What are the large round white domes above Palos Verdes Drive East, just up from Palos Verdes Drive South? The two large round white buildings visible from Palos Verdes Drive East at the top of the hill house a radar facility that is still operational. It is run by the Federal Aviation Administration which continues to use the facility for long-range radar. The Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center uses the facility to control air traffic into and out of Los Angeles. The FAA took over the facility from the U.S. Air Force in 1960.
Why does the Palos Verdes Art Jury have jurisdiction over a part of Rancho Palos Verdes in the Miraleste area? The Miraleste area of Rancho Palos Verdes was part of the original Palos Verdes Project which was developed in the 1920's and 1930's, and was subject to the same deed restrictions that were recorded on the lots which later became part of the City of Palos Verdes Estates, which included architectural review authority by the Art Jury of the Palos Verdes Homes Association.
Why are the streets blocked off between the Valmonte area of Palos Verdes Estates and the Hollywood Riviera area of Torrance? The Palos Verdes Peninsula population grew rapidly after World War II. In 1946, construction began on several housing tracts in Hollywood Riviera. The best route for construction trucks at the time was up Hawthorne Boulevard, which at that time did not go all the way up the hill to the top of the Peninsula, but instead veered to the right at Via Valmonte (which at the time was Hawthorne Avenue) and ended at the Palos Verdes Country Club. The residents of the Valmonte area of Palos Verdes Estates were so irritated and inconvenienced by the large amount of traffic of dump trucks, bull dozers, etc. traveling to the Hollywood Riviera housing tracts that they prevailed upon the City Council of Palos Verdes Estates in 1948 to construct barriers in the middle of Via Alameda, Via Pasqual, and Via Colusa just inside the PVE city limits, and they've been there ever since.
How did the beach, which is the last beach before the start of the Palos Verdes Peninsula in Torrance, get its' name "Rat Beach"? There are four stories about this. One says the name comes from an acronym for the beach "Right After Torrance". Another says that it stands for "Redondo and Torrance" beach. The two most recent ones that I have heard are that the name was coined by local surfers. The first story says that "Rat Sh _t Beach" was coined by local surfers in the early 60's because, at that time there was little sand at that end of the beach. They didn't dredge and add sand until 1968-69. There was also a seasonal creek which attracted a lot of rats, which of course left a lot of rat poop , thus the name. The second story told by members of the Haggertys Surfing Club was that it was named in honor of professional surfer Rick Irons after his pet rat in the 1960's.
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