HISTORY OF REDONDO BEACH

HISTORY OF REDONDO BEACH

In 1542, Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo
sailed into the Santa Monica Bay
and discovered the beautiful coastal
region that many of us now call 
home. The Redondo area’s original 
inhabitants were Native Americans 
who lived off the sea, enjoying
 the moderate climate, abundant 
harvest, and salt from the nearby
 lake located at the current border of 
Hermosa Beach. This land became 
Rancho San Pedro in 1784, when the 
California government gave an enormous land grant, including most of our current South Bay, to the Juan Jose Dominguez family. To this day, local street names still honor Dominguez family sisters and daughters, such as Elena, Francisca, Gertruda and Guadalupe.

By the turn of the century, the shores that bordered this rich farming and ranching region had proven to be an ideal deep water harbor that played a pivotal role in the thriving Los Angeles area trade. Railroad, sail, and steamship lines served an abundant shipping and lumber industry, and Redondo was, in fact, the very first Port of Los Angeles.

On April 18, 1892, Redondo Beach voters adopted cityhood by a landslide vote of 177-10. The first City Hall was built in 1908 at the corner of Benita and Emerald Street.

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Throughout the 1800’s, Redondo Beach gained popularity as a seaside playground for vacationing “inlanders” and tourists. Hotel Redondo, built in 1889, boasted 225 sun-drenched rooms, tennis courts, an 18-hole golf course, and a grand ballroom for posh dinners and special events. A huge 34,000 square foot pavilion built in 1907 by Henry Huntington stood 150 feet from the shoreline near today’s Pier. Nearby was the “Plunge,” billed as the “largest indoor salt water heated pool in the world.” With its booming commerce, unsurpassed fishing, and the arrival of surfing pioneer George Freeth in 1907, Redondo Beach became the center of ocean sports for Southern California.

Despite a Depression-era decline that included gambling, shooting incidents, and raging storms that threatened the coastline, Redondo enjoyed a resurgence of popularity in the 1950’s and 60’s. Today, the City boasts a population of 67,000 residents and has recovered its reputation as a thriving tourist and resort town. Redondo Beach today offers a lively Pier, a Saltwater lagoon, several fine food restaurants and hotels, a stunning marina, some of the finest schools in the State, and flourishing business, from boutique retail to corporate giants. This city remains one of the safest, most beautiful, and most desirable places to live in the country.

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