Saturday, June 26, 2010

A visit to Long Beach California





We just came back from visiting our daughter in Long Beach, California. Because of this trip I am behind in my posting and commenting on my friends’ blogs. It was nice to be in the cool California weather – low 70 degrees (21-22 centigrade) instead of our hot and humid Georgia weather – which has been in the mid 90s (33-35 degree C.) Our daughter Céline does not live far from the Pacific Ocean, so there is always a cool breeze.


Photo courtesy Bob Pote

Céline has been living in Long Beach for seven years now. We visit her at least once a year and she always finds new places for us to explore. Long Beach is quite large, in fact it is the fifth largest city in California and has almost ½ million inhabitants. It is about 20 miles (32 km) south of downtown Los Angeles. The port of Long Beach is one of the world’s largest shipping ports. It also has a large oil industry – and oil wells can be seen in various places in town. Below is a postcard showing a map of Southern California with Los Angeles, then Long Beach below it.




Long Beach is a vibrant, world class city with a long history. The first residents were a Native American tribe known as the Tongva – which means “the people of the earth.” Then the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo and his crew landed on its shores in 1542. It took another two hundred years for Spain to be interested in this coastal area. In 1784, Manuel Nieto was awarded a 300,000 acre land grant by Spain. His daughter, Manuela Cota inherited his ranch “Rancho Los Cerritos.” We visited it last year and it was the subject of my first post- you can read it here.


Rancho Los Cerritos garden (click on picture to enlarge it)

Long Beach grew out of the Nieto tracts and was incorporated as a city in 1897. Because of its perfect climate Long Beach was known as the motion picture capital of the world until post World War 1, then Hollywood was developed. Until then the Balboa silent-film studios were very successful. They were located in Long Beach and used Signal Hill for outdoor locations. Many movie stars like W. C. Fields lived along Ocean Avenue. Below is a postcard showing Ocean Avenue which is still a large avenue where many hotels, restaurant and trendy shops are located. It is bordered by tall palm trees.


modern postcard, photo by Tim Sumner

Elizabeth Taylor spent her first honeymoon at one of the Long Beach’s hotel, the Breakers’. It was built in 1925. When she was there it had been bought by the Hilton Corporation. Now it is a retirement home and a historic landmark. Below is a vintage postcard of the Breakers.




Oil was discovered on Signal Hill in 1921 and soon after the hill was covered with over 100 oil derricks. Here is a vintage postcard showing Signal Hill.




Signal Hill is now a small incorporated town totally surrounded by Long Beach. It is very close to our daughter’s home. On top of the hill is a park called Hilltop Park. In the 1500s Native Americans used the hill to signal to their relations on Santa Catalina Island, 26 miles away. The smoke signals could be seen for miles and the hill became known as “Signal Hill.” We were there on a sunny day and could see panoramic views of Los Angeles.



There are plaques with data to explain the history of the hill.

Click to enlarge

A chimney still burns symbolically of the top of the hill.




In 1947 Howard Hughes’ Spruce Goose, a H-4 Hercules aircraft, took off over the Long Beach Harbor and made its first and only flight. At the time the Spruce Goose was the world’s largest airplane. It is still the largest airplane made of wood. Below are pictures of the H-4 Hercules and of Howard Hughes inside the cockpit, the night before the flight in Long Beach.


Last Sunday my husband, daughter Céline, nephew (who is studying for his PhD at the University of California Los Angeles) and his girlfriend and I went to the Long Beach South East Farmers’ Market, a small certified farmer’s market.



It is located in a lovely harbor area of Alamitos Bay Marina about 2 miles from Céline’s condo. The organic fruits looked juicy and tantalizing – prices a bit high though. (Georgia peaches are 99 cents a pound here in Georgia.)


A stand displayed many varieties of potatoes – some I had never seen. All the vegetable looked super fresh.


There were also breads for sale, jams, olives and beautiful flowers. Even puppies were ready to be adopted.

Click on collage to enlarge, then click on individual pictures



At the other end of the farmers’ market was another market selling crafts, clothes, creams, jewelry and more. I purchased some locally made cream - gardenia fragrance. The vendor, Alex, kindly posed for a photo.



It was difficult to make a choice as all the creams had sweet scents.


Belly dance anyone?


While our group was walking closer to take a look at the puppies I wandered toward the marina.


I walked down the small dock as I could see a couple of ducks and my camera was ready…



Then I heard footsteps behind me – I had not seen anyone. I turned around. A small child with a painted face was looking at me. I asked his name “Frederick” he said. I took his picture



then I turned back around as the ducks were swimming toward me.




I looked back to tell Frederick to look at the ducks. He was gone. I never heard him leave. I saw my husband, my nephew and his girl friend watching me from afar. Later on I asked them if they had seen the kid. No they said, they never saw a kid. My daughter said it must have been a ghost as there were no kids around. I have his picture though…



Now it was time to drive another mile to take a walk in the Japanese Garden. Such a perfect day – sunny, warm, blue sky, palm trees…. it would be nice to walk in a peaceful garden - but that will be for another post.


44 comments:

Bonnie said...

What a comprehensive look at your trip. The temps have been mild out there. You have some beautiful photographs and have offered us a great history lesson with the tour!! Merci beaucoup!

Kay Dennison said...

What wonderful trips you take!!!!! Thanks for sharing them with us!!!!!

Baino said...

Wow they're marvellous markets and I envy your warm weather. It's sunny down under but we had our first frost this morning. Interesting history as well, what an eyesore all those oil pumps must have been, so nice to see that they've restored Signal Hill to it's former glory. Loved travelling with you as always.

Darlene said...

You are an excellent photographer. I was hoping for pictures of the Japanese Garden to compare with mine that I recently posted. Japanese gardens are so photogenic.

I love the way you include pertinent information to go with your photos. It takes a lot of research and time and makes for a top rated blog. Great job!!!

DJan said...

I've been to Long Beach many times, but I now know so much more about the place than I ever did before. I just love the farmers' market pictures; it looks like a wonderful place if you don't mind spending a fair amount of money. Thank you for taking me along on your visit -- it was very lovely. And I hope the weather, now that you're home, has moderated at least a little.

♠ ♠ ♠ Nancy ♠ ♠ ♠ said...

*** Bonjour Vagabonde ! :o) je suis très heureuse de te retrouver ! :o) :o) :o)
La visite chez ta fille à Long Beach, en Californie a été très enrichissante à voir tes photos sans compter que les retrouvailles familiales sont toujours fortes en émotion.
BRAVO pour les photos ! J'adore le petit garçon "Frédéric" au visage maquillé ! :o)
GROSSES BISES à toi et aux tiens et encore MERCI pour ce partage.***

wenn said...

california..hope to visit it one day!

Fennie said...

Most interesting. Is the aeroplane the Spruce Goose? And why did it never fly again? Wasn't there a company manufacturing aircraft in Long Beach? And why should California have become home to a fledgling aircraft industry. The Spirit of St Louis, was built around here somewhere - Santa Barbara?, San Diego? Why - when it then had to be flown all the way to New York? Always struck me as odd. But thanks Vagabonde for another of your informative posts. Good luck to your daughter.

Vicki Lane said...

I always enjoy your trips and always learn something new. Wonderful pictures especially that last one of the balloon.

lunarossa said...

Really wonderful pictures and very interesting information about Long Beach. I've been there quite a long time ago and I long to go back. I love California very much! Wish you all the best. Ciao. A.

Alesa Warcan said...

Welcome back... Nice reading your travelog! Lovely pictures, as ever. : j

Sounds as if Frederick could be a character in a short story. Several unrelated people, unrelated save for their encounter with Frederick, whose lives are going awry in perfectly commonplace ways find themselves going in unexpected directions and meeting new people who can help them all because of their meeting with Frederick.

Vagabonde said...

Bonnie, Kay, Baino, DJan, Wenn, Vicki Lane and Lunarossa – thank you for your visit and your kind words about my post. I am glad you enjoyed it.

Vagabonde said...

Nancy – merci de ta visite. C’est à mon tour maintenant d’aller te voir et je suis sûre que tu as de bien jolis posts à lire et photos à regarder.

Vagabonde said...

Darlene – thank you for your sweet compliments but I am not an excellent photographer. I need to study more to get better. I appreciate your kind comment.

Vagabonde said...

Alesa Warcan – merci de ta visite et de commenter sur le petit Frederick. C’est plutot drôle car il est venu de je ne sais pas où et je me demande comment il est reparti. J’ai mis exprès la photo qui montre que mon mari et neveu me regardaient et ils n’ont jamais vu l’enfant. C’est vraiment bizarre.

Vagabonde said...

Fennie – Yes the picture is Hughes’ Spruce Goose which flew for 1 minute. The aircraft is now on display at Evergreen Aviation in McMinnville, Oregon.
Donald W. Douglas opened the Douglas Aircraft Co. in Long Beach in 1941. They produced more than 15,000 airplanes including the DC-3, DC-8, DC-9, DC-10, MD-80, MD-90 and MD-11, 717 passenger planes and the military aircraft C-47 and others. In 1997 Boeing merged with McDonnell Douglas and continued to produce the C-17 and B-717.

Yes Fennie, the Spirit of Saint Louis was built in San Diego by the Ryan Airline Corporation. It was named the Spirit of Saint Louis because Lindbergh had many supporters there. Colonel Lindbergh had studied the flying exploits of French ace René Fonck who during the First World War had shot down 25 German planes. When Raymond Orteig, a Frenchman who owned two hotels in New York city offered a purse of $25,000 in 1926 to the first aviateur who could fly nonstop from New York to Paris, or vice versa, Lindbergh jumped on the offer and looked for an aircraft. (This was Raymond’s second offer as his first offer in 1919 had no takers.) The Ryan Corp made his aircraft for $6,000, without the engine. They were located in an obscure building that used to be a fish cannery in San Diego. Lindbergh received his airplane on 28 May, 1927 and victoriously flew it to Paris where he landed at the Bourget airfield on May 20, 1927 at 22 hour 22.
The Spirit of St Louis is on exhibit in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, DC I believe. Maybe this is more that you wanted to know, but I worked for over 26 years with aircraft and I like them.

sablonneuse said...

Another interesting 'tour' with beautiful photographs.
Thank you, Vagabonde.

Fennie said...

Vagabonde, thanks so much for the above. (And thanks for visiting my blog and helpfully leaving a note). I am glad to hear about Douglas. I felt sure there was an aircraft manufacturing connection. My father used to fly DC3 Dakotas on the Berlin airlift in 1948 and you still see the occasional one still flying.

I came across the book 'We' as a child. Written by Lindbergh himself it describes the epic flight and also his barnstorming days. The later film with Jimmy Stewart covers much the same ground. That film had a great influence on me.

But I am still at a loss to know why California (or anywhere on the west coast - Seattle????) - should have become a centre for aircraft manufacture? Why not Chicago, Pittsburgh, St Louis, Atlanta, New York? Our aircraft plants in the UK were all located in our major old industrial cities. There must be a reason California was so attractive.

loveable_homebody said...

Vagabonde! I've missed your posts. I love that you include the history of a place, details about the people you know and meet and pictures of them! That boy is adorable! I like how you met too. It's sweet. You seem to make friends wherever you go!

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

What a wonderful post. It brings back so many great memories of my trip there, one of them seeing the Spruce Goose and QE11. I loved the weather as it reminded me of home.

♠ ♠ ♠ Nancy ♠ ♠ ♠ said...

*** Coucou Gentille Vagabonde ! :o)
Je regarde à nouveau tes photos et je suis admirative !
J'aime bien la dernière avec les balons de couleurs dans ce ciel bleu ! Magnifique ! :o)
GROSSES BISES et merci pour tes gentils mots sur mon blog ! :o) ***

Ginnie said...

I figured you were off on another trip, Vagabonde, and am very thankful to know that's what you were up to...and in my former-former neck of the woods, eons ago. Our kids were born in San Diego but also spent 5 years with us in Pasadena. Long Beach is a place to visit, for sure. My daughter's parents-in-law live nearby and love the place. You have such a way about giving so much information, however...such that I now know more about that place than ever before. Thanks, as always, for the time you take to make these educational and colorful posts.

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

We've been to California often...but have never visited Long Beach. Maybe next time....it looks like an interesting place!

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

I enjoyed learning about Long Beach in California through your lovely photos and commentary. You have a wonderful blog.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

You take us on such fabulous trips. I love the picture of the balloon. Great shot.
Sam

Snowbrush said...

I loved the photos and postcards (I collect postcards). The Spruce Goose now lives in Oregon.

I'll bet it was hard to go home to the Georgia heat.

Marguerite said...

What a nice holiday and visit with your daughter, and a great break from the heat! Long Beach sounds wonderful and your photos are fabulous! I love the markets and marina and will look forward to your next post about the Japanese Garden. Cheers, cher!

BJM said...

Hello! I like the photo of the balloons! B.

Elaine said...

The farmers market looks fabulous with a wonderful selection. I love the story of Fredrick. Very strange how he appeared and disappeared and no one else saw him.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

I can see Long Beach from my Deck....I love all the pictures you took, especially the Farmer's Market and The Marina and The Ducks....Lobg Beach is a city with a lot of Culture, too...Some wonderful Theatres! It was great to get a much closer look with lots of detail--So much more than I can see from my Deck..(lol)

Ruth said...

You had gorgeous weather for this time of year. It can be so hot there, but not humid like Georgia, that's for sure. We lived in Pasadena 5 years (some of the time while Ginnie was there too), and our kids were born in Pasadena and Glendale.

I always enjoy the way you cover a place, with history, culture, people, and so many interesting details.

My favorite photo is the last one. And wow, that postcard of Signal Hill with all the oil rigs!

claude said...

Je repasserai dès que je peux. merci pout ton long commentaire. Jen pense qu'effectivement ma rose rose ressemble à la tienne. Quand j'ai planté ces trois rosiers, je n'ai pas retenu le nom indiqué sur l'emballage. C'est très bête de ma part.
Bien reçu ta carte postale d'Hollywood. Merci beaucoup. A plus tard donc.
Amicalement et bises.

Karin (an alien parisienne) said...

Lovely, Vagabonde! I'm so glad you got to spend some time in Long Beach and a visit with your daughter. Thank you for sharing parts of the journey with us here. My sister lived there for a couple of years before moving north to Sacramento. She loved the time she spent in Long Beach! It looks like a fantastic place.

Friko said...

You truly are a woman with unlimited energy.

I like the market best. I love markets, they are such colourful insights into the lives of people who use them.

Lovely post, as ever.

Deborah said...

Vagabonde, you write the best travel posts, hands down. Every one of them is a learning experience and a superb photo essasy. I had no idea Long Beach was anything but a waterfront suburb of Los Angeles. Thank you for all your efforts - your readers appreciate them!

Peter said...

You could hardly make a more complete report! A lot of interesting facts!

alwaysinthebackrow said...

Beautiful photos once again! My mom lived somewhat near Long Beach in Torrance. Great weather all of the time. I love the balloons.

claude said...

Quel fantastique post, Vagabonde !
Superbement bien expliqué et illustré. Je ne regrette pas d'être repassée.

Jeanie said...

What a rich post and as a postcard collector (vintage) I love the use of the old cards to illustrate!

Vagabonde said...

Fennie – in answer to your question as to why the west coast became a center for aircraft manufacture - I believe that at the time there were energy and resources in that area, plus the fact that the LA basin was full of oil. There were also many investors with large amount of capital. They also needed a vast area of open land, and the west still had this compared with the industrialized east coast. Thanks for your interest.

Vagabonde said...

Sablonneuse, loveable_homebody, SAPhotographs, Ginnie, My Carolina Kitchen, Snowbrush, Marguerite, BJM, Elaine, Old Lady of the Hills, Ruth, Karin, Friko, Deborah, Peter and Always in the Back Row – Thanks so much for your interest in my posts. It makes it so much more enjoyable to write them to know that you enjoy reading them and looking at the pictures. I really appreciate your comments.

Vagabonde said...

Judie–My Front Porch, Pat@Mille Fiori Favoriti and Jeanie – Welcome to my blog. It is always a pleasure to greet new blogging friends. I hope you’ll come back.

Vagabonde said...

Claude – Merci d’être revenue Claude et d’avoir pris le temps d’écrire un petit mot. C’est gentil et apprecié.

Paty said...

it must have been a very nice trip! a beautiful place and visiting you daughter, that´s priceless! i love the market pictures.

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