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Two and three story buildings collapsed completely. Decorative cornices and ornamentation on large structures came down too, often upon the heads of those fleeing a shaking building. The high school, a complex of grand neoclassical buildings, was almost completely devastated. Long Beach Polytechnic High School where mom was a student that year, had been an elegant shrine to education that spoke of durable academic tradition and solidarity.
The quake destroyed colonnades, arches, decorative cornices, classical ornaments and porticoes. The impressive dome over the administration building crashed into the courtyard. Luckily, school was not in session. Extensive Quake Damage Churches, banks and commercial buildings crumbled as well. My dad said that the quake hit while he and his brother were in a parked Model T car. Their first impression was that some of their friends were jumping up and down on the back bumper.
If the shaker had hit a few hours earlier, thousands of children in schools all over they city, would have died. Mom, who was 16 at the time, often repeated the stories about how her family moved out of their damaged house and pitched a tent in the backyard, as many of their neighbors did. They also moved the old wood-burning stove out into the yard and she and her mother baked bread and cooked for the neighbors as well as for their own family.
Others brought their firewood and used her "old fashioned " stove too, since gas lines had been destroyed and the fuel supply was shut off.
My grandparents were one of the few in their area who could still cook after the destruction. Whoever had the good sense to shut down the Long Beach gas lines probably saved the city from total devastation by explosions and fire. Long beach Methodist Church- Before the quake, Grandma had been complaining that she was still using an old-fashioned wood stove and needed a modern gas appliance, like almost everyone else had by that time. Grandpa had been unconvinced to spend money on such an unnecessary luxury.
They were one of the few households that had the old cast iron stove which required the building of a wood fire in the heat chamber. Aftershocks continued for weeks. Streets were filled with brick and masonry rubble, especially in the downtown area. There was terrible destruction everywhere, with buildings collapsed or with facades peeled down so they looked like toy dollhouses with intact interior rooms open to view.
Wood frame structures such as Grandpa's apartment house, withstood the shaking better than most downtown buildings, but there still was some damage with cracks in the interior plaster of walls and ceilings. Mom and her teenage friends went down to the armory to help out where the U.
Navy had set up a soup kitchen to feed displaced citizens. They also enjoyed flirting with the sailors. The Pacific Fleet had entered the Long Beach Harbor just a few days before the disaster, and the navy pitched in with supplies and manpower to provide food, water and shelter all over the area. They also helped to clear streets of rubble and do whatever was needed. High, Long Beach, CA Making Things Normal Again When school resumed, classes were set up on the athletic fields, under tarps, in tents, and sometimes just on an open patch of grass marked by a numbered stake.
The beautiful archways and impressive dome of the high school administration offices had collapsed into immense piles of rubble. School administrators did their best to conduct classes normally, and many of the students considered it an adventure.
In fact, most people tried to carry on as usual, even as aftershocks continued for months throughout the cleanup and restoration. The event at least provided work and jobs for people who had been struggling through the great depression.
High school classes were held outdoors on the athletic fields. Page from Poly yearbook Silent film: The people of Long Beach were well aware of the San Francisco Earthquake ofwhich had destroyed a major city only 27 years before. By San Francisco had been rebuilt in fact, Coit Tower was built in that year and the port city had grown beyond its former glory.
Both the Golden Gate bridge and the Bay Bridge were under construction, as well. Dynamiting buildings to stop the advance of flames. Shortly after the Great earthquake and fire ofpublishers found that they could sell a lot of newspapers, magazines and books with pictures and stories about the astounding catastrophe.
I happen to have a copy of one of these exploitative-- almost tabloid-like-- books that was published in Cover at top of article.
The book belonged to my great aunt. I can remember looking at it when I was a child. Filled with photos and illustrations, it sensationally testifies in Victorian- style language, to the terror and destruction felt by the survivors who escaped to Oakland, to Golden Gate Park, and to anywhere they could. The original photos in the book are not great, but it is remarkable that so many were even available.
Photographic technology was still in its early stages. In fact, this was the first major natural disaster to be documented by photos. Some modern sources say that the extent of the actual death and damage was minimized by city officials, and a lot of photos released for publication were 'touched up' because they feared that future business for the area would be discouraged from investing in the destroyed city, if the full extent of the destruction was revealed.
In the early s, Mr. Walker married, moved to Long Beach and established M. Walker's post-war years of service, the harbor teemed with naval vessels of every description and Long Beach and the Harbor Commission confronted a new problem - smog and the Collier-Burns Act that authorized construction of freeways benefiting the suburbs rather than the city.
Another problem was a Supreme Court ruling stating that California didn't own its offshore lands, the federal government controlled them. Because Eisenhower promised to return ownership of adjacent undersea lands to the states, Long Beach voters stood with him in the election. Grabbing headlines in and was Howard Hughes and his huge plane that became known as the "Spruce Goose.
Walker was a member of the Mumblers — the group that started the Pacific Club. Daubney, August 18, — July 1, Maurice W. Daubney was born in Frankville, Iowa in During the years he was associated with the Port, Daubney was a staunch defender of tidelands rights and a proponent of making the city of Long Beach a center of world trade. Daubney died in Elliot, July 19, — December 13, Raymond D.
Elliot was born in Ohio in He served on the Harbor Commission during post-war years that saw growth in population and new residential areas near downtown Long Beach. Problems related to subsidence detected years before and ignored during the war had become serious and there was extensive flooding that severely damaged the harbor.
The Navy filed suit for damages to the Navy Base and Shipyard and considered pulling out altogether; however, the advent of the Korean War caused the Navy to keep the facilities open. InPier E was completed adding 36 acres to the outer harbor.
Elliot died in Sullivan, July 19, — June 27, Emmet M. Sullivan was born in California in and lived in Long Beach for more than 60 years. He was a graduate of Poly High School and the University of California at Berkeley; his business was real estate and property management. Sullivan was on the Board of Harbor Commissioners during years of tremendous surge in the population of Long Beach.
Although drilling for oil was one of the major causes of subsidence, oil profits were bringing in millions of dollars for harbor development. Sullivan was chairman of the legislative committee of the Long Beach City Council and a member of the harbor, oil, industry, finance and salary committees. Sullivan died in Davis, January 10, — July 1, John P. Davis was born in in Oregon.
Brought to Long Beach when he was a child, Mr. Davis eventually succeeded his father as president of the Davis Furniture Company and was area director for the National Retail Furniture Association.
Davis was an organizer and early president of the International Association of Ports and Harbors, a president of the Chamber of Commerce, board member of Memorial and St. Davis died in Inhis father purchased property at the foot of Golden Avenue and Francis would ride on the back of his father's bicycle for the three-hour trip on rutted dirt roads from Los Angeles to Long Beach.
The family finally moved to Long Beach in While his father developed Tent City on the beach, Francis sold soft-shell crabs to fishermen on the old Pine Avenue Pier.
Inhe graduated from Poly High as a letterman, went on to Occidental College and the University of Michigan where he majored in business administration. Reider obtained his real estate license and with his family, successfully bought, sold, and traded properties, designed, built, and furnished apartment buildings. Reider visited at least countries in his lifetime. June 3, was proclaimed Francis D. Reider Day in Long Beach.
Reider died at the age of 99 in Bishop, June 28, — July 1, Joseph F. Bishop was born in in Davenport, Iowa. He became a resident of Long Beach in and was treasurer and controller of Walker's Department Store until his retirement in Bishop died in He grew up in Wichita and attended the Municipal University of Wichita.
His father moved the family to Long Beach in and opened a Cadillac dealership. Bud Ridings served in the Air Force overseas. He was discharged in and took over the operation of Ridings Cadillac, making him the youngest Cadillac dealer ever appointed by General Motors. Ridings owned and operated the dealership until when he sold the business to Mike Salta. Ridings is credited with having had a major role in conceiving the idea of bringing the Queen Mary to Long Beach. Inthe Exchange Club named him Outstanding Citizen of the Year and the auto industry gave him the Benjamin Franklin Award as one of the country's outstanding auto dealers.
Ridings died in Harrington, January 3, — June 16, William A. Harrington was born in Youngstown, Ohio in Orphaned at a very young age, he was raised by an uncle in Jerome, Arizona.
At 13, he had a job heating rivets in a boiler shop and became a journeyman boilermaker.
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Harrington moved west in and became a loftman and inspector of ships for the United States Shipping Board. Inhe took a job with the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Company on Terminal Island and was with that company for forty years, seventeen years as general manager. Harrington was a prominent Catholic and was made a Knight Commander of St.
Harrington died of a heart attack while attending the arrival of the new M. Tokai Maru in Reid was a hockey player with the New York Rangers. He was awarded a medal for lifesaving after he rescued a woman who had fallen through lake ice.
Reid was named chairman of the bank's regional board; he later became a consultant and member of the advisory board. He was also on the board of St. He was also president and chief judge of the International Beauty Contest. Reid died in His early jobs included working at the Rainbow Pier Garage, running a herd of cattle near the headwaters of the Santa Ana River, owning a Willys Jeep agency and dabbling in pre-fab housing.
After his father died inMr. Bixby joined the family business, the Bixby Land Company. During his subsequent year business career, Mr. Bixby was a life-long member of Kiwanis and a supporter of the American Red Cross. Bixby died in July 20, — January 10, James G. Craig, was born in Long Beach in Craig enlisted in the Navy V program.
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Craig went to work for M. Walker and Company as a salesman. Craig and his partners ultimately bought the company and Mr. Craig became vice president and partner. Craig has been deeply involved in civic affairs including being elected president of the Beach Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Clock specialized in insurance, corporate, probate, and contract law.
Clock received the Long Beach Citizen of the Year award for "outstanding and meritorious service to humanity. Clock died in He was an underwater demolition specialist and became assistant officer in charge of Los Angeles Harbor Defense.
After he retired from the Navy inMr. Wilson and his partner Jesse Allen built one of the largest large law firms in Long Beach. Wilson was president of the local bar association, helped found the Harbor Bank and served on several company boards and committees. Wilson died in Gray, September 21, — July 7, James H. Gray graduated from Polytechnic High in as one of only 47 honor graduates in the history of the school. After graduating from California State University, he went into the automobile business, becoming owner and president of Jim Gray Imports.
Gray also co-founded Beach Business Bank and is chairman of the board. He was President of the California Bankers Association and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bankers Association, serving as its treasurer from He was chosen Entrepreneur of the Year by the Chamber in Gray received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Cal State Long Beach. Among his many other community service activities, Mr. Gray also served terms as director, treasurer, and president of the Kiwanis Club of Long Beach.
Williams, March 7, — December 6, Reed M. Williams was born in College and the California Maritime Academy, graduating in He came to Long Beach in engaging in private law practice until his retirement in Williams was an attorney with the U.
His family moved to Long Beach in Hanna was a supply corps officer and a commander in the Naval Reserve during WWII and subsequently worked for the federal government for thirty-six years. DuVall was born in Pittsburgh. When she came to Long Beach inshe fell in love with the city. Duvall held a full time position during the day, went to Southwestern University School of Law at night and was admitted to the California Bar in In private practice, she specialized in corporate law and became one of Long Beach's prominent attorneys.
Active in community service, Ms. Robert Langslet, September 17, — July 30, C. Robert Langslet was born in Klamath Falls, Oregon in He worked as a general contractor and went on to a very successful award-winning career in the building industry. Langslet is a past chairman of the Board of Directors of St. Langslet is a member of Rotary and the Virginia Country Club. Hauser became a real estate broker and owner of D.
He was a member of the Long Beach Symphony Association and an avid traveler with a life-long interest in history and geography. Hauser died in Talin was born in Rochester, New York and completed most of his collegiate studies in Canada. He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Western Ontario and a master's degree from the University of Toronto. Talin became an elementary and junior high school teacher with a vital interest in marketing and sales. He operates his Long Beach-based business with his two sons and his daughter.
Friedland, July 7, — December 12, Joel B. A former paint manufacturer and exporter with extensive business dealings with Pacific Rim nations, he was appointed to the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners in July and reappointed in July of Among his many civic activities, Mr.
Bellehumeur, July 18, — July 26, Alex R. Bellehumeur was born in Connecticut in From untilMr. Bellehumeur was owner and president of Statewide Developers, Inc. His company received three Gold Nugget Awards for developing the best commercial and residential projects in the Western United States. Among his civic activities, Mr. He is a board member of St. Hearrean, July 30, — June 30, Roy E.
He heads four real estate corporations encompassing title insurance, acquisition, development, and management of commercial and residential assets. Hearrean is also president of State-Wide Investors, a firm he founded in Hearrean was instrumental in the development of the International Trade Council, a committee composed of representatives from trade associations throughout Long Beach, whose mission is to promote international trade and export development in Southern California.
In addition, he is on the Board of Trustees of the St. During her service on the Board of Harbor Commissioners, trade at the Port of Long Beach tripled, making Long Beach one of the world's busiest container cargo ports and one of the two busiest in the United States. For her vigorous advocacy of trade, Ms.
Perez was a key port liaison to Sacramento and Washington and an alternate board member to the Alameda Corridor Transportation Authority. She worked with the port staff to offer free harbor cruises so Long Beach citizens get a close-up look at one of the busiest ports in the world. Each year, more than 2, visitors board the harbor cruises. Perez served as the Democratic National Committee vice chairwoman for California and has been a member of the California Democratic Party's executive committee, and co-chairs its rules committee.
Murchison, February 14, — August 3, George M. A graduate of St. Anthony High School, Mr. During his year business career, Murchison served the banking community as a member of the boards of directors of the National Bank of Long Beach and Aktiv Bank of Denmark.
He has been involved with more than 50 boards and authorities representing Long Beach arts, education, transportation and commerce. He served as an ex-officio member of the Economic Development Corporation of Los Angeles County and chairman of the Long Beach Community Partnership, a group of business, government and educational leaders devoted to the improvement of the Long Beach community.
Hancock, July 2, - July 10, John W. Hancock was born in Long Beach in He attended Stanford University receiving a degree in economics in and a master's degree in business administration in Hancock has spent more than 40 years in financial and real estate management.
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Hancock is president of Bancap Investment Group, a Long Beach-based real estate investment and development firm and was elected by his colleagues as vice president of the Harbor Commission in July He has an extensive background in corporate banking, corporate finance, international banking and real estate finance. Hancock served in administrative positions for 32 years with Security Pacific Bank prior to its merger in with Bank of America.
Hancock's duties with Security Pacific included two years, from toas vice president and manager of the international banking department in Australia. He retired from the bank in He received his bachelor's and medical doctorate degrees from the University of Illinois. During the Korean War, he served as a U. Kashiwabara was appointed to the Board of Harbor Commissioners in and was the first Japanese-American to serve on the board.
He helped port officials interpret Asian customs and to communicate more effectively with its Japanese customers who are some of the port's top trading partners. For his achievements, Dr. Kashiwabara died in Calhoun was born in Iowa and graduated with a law degree from the University of Iowa.
His bar admissions include the U. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, U. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, U. Court of Military Appeals in Washington, D.
Inhe was commissioned in the Army Reserve and served on active duty as a 2nd Lieutenant Infantry and retired as a colonel in Calhoun began his career with the City of Long Beach in as a deputy city prosecutor. He joined the city attorney's office in and was promoted to assistant city attorney in Inthe City Council unanimously voted to appoint Mr. Calhoun to fill an unexpired term as city attorney. Later that year, he won the first of three elections as city attorney.
Calhoun served for 13 years as the City of Long Beach's top attorney and was elected to three four-year terms. He retired in Calhoun has been included in "Who's Who in America.
She is a graduate of Cal State Long Beach with a bachelor's degree in social welfare and Chapman College with a master's degree in criminal justice administration. Topsy-Elvord worked for the Los Angeles County Probation Department as a deputy probation officer for 19 years, retiring in She was the first African-American and only the third woman appointed to the board.
As a Harbor Commissioner, Ms. Topsy-Elvord spearheaded new community outreach programs for the Port, including sponsorships of and participation in many Long Beach community events. She has been a leading champion of the Port's small business enterprise program, opening Port contracting to a broader spectrum of businesses. Hankla, July 1, - June 30, James C.
Hankla joined the Board of Harbor Commissioners in July Before his appointment to the Commission, Mr. Hankla distinguished himself as city manager of Long Beach for 11 years. As president of the Board of Harbor Commissioners, he championed the Port of Long Beach's pioneering Green Port Policy, an environmental protection ethic that is a model for seaports around the world.
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Inhe led the Port's development of the wide-ranging Clean Air Action Plan, the most aggressive clean-air strategy of any seaport complex in the world.
He received the prestigious Greening Award for his significant environmental leadership as a Harbor Commissioner. He was reappointed by Mayor Bob Foster and confirmed to a second six-year term in Cordero also served as Vice-President and President of the Board.
Cordero spearheaded the development of the pioneering Green Port Policy, which outlines sustainability guidelines for Port operations, mandating that trade growth must run parallel with environmental stewardship. The Green Port Policy, which has led to environmental initiatives like the Clean Trucks Program, the Vessel Low-Sulfur Fuel Program, the Technology Advancement Program and others, now serves as a model of environmental stewardship to ports across the country and around the globe.
After serving six years on the FMC, four of them as chairman, Mr. He came to Long Beach in as the Dean of the University's College of Business Administration and accepted his current post in Walter "Most Inspirational Professor" of the year.