Maureen Megowan's Blog


Early Road Construction on the Palos Verdes Peninsula

Below are several pictures of the early construction of roads on the Palos Verdes Peninsula:

Road Construction on the Palos Verdes Peninsula did not take place until the 1920's.  Palos Verdes Drive West in the Valmonte and Malaga Cove area was the first road developed as part of the original Palos Verdes Project.  Palos Verdes Drive East in the Miraleste area, then known as Western Ave. and which was then part of the Palos Verdes Project, was then developed to facilitate lot sales there. Palos Verdes Drive North was completed in the mid 1930's


Early road construction in Palos Verdes Estates Malaga Cove and Valmonte area:

Early Lunada Bay Plaza 

Road Construction of Palos Verdes Drive West and Yarmouth Road - Site of Lunada Bay Plaza and 1920's Lunada Bay,

Lunada Bay
 Via Colonel & PV Drive West towards ocean(Pictures Courtesy of Palos Verdes Peninsula Library District)

In 1926, the coast road connecting Redondo Beach to San Pedro, previously called Granvia La Costa, now called Palos Verdes Drive West, was completed, including the monumental "Douglas Cut", which was blasted away above Bluff Cove.

Douglas Cut
Douglas Cut (Picture Courtesy of Palos Verdes Peninsula Library District)

Six street entrances were planned for the Palos Verdes peninsula, three from the east and three from the north. The main broad street, Granvia La Costa (Palos Verdes Drive), considered a parkway with a landscaped center strip, was designed for the unrealized Pacific Electric Railway to run down its center.


Dedication of Palos Verdes Coast road caravan of cars forming at Malaga Cove Plaza

Above is a 1927 map showing the recently completed new coast road ( Palos Verdes Dr. South) in darker bold line. This road had not yet been named Palos Verdes Drive and was simply referred to as the Coast Road. Note that it shows connecting to "Western Ave", which later was renamed Palos Verdes Drive East and now runs into Narbonne Ave on the north.  Western Avenue later was constructed between Narbonne/Palos Verdes Drive East and Gaffey Street in San Pedro. Also notice that Pacific Coast Highway was named Redondo and Wilmington Road at that time and connected to Anaheim Street at the current junction with Western Ave. Palos Verdes Drive North had also not yet been constructed.  Crest road had not yet been completed.


1927 Palos Verdes Road Development
The road development on the Peninsula in 1927.(Picture Courtesy of Palos Verdes Peninsula Library District)

Late 1930's Sales Brochure Map of Palos Verdes Roads. Note Western Ave. was not yet constructed.  Pacific Coast Highway was known then as "State Street ( Highway 101") .Palos Verdes Drive North was completed in the early to mid 1930's.

Road construction moved forward rapidly in the late 1950's and through the mid 1960's..Construction of Crenshaw Boulevard up a canyon from Palos Verdes Drive North to Silver Spur road commenced in mid June 1950. and was completed in September 1951. 

Above is a 1949 Roadmap showing planned extension of Crenshaw ( dotted line ) from Torrance to Palos Verdes Drive south, Hawthorne Blvd. ending in Torrance , and Crest Road extending down to Palos Verdes Dr. West/South . Crenshaw used to terminate at the entrance to Rolling Hills, and when extended into Rolling hills to Crest road, the old portion of Crenshaw going into Rolling Hills was renamed Rolling Hills Road. Also notice the new Western Ave. which had not yet been extended into San Pedro.

Labor for the construction of Crenshaw included that of inmates at County Detention Camp No. 7 in the Palos Verdes Hills.  An article in the Torrance Press on the opening day of Crenshaw Blvd. on September 20, 1951 had the following quotes:

"Dedicating the road, Supervisor ( Raymond V. ) Darby said that its construction was made possible through use of men quartered at County Detention Camp Number 7, located In the Palos Verdes Hills.. "Thus," Darby said, "we have been able to effect a constructive road project and alleviate the County jail of over-crowding.

We have been able to build a key link in a badly-needed north/south highway that will be of great benefit to Torrance, Lomita and other areas in the southeastern section of the County.

The road opened today is comprised of Montemalaga Drive, Silver Spur Road, Crenshaw boulevard and Crest Road. It will provide a public cross-peninsula highway until Crenshaw is completed in its entirety. The road originates on Palos Verdes Drive North, half a mile east of the Palos Verdes Estates boundary, and terminates on Palos Verdes Drive West, half a mile west of Point Vicente Lighthouse."

The Montemalaga 'and Silver Spur sections originally were constructed by the County as an access road to Detention Camp No. 7. Crest Road was built by the Palos Verdes Corporation and today Frank A. Vanderlip, Jr., corporation president, presented 4.2 miles of Crest Road, lying between its intersection with Crenshaw and Palos Verdes Drive West, to the County so the Public would immediately have a cross-peninsula  thoroughfare."
The extension of Crenshaw from Crest road to Palos Verdes Drive South was never completed due to the Portuguese Bend landslide in the mid 1950's which was triggered by road grading for the extension of Crenshaw Blvd

Road construction moved forward rapidly in the late 1950's and through the mid 1960's. Hawthorne Blvd. through the Peninsula was completed in several segments. Hawthorne Blvd. was completed from Silver Spur to Crest in 1959. The segment from Palos Verdes Drive North to Silver Spur was completed in 1961. After several years of planning, the final segment extending Hawthorne Blvd. from Newton in Torrance to Palos Verdes Drive North was completed in 1965.


For more information about Palos Verdes and South Bay Real Estate and buying and selling a home on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, visit my website at . I try to make this the best real estate web blog in the South Bay Los Angeles and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. I would love to hear your comments or suggestions.

Comment balloon 0 commentsMaureen Megowan • November 23 2008 07:52PM


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