Early Redondo Beach Attractions
Redondo Beach was the home of California´s first modern surfer. In 1907, Henry Huntington brought the ancient art of Hawaiian surfing to the California coast. He owned most of the properties in Redondo Beach and was eager to sell them to visiting Angelenos looking for a break from the heat of the greater Los Angeles basin. Huntington had seen Hawaiian beach boys surfing and decided to hire one of them; a young Hawaiian-English athlete named George Freeth to demonstrate the art of surfing for the entertainment of Redondo Beach visitors.
George wanted to revive the art of surfing that he had seen depicted in old Polynesian paintings but found it difficult and had little success using the typical 16-foot hardwood boards. He cut them in half and unwittingly created the original long board which worked exceedingly well and made him the talk of the Hawaiian Islands.
Starting in 1908, "The Man Who Could Walk On Water" as he was called, gave surfing demonstrations for the many tourists arriving at the beach on the big, red streetcars. George exhibited his surfing prowess for Redondo Beach visitors twice a day in front of the Hotel Redondo. He was eventually made the official Redondo Beach lifeguard and the first lifeguard in Southern California. From 1907 to 1915, George spread a surfing revolution that would eventually become a phenomenon on the California Coast. A memorial bronze statue of George Freeth was placed at the Redondo Beach Pier and it is often decorated with leis as tribute from surfers who visit from around the world.
Several natural and man-made novelties lured early visitors to Redondo Beach. Between Diamond Street and the Hermosa Beach city line there was Moonstone Beach. Natural mounds five to six feet deep and 40 to 50 feet wide of gem stones were there to poke around in.
Carnation Gardens, in the general vicinity of Ruby and Sapphire Streets east of Catalina Avenue, offered 12 acres of sweet smelling flowers that were almost always in bloom. The piers, too, were an attraction. Sports fishing was unsurpassed and amusements such as games, rides and the largest salt water plunge in the world added to the excitement.
One of the more interesting parks in Redondo Beach is Wilderness Park, an 11 acre oasis that feels like you are way out in the country. This park was originally a Nike missile site that was decommissioned by the Federal Government and transferred to the City of Redondo Beach on May 7, 1971. This park is available for overnight camp outs.
Another attraction is the Seaside Lagoon, a salt water swimming area constructed in the early 1950’s, which is heated by the hot water used by a nearby utility plant to generate steam for the generation of electricity.Besides swimming, the Lagoon offers a large sand area for sunbathing, children's play equipment, snack bar facilities, and volleyball courts. There is also a grassed area and luau shelter for day and evening events.
Redondo Seaside Lagoon
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