish canneries on Terminal Island and owned small truck (produce) farms in the area. Due to exaggerated fears on the coast and racial prejudice, state officials persuaded the national government to remove Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans for internment in 1942 to inland facilities. Most did not return to the city after their release from the camps. Due to this and other factors, Japanese Americans now make up less than 1% of the population of Long Beach, but the Japanese Community Center and a Japanese Buddhist Church survive. The Japanese-American Cultural Center is over the Gerald Desmond Bridge and the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.

Douglas Aircraft Company's largest facility was its Long Beach plant, totaling 1,422,350 sq. ft. The first plane rolled out the door on December 23, 1941. The plant produced C-47 Skytrain transports, B-17 Flying Fortress bombers, and A-20 Havoc attack bombers simultaneously. Douglas merged with the McDonnell Aircraft Company in 1967 where the Douglas DC-8 and the McDonnell Douglas DC-9 were built. In 1997 McDonnell Douglas merged with Boeing, which made C-17 Globemaster transport planes in Long Beach until the close of the manufacturing facility in 2015.

Neighborhoods

4th Street Corridor | 7th Street | Addams | Alamitos Beach | Alamitos Heights | Arlington | AOC7 | Artcraft Manor | Bay Harbor | Belmont Heights | Belmont Park | Belmont Shore | Bixby Highlands | Bixby Hill | Bixby Knolls | Bixby Park | Bixby Terrace | Bixby Village | Bluff Heights | Bluff Park | Broadway Corridor | Bryant | California Heights | Cambodia Town | Carmelitos | Carroll Park | Central Area | College Park Estates | College Square | Coolidge Triangle | Cypress | Dairy | DeForest Park | Del Lago | Downtown Long Beach | Downtown Shoreline | East & West Village | Eastside | El Dorado Lakes | El Dorado Park | El Dorado Park Estates | El Dorado North & South | Franklin Neighborhood | Grant | Hamilton | Hellman | Houghton Park | Imperial Estates | Island Village | Jane Addams | Lakewood Village | Lindbergh | Long Beach Marina | Longwood | Los Altos | Los Cerritos/Virginia Country Club | MacArthur Park | Magnolia District | Marina Pacifica | McKinley | Memorial Heights | Naples | Nihonmachi | North Alamitos Beach | North Long Beach | Palo Verde | Paramount | Park Estates | Peninsula | Plaza | Poly High | Promenade | Ramona Park | Rancho Estates | Recreation Park | Ridgewood Heights | Rose Park | St. Francis | Saint Mary's | SEADIP | Shoreline Village | South of Conant | Starr King | Stearns Park | Sunrise | Sutter | Terminal Island | Traffic Circle | Upper & Lower West Side | University Park Estates | Washington School | West Long Beach | Willmore | Wrigley | Wrigley Heights | Zaferia

Movies & TV

Balboa Amusement Producing Company, also known as Balboa Studios, was at Sixth Street and Alamitos Avenue; they used 11 acres on Signal Hill for outdoor locations. Silent film stars who lived in Long Beach included Fatty Arbuckle and Theda Bara. The 1917 film Cleopatra, starring Theda Bara, was shot at the Dominguez Slough just west of Long Beach, and Moses parted the Red Sea for Cecil B. DeMille's 1923 version of The Ten Commandments on the flat seashore of Seal Beach, southeast of Long Beach. Long Beach was the famous location of Paramount newsreel footage of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, out-takes from the W.C. Fields 1933 featurette International House was possibly the first earthquake to be captured in action on film.

Because of its proximity to LA-area studios and its variety of locations, today Long Beach is regularly used for movies, television shows, and advertisements. The city has filled in for locations across the nation and around the globe. One advantage for Long Beach is that the video and film industry uses a zone that extends 30 miles from Beverly Blvd. and La Cienega Blvd. in the West Hollywood area. It is cheaper to shoot within that zone, so Long Beach and other South Bay cities often stand in for areas of Orange County (such as for The O.C. TV show) because almost all of Orange County is outside of the zone.

One of the most famous Long Beach film locations is the home of Ferris Bueller in Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Though the film was set in the North Shore suburbs of Chicago the house is at 4160 Country Club Dr.

Long Beach Polytechnic High School has played host to numerous films, featuring its outdoor grounds in movies such as Coach Carter, among others. Robert A. Millikan High School has also lent its classrooms and hallways to films such as American Pie, among others. Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo High School has been a very popular place to shoot movies as well, with 2–4 films shot per year, and is being used to shoot 20th Century Fox's musical comedy-drama, Glee. St. Anthony High School's, Jack Errion Memorial Gymnasium has also been featured in a few movies and television shows, including Sunset Park, American Wedding, Coach Carter and Joan of Arcadia. Long Beach Woodrow Wilson High School was used to shoot Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel and has been used for commercials for Nike and Adidas, particularly one with Los Angeles Sparks basketball star Candace Parker. The film Freedom Writers, although not shot there, was based on Long Beach Woodrow Wilson High School.

Other locations in Long Beach have been used frequently as well. An episode of The Lone Wolf, "The Long Beach Story", features the Wilton Hotel. Shoreline Drive visually approximates a freeway but is a municipal roadway and permits are accepted for its closure for shooting video and film – it has become a frequent movie and television freeway stand-in. Many car chase and crash scenes have been shot on stretches of road near the Long Beach harbor and along the city's Shoreline Drive. Among these are the 1963 movie It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World and numerous episodes of the 1970s TV drama CHiPs (as well as the 2017 film CHiPs). Long Beach's downtown neighborhood has stood in for various urban areas in a variety of movies. Gone in 60 Seconds (1974 film), Gone in 60 Seconds (2000 film), and Speed were shot in Long Beach. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen was also shot in Long Beach as was Big Momma's House 2. CSI: Miami, Dexter, and Jane the Virgin, although set in Miami, Florida, regularly get shot in Long Beach. Much of Tenacious D: The Pick of Destiny was shot in Long Beach. Although there was a chase scene downtown, most of Tenacious D was shot at Alex's Bar at 2913 E. Anaheim St., a punk rock/alternative rock venue. Most of the viral hit Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus was also shot by the Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier and Alamitos power station in Long Beach. The Long Beach Terrace Theatre has also been used for various commercials, an episode of Glee, as well as the film Last Action Hero. Several scenes from this David Spade comedy, Lost & Found, were shot around the Belmont Park area. The final scene from the Jim Carrey comedy remake Fun with Dick and Jane features Long Beach's scenic E. Ocean Blvd. route. La La Land features both a Long Beach apartment house and bar.

The Long Beach Naval Station and Naval Shipyard were featured in episodes of Visiting... with Huell Howser. The Pike and SoundWalk art show have also been featured.

List of Historic Landmarks

Wikipedia