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Travel:  Huntington Beach California

By Dan Wilson

Huntington Beach Pier

March 8th 2005

Huntington Beach (aka Surf City) boasts eight miles of uninterrupted accessible coastline, the longest on the west coast.  The Public Pier located at the end of Main Street, is one of the largest recreation piers in the world. 

Originally, Huntington Beach was included in a Spanish Land Grant of Las Bolsas given to Manual Nieto in 1797.  Later it was acquired by the Stearns Ranch holdings which was dissolved during the 1880’s land boom.  As farms developed in northern Huntington Beach, Westminster and Fountain Valley, post offices, schools and churches were built.

Wonderful sandy beaches of
Huntington Beach

A group of investors decided to build a residential resort community on the bluffs above Shell Beach.  They named the venture Pacific City in 1902 following the popular East Coast resort town Atlantic City. Later the investors sold their venture to Los Angeles Businessmen and Henry E. Huntington expanded his Pacific Electric Railway to Orange County.  On July 4th 1904 the first Pacific Electric Red Cars rolled into the City.  About that time the Pacific City became known as Huntington Beach and was incorporated by 1909.

The city began an expansion phase and many of the buildings in downtown were built within 15 years of incorporation.  The Pier was built in 1914 helping establish Huntington Beach as a popular resort. 

About the same year an Americana Encyclopedia salesman bought up land from the Huntington Beach Company.  He subdivided it and gave the lots away as premiums with the purchase of their book sets.  In 1920 oil was discovered on these tracts of land that were unsuitable for building homes on because of deep gullies and hills.

Surf Championships every September

The discovery well near Goldenwest and Clay Streets was produced a modest amount of oil, but later wells were very productive.  The land became very valuable and some 300 homes were moved to Fullerton as the drilling expanded.

The drilling expanded inland between 17th and 23rd streets. A third Strike occurred in 1933.  New techniques for drilling were employed.  Controlled directional drilling allowed wells to be drilled at a slant to tap tide land pools.  Huntington Beach bobbing pumps were used frequently as background for movies including “Giant”.   The final oil strike was in 1953, but most oil rigs are gone today.

Huntington Beach became a very popular stop for tourists when the Pacific Coast Highway was completed in 1926.  PCH runs directly along the beach and the residential and commercial area from the ocean front

Surfing was introduced to Huntington Beach in the late 1920’s, although the city was not recognized as a surfing spot until the 1950’s.  In 1955 Gordie’s Surf Boards was the first surf shop to open.  Soon other surf shops opened dominating Main Street.

The first United States Surfing Championships were held in Huntington Beach in 1959.  The Championship was televised in 1960 giving the city a reputation as a “surfer’s paradise”.  The City sponsors the even now, and it is held at the pier every September.           

Local Fisherman shows off his 3 1/2 foot shovelnose shark

 Both Hyatt and Hilton have built resorts on PCH.  The Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort is at  21100 Pacific Coast Hwy in Huntington Beach, CA 92648 (714) 845-8000.  All 300 of its rooms offer balconies with either partial or full views of the Pacific. 

The Hyatt Regency Huntington Beach Resort & Spa is at 21500 Pacific Coast Hwy Huntington Beach, CA 92648 (714) 698-1234.  Each of the 517 rooms has a terrace or balcony, most with ocean views, and the 57 suites.

A great place to eat is Duke's of Huntington Beach.  They are located at the pier.  A great view of the ocean and great food.  Their phone number is (714) 374-6446.

Sharkeez Sports Grill will open March 17th 2005.  They serve Mexican food and have a full service bar serving "tropical sensations" cocktails.  They are located within walking distance from the pier at 211 Main Street in Huntington Beach.  Their phone number is (714) 960-5282. 







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