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Long Beach History Timeline

CONTACT: Bob Maguglin
Director of Public Relations
(562) 495-8345 Fax: (562) 435-5653

 

1784

The area that is now Long Beach was first settled as part of a massive Spanish land grant to soldier Manuel Nieto, encompassing the historic 28,000-acre Ranch Los Alamitos and its sister rancho, 27,000-acre Rancho Los Cerritos.

   

1866

Rancho Los Cerritos was sold to Lewellyn Bixby and then managed by his brother Jotham. The Bixby family soon became prominent ranchers and developers of Long Beach.

 

 

1882

Long Beach, originally planned as Willmore City by developer William Willmore, began forming along the coast.

 

 

1885

Competition between the new Santa Fe Railroad and older southern Pacific Railroad attracted hordes of visitors to Long Beach and created a real estate boom.

 

 

1888

Original residents of the foiled Willmore City renamed their town Long Beach, after its long, wide beaches, and the city became incorporated.

 

 

1902

The introduction of the Pacific Electric trolley caused the city to grow both as a resort and commercial center.

 

 

1902

From 1902 to  1910 Long Beach was the fastest growing city in the United States.

 

 

1911

The Port of Long Beach was established.

 

 

1921

Oil was discovered on Signal Hill and Long Beach flourished with a million-dollar-per-month building boom downtown.

 

 

1933

Long Beach was struck by a major earthquake. Downtown Long Beach was rebuilt in Art Deco style.

 

 

1941

The U.S. Naval Shipyard dry dock built to service the largest naval ships.

 

 

1947

The first and only flight of Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose, the world's largest airplane, took off over Long Beach Harbor.

 

 

1949

California State University Long Beach was founded.

   
1962  The Long Beach Arena opens.

 

 

1967

The city of Long Beach purchased Cunard's former luxury cruise liner, the Queen Mary, to be docked in Long Beach Harbor as a major tourism attraction and hotel.

 

 

1975

The city embarked on a 25-year multi-billon dollar redevelopment program.

 

 

1975

 The first Long Beach Grand Prix auto race takes place on downtown streets.
   

1978

The Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center opened, adjacent to the Long Beach Arena.  The complex includes the Terrace Theater, Center Theater, 14 meeting rooms and 88,000 square feet of exhibit hall space.

 

 

1982

Shoreline Village, the Downtown Shoreline Marina and Shoreline Park opened.

 

 

1983

The Spruce Goose was moved from its hidden hangar to be exhibited in the world's largest geodesic dome adjacent to the Queen Mary.

 

 

1984

Long Beach was the site for four Olympic events during the Los Angeles Olympics--yachting, volleyball, fencing and archery.

 

 

1988

Long Beach celebrated its Centennial.

 

 

1989

The Greater Los Angeles World Trade Center in Long Beach opened.

 

 

1990

The Long Beach to Los Angeles Metro Blue Line, the first link in the Los Angeles Metro Rail project, started service.

 

 

1992

The Spruce goose is moved to McMinnville, Oregon to become the centerpiece for the Air Venture Museum, and its dome is "converted" for use as movie studio by Warner Bros.

 

 

1994

Completion of the Long Beach Convention & Entertainment Center expansion, tripling the existing exhibit space to 334,000 square feet.

   

1998

The Long Beach Aquarium of the Pacific opened.

 

 

1999

The Long Beach Town Centre, a sprawling entertainment, dining and shopping complex opened on site of the former US Naval Hospital.

 

 

2002

CityPlace, a modern, open-air shopping plaza, opened downtown.

 

 

2002

JetBlue flew into Long Beach Airport with first flight on May 1, lending to ever-expanding service to major cities across the country.

 

 

2003

Carnival Cruise lines opened a terminal adjacent to the Queen Mary and becomes the first cruise line to operate in Long Beach.

 

 

2003

The Pike at Rainbow Harbor Entertainment Complex opened in the downtown waterfront.

 

 

2004

 

 

The Long Beach Aquatic Festival features the US Olympic Team Trails-Swimming, the most successful Trials ever in both records broken and attendance.  The festival also included the FINA World Championships in men's and women's water polo.

   

2006

 

 

Long Beach celebrated “A Royal Rendezvous” on February 22, as the Queen Mary 2, the world’s largest ocean liner, sails into Long Beach Harbor to salute her namesake, the RMS Queen Mary.  Hundreds of small boats and more than 10,000 spectators surround the harbor area.
   

2007

 

 

Long Beach is the host city for the "overall finish" of the AMGEN Tour of California professional bicycle race.  Eighteen international teams compete in this "Tour de France style" cross country race that covers more than 650 miles of scenic California roadways.

   

2009

 

 

 

April 23, “Earth Day, famed marine artist Wyland completes his “Earth, The Blue Planet” mural on the rooftop of the Long Beach Arena, the largest painting of planet Earth from space.  The new mural complements his “Planet Ocean” or “Whaling Wall” which encircles the Long Beach Arena and was recognized as the world’s largest mural by the Guinness Book of Records when it was finished in 1992.
   

2009

 

At midnight on New Year’s Eve, Travis Pastrana breaks rally car jump world record by soaring 269 feet over downtown Long Beach’s Rainbow Harbor as part of Red Bull’s “No Limits” event.
   

2009

 

The prestigious TED Conference moves to Long Beach for a five year annual engagement, bringing notable luminaries in Technology, Entertainment and Design to speak on “Ideas Worth Spreading.”
   

2010

 

Red Bull Flugtag soars over Rainbow Harbor as dozens of whimsical human powered aircraft attempt to fly while entertaining a host of 100,000 spectators.
   

2011

 

 

Long Beach celebrates the 100th anniversary of the first trans-continental airplane flight by Cal Perry Rogers.  In a special ceremony a commemorative plaque and replica of Perry’s Wright Flyer is installed in the lobby of the Long Beach Arena.
   

2013

 

 

Downtown Long Beach celebrates the opening of Harvey Milk Park and Equality Square, completing the multi-million dollar renovation of The Promenade from Ocean Blvd., to 3rd Street.  The Promenade, an open air pedestrian walkway through the center of the downtown entertainment district, features attractive landscaping, public art and restaurants with open air dining patios.

 
For additional information on Long Beach history, contact the Long Beach Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the private, non-profit marketing organization promoting conventions and tourism into the Long Beach area. LBACVB, 301 E. Ocean Blvd., Suite 1900, Long Beach, CA 90802. 562/436-3645.

 

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