Long Beach, California

Long Beach
—  City  —
The City of Long Beach, California taken at 1200 feet AGL


Nickname(s): LB, the LBC
Motto: The International City
Location within Los Angeles County in the state of California

Location in the United States
Coordinates: 33°48′15″N 118°9′29″W / 33.80417°N °W / 33.80417; -118.15806
Country United States
State California
County Los Angeles
Incorporated December 13, 1897
Government
 - Mayor Bob Foster
 - City Council Robert Garcia
Suja Lowenthal
Gary DeLong
Patrick O'Donnell
Gerrie Schipske
Dee Andrews
James Johnson
Rae Gabelich
Val Lerch
 - City Attorney Kyle
 - City Auditor Laura L. Doud
 - City Prosecutor Tom Reeves
Area
 - Total  dunams (170.6 km2 / 65.9 sq mi)
 - Land
 - Water
Elevation
Population (January 1, 2009)
 - Total 492,682 (38th)
 Density
 - Urban density
 - Rural density
 - Metro density
 -  Density
 -  Density
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
 - Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 90801-90810, 90813-90815, 90822, 90831-90835, 90840, 90842, 90844-90848, 90853, 90888, 90899
Area code(s) 562, 310 (Only Some Small Areas Cover 310 Area Code)
FIPS code 06-43000
GNIS feature ID 1652747
Website www.longbeach.gov

Long Beach is a city situated in Southern California, on the Pacific coast. It is located in Los Angeles County, about south of downtown Los Angeles. Long Beach borders Orange County on its southeast edge.

Long Beach is the 38th-largest city in the nation and the sixth-largest in California. As of January 1, 2009, its estimated population was 492,682.[1] In addition, Long Beach is the 2nd largest city within the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The city completely surrounds the city of Signal Hill.

The Port of Long Beach is one of the world's largest shipping ports.[2] The city also has a large oil industry; oil is found both underground and offshore. Manufacturers include aircraft, car parts, electronic and audiovisual equipment, and home furnishings. It is also home to headquarters for corporations including Epson America, Molina Healthcare, and SCAN Health Plan. Long Beach has grown with the development of high-technology and aerospace industries in the area.

History

Indigenous peoples have lived in coastal southern California for at least ten thousand years. Over the centuries, several successive cultures inhabited the present-day area of Long Beach. By the time Spanish explorers arrived in the sixteenth century, the dominant group were the Tongva people. They had at least three major settlements within the present-day city boundaries. Tevaaxa'anga was an inland settlement near the Los Angeles River, while Ahwaanga and Povuu'nga were coastal villages. Along with other Tongva villages, they were forced to relocate in the mid-19th century due to missionization, political change, and a drastic drop in population from exposure to European diseases.[3]

In 1784 the Spanish Empire's, King Carlos III granted Rancho Los Nietos to the Spanish soldier, Manuel Nieto. The Rancho Los Cerritos and Rancho Los Alamitos were divided from this territory. The boundary between the two ranchos ran through the center of Signal Hill on a southwest to northeast diagonal. A portion of western Long Beach was originally part of the Rancho San Pedro. Its boundaries were in dispute for years, due to flooding changing the Los Angeles River boundary, between the ranchos of Juan Jose Dominguez and Manuel Nieto.

In 1843 Jonathan Temple bought Rancho Los Cerritos, after arriving in California in 1827 from New England. He built what is now known as the "Los Cerritos Ranch House", an adobe which still stands and is a National Historic Landmark. Temple created a thriving cattle ranch and prospered, becoming the wealthiest man in Los Angeles County. Both Temple and his ranch house played important local roles in the Mexican-American War. On an island in the San Pedro Bay, Mormon pioneers made an abortive attempt to establish a colony (as part of Brigham Young's plan to establish a continuous chain of settlements from the Pacific to Salt Lake).

In 1866 Temple sold Rancho Los Cerritos for $20,000 to the Northern California sheep-raising firm of Flint, Bixby & Co, which consisted of brothers Thomas and Benjamin Flint and their cousin Lewellyn Bixby. Two years previous Flint, Bixby & Co had also purchased along with Northern California associate James Irvine, three ranchos which would later become the city that bears Irvine's name. To manage Rancho Los Cerritos, the company selected Lewellyn's brother Jotham Bixby, the "Father of Long Beach". Three years later Bixby bought into the property and would later form the Bixby Land Company. In the 1870s as many as 30,000 sheep were kept at the ranch and sheared twice yearly to provide wool for trade. In 1880, Bixby sold 4,000 acres (16 km²) of the Rancho Los Cerritos to William E. Willmore, who subdivided it in hopes of creating a farm community, Willmore City. He failed and was bought out by a Los Angeles syndicate that called itself the "Long Beach Land and Water Company." They changed the name of the community to Long Beach, which was incorporated as a city in 1888.

Another Bixby cousin, John W. Bixby, was influential in the city. After first working for his cousins at Los Cerritos, J.W. Bixby leased land at Rancho Los Alamitos. He put together a group: banker I.W. Hellman, Lewellyn and Jotham Bixby, and him, to purchase the rancho. In addition to bringing innovative farming methods to the Alamitos (which under Abel Stearns in the late 1850s and early 1860s was once the largest cattle ranch in the US), J.W. Bixby began the development of the oceanfront property near the city's picturesque bluffs. Under the name Alamitos Land Company, J.W. Bixby named the streets and laid out the parks of his new city. This area would include Belmont Heights, Belmont Shore and Naples; it soon became a thriving community of its own. J.W. Bixby died in 1888 of apparent appendicitis. The Rancho Los Alamitos property was split up, with Hellman getting the southern third, Jotham and Lewellyn the northern third, and J.W. Bixby's widow and heirs keeping the central third. The Alamitos townsite was kept as a separate entity, but it was basically run by Lewellyn and Jotham's Bixby Land Company.

When Jotham Bixby died in 1916, the remaining 3,500 acres (14 km²) of Rancho Los Cerritos was subdivided into the neighborhoods of Bixby Knolls, California Heights, North Long Beach and part of the city of Signal Hill.

The town grew as a seaside resort with light agricultural uses.[4] The Pike was the most famous beachside amusement zone on the West Coast from 1902 until 1969, it offered bathers food, games and rides, such at the Dual Ferris Wheel and Cyclone Racer roller coaster. Gradually the oil industry, Navy shipyard and facilities and port became the mainstays of the city. In the 1950s it was referred to as "Iowa by the sea," due to a large influx of people from that and other Midwestern states. Huge picnics for migrants from each state were a popular annual event in Long Beach until the 1960s.

Oil was discovered in 1921 on Signal Hill, which split off as a separate incorporated city shortly afterward. The discovery of the Long Beach Oil Field, brought in by the gusher at the Alamitos No. 1 well, made Long Beach a major oil producer; in the 1920s the field was the most productive in the world.[5] In 1932, the even larger Wilmington Oil Field, fourth-largest in the United States, and which is mostly in Long Beach, was developed, contributing to the city's fame in the 1930s as an oil town.[6]

The Long Beach earthquake of 1933 was a magnitude 6.3 earthquake that caused significant damage to the city and surrounding areas. Most of the damage occurred in unreinforced masonry buildings, especially schools. A total of 120 people died in the earthquake.

The city was the site of "The Los Angeles Air Raid of 1942" during World War II, when observers for the Army Air Corps reported shells being fired from the sea. Anti-aircraft batteries fired into the night sky, although no planes were ever sighted.

Before the war, Long Beach had a sizable Japanese-American population, who worked in the fish canneries on Terminal Island and owned small truck (produce) farms in the area. Due to exaggerated fears on the coast and racial prejudice, state officials persuaded the national government to remove Japanese nationals and Japanese Americans for internment in 1942 to inland facilities. Most did not return to the city after their release from the camps. Due to this and other factors, Japanese Americans now make up less than 1% of the population of Long Beach, but the Japanese Community Center and a Japanese Buddhist Church survive. The Japanese-American Cultural Center is located over the Gerald Desmond Bridge and the Vincent Thomas Bridge in San Pedro.

The nonprofit Aquarium of the Pacific, located in downtown Long Beach, opened to the public in 1998. It has become a major attraction visited by more than 13 million people since its opening. The Aquarium was rated #2 Los Angeles area Family Destination in the most recent Zagat U.S. Family Travel Guide, second only to Disneyland. The Aquarium’s architecture is inspired by the breaking waves of the Pacific. Kajima International was the developer of the Aquarium of the Pacific and architects included the Los Angeles office of Hellmuth, Obata & Kassanbaum and Esherick Homsey Dodge and Davis of San Francisco. The Aquarium of the Pacific recently made history as the first in the museum, zoo, or aquarium industry to become a Climate Action Leader for voluntarily measuring, certifying, and reporting its green house gas emissions to the Climate Action Registry and the public.

Geography

Long Beach is located at 33°47' North, 118°10' West, about south of downtown Los Angeles. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of , with of its area being land and of it (23.42%) is water.

Climate

Long Beach, depending on the reporting location, has a Mediterranean climate, with strongly semi-arid climate characteristics. Due to its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, temperatures in Long Beach are moderate throughout the year. Temperatures recorded at the weather station at the Long Beach Airport, inland from the ocean, range more greatly than those along the immediate coast. During the summer months, low clouds and fog occur frequently, developing overnight and blanketing the area on many mornings. This fog usually clears by the afternoon, and a westerly sea breeze often develops, keeping temperatures mild. Heat and humidity rarely coincide, making heat waves more tolerable than they would be otherwise.

Long Beach's geographic location directly east of the Palos Verdes Peninsula, paired with its mostly south-facing coastline, results in the community having significantly different weather patterns than coastal communities to the north and south. The 1200' Palos Verdes hills block east to west airflow and, with it, a significant amount of the coastal moisture that marks other Los Angeles County coastal cities, such as Manhattan Beach and Santa Monica.

As in most locations in southern California, rainfall occurs largely during the winter months. Storms can bring heavy rainfall, but Long Beach receives less precipitation than locations adjacent to the San Gabriel or San Bernardino mountains further inland, whose rainfall is enhanced by orographic lift.[7]

Climate data for Long Beach, California (Long Beach Airport)
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