Marina del Rey (Images of America)
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To increase trade to the Orient, commercial harbor development in the Ballona wetlands of western Los Angeles was attempted several times from 1880 to 1900, only to be destroyed by disastrous storm-fed floods. After the US Army Corps of Engineers installed revetments on Ballona Creek and moved tons of earth to raise the ground above sea level, Marina del Rey was federally authorized in 1954. Funded by federal, state, and Los Angeles County funds, the largest man-made marina in the nation was built to provide public recreational boating facilities and water access. Private financiers developed restaurants, hotels, premier yacht clubs, Fishermans Village, and a residential marina lifestyle on county-owned leaseholds. This world-class seaport will celebrate 50 years of dynamic growth on April 10, 2015.
seaside, Cape Cod–style village. Architect Norv Pieper drew construction plans based on Wallace’s drawings, and Sheldon Pollock Co. built the center. (Courtesy of LACDBH.) Visitors to Fisherman’s Village, seen here in 1973, could park at the Dock 52 lot on Fiji Way, take a free tram to the center, enjoy shopping, dining, boating, or fishing, and return to their vehicles via the tram. The arcade was a popular place. Fishing aboard the Betty O, Captain Frenchy’s trawler, provided many happy hours
at Santa Monica Harbor, members eagerly advanced the planning of Marina del Rey. SMYC committees worked with Rex Thomson of the County Small Craft Harbors. As a result, SMYC was invited to be the only yacht club participant in the 1962 opening of the marina, which included yacht races, a luau, and a barbecue. SMYC held weekly “Haggerty Sea Shell races at Lake Venice” in the early 1950s. The lake is also known as Mud Lake and Lake Los Angeles. (Courtesy of LACDBH.) SMYC members jumped at the
Marina del Rey Local Coastal Plan (LCP), and County of Los Angeles Department of Regional Planning. Public hearings are conducted on the projects, amenities, and activities that the public would like to see or not see in the marina. This “Visioning Process” is considered by many to be an extension of the 1938 feasibility study. Although Marina del Rey opened in 1962, the official dedication was made on April 10, 1965, heralding the resultant success of community action. A unique partnership of
California. Francis McLaughlin was master of ceremonies; Sea Scouts presented colors and the pledge of allegiance; Hon. Burton W. Chace gave the ground-breaking message in the presence of several religious leaders. Connolly-Pacific Company of Long Beach began construction. (Courtesy of LACDBH.) Marina del Rey’s north and south jetties were built with rocks carried by barges from a Catalina Island quarry, 26 miles away. The barge and crane are visible in the center of this 1958 photograph. The
commissioner William A. DeGroot Jr. The fuel dock in the foreground of the top photograph was the second business open in the new marina, following Pieces of Eight. The surge model had been well under way by the US Army Corps of Engineers, due to the vulnerability of the marina to such wave action. With the storm, the study was put on a “crash” basis. (Courtesy of MDRHS.) Very dark predictions were made in the press and elsewhere during early 1963 that the new marina was done for, that it was an