Huntington Beach History

Huntington Beach: Through the Years

Prehistory

Human habitation in Huntington Beach dates back 8,500 years.  Cog stones – rare archaeological artifacts – and bones discovered in the area of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve offer evidence of ancient settlements.

1784

Today’s Huntington Beach location is included in the Spanish land grant of Rancho Los Nietos.

1898

Local farmers and pioneers William and May Newland settle into their new Queen Anne-style house in the heart of 500 acres of farmland.  The Newlands turned the onetime swampland into productive croplands where they grew lima beans, sugar beets, celery, and peppers.  Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Newland House Museum is the city’s oldest residence and displays period furnishings and artifacts.

1901

Developers build the first resort to rival Atlantic City. The community changes its name from Shell Beach to Pacific City.

1904

The first pier opens and the community is renamed Huntington Beach, honoring Henry E. Huntington, who brought the Pacific Electric Railway to the coast.

1909

Huntington Beach incorporates with a population of 915.

1914

George Freeth of Hawaii, who helped bring surfing to California, surfs at the opening of the new Huntington Beach Pier.

1920

Oil is discovered in Huntington Beach.

1922

Legendary Hawaiian waterman and Olympic gold medalist Duke Kahanamoku surfs at Huntington Beach. His statue can now be found at the intersection of Main Street and Pacific Coast Highway, across from the Huntington Beach Pier.

1940

Visitors head to Huntington Beach with RV campers to enjoy beach bonfires and coastal breezes.

1956

Gordie Duane opens Gordie’s Surf Boards, the city’s first surf shop.

1957

Jack’s Surfboards opens and is still a major surf retailer today.

1959

The first United States surfing championships are held at the Huntington Beach Pier.

1960

The city’s population is 11,492.

1963

Jan & Dean record the classic surf tune “Surf City”.

1970

The city’s population is the fastest growing in the country and reaches 11,960.

1973

The State of California establishes the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

1974

The 350-acre Huntington Central Park opens.  It’s currently one of the largest city-owned parks in Orange County.

1983

Winter storms badly damage the Huntington Beach Pier.

1988

After repairs in 1985, another storm destroys much of the pier.

1991

Huntington Beach officially adopts the nickname of Surf City USA.

1992

An estimated 500,000 people attend the opening of the rebuilt pier.

1997

A decades-long citizen effort leads to the state’s purchase of an additional 880 acres at Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve.

2006

The outdoor Bella Terra retail center opens on the former site of the 1960s-vintage Huntington Center.

2009

The Strand opens downtown with new retail stores, dining, and a hotel.

2011

The Sunset Beach area becomes part of Huntington Beach.

Visit Huntington Beach

301 Main Street, Suite 212 Huntington Beach, CA 92648  714.969.3492   |   800.729.6232   |   info@surfcityusa.com

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