Hermosa History

Hermosa Beach was originally part of the 1784 Rancho San Pedro Spanish land grant that later became the ten-mile (16 km) Ocean frontage of Rancho Sausal Redondo. In 1900 a tract of 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) was purchased for $35 per acre from A. E. Pomroy, then owner of the greater part of Rancho Sausal Redondo. Messrs. Burbank and Baker, agents, bought this land for Sherman and Clark who organized and retained the controlling interest in the Hermosa Beach Land and Water Company,

In early days, Hermosa Beach — like so many of its neighboring cities (Inglewood, Lawndale, Torrance) — was one vast sweep of rolling hills covered with fields of grain, mostly barley. During certain seasons of the year large herds of sheep were grazed over this land, and corrals and large barns for storing the grain, as well as providing shelter for horses and farm implements were located on the ranch between Hermosa and Inglewood. The Spanish words Rancho Sausal Redondo mean a large circular ranch of pasture of grazing land, with a grove of willow on it.

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The first official survey was made in the year 1901 for the board walk on the Strand, Hermosa Avenue and Santa Fe Avenue; work on these projects commenced soon after. In 1904 the first pier was built. It was constructed entirely of wood even to the pilings and it extended five hundred feet out into the ocean. The pier was constructed by the Hermosa Beach Land and Water Company. In 1913 this old pier was partly washed away and later torn down and a new one built to replace it. This pier was built of concrete 1,000 feet (300 m) long, and paved with asphalt its entire length. Small tiled pavilions were erected at intervals along the sides to afford shade for fishermen and picnic parties. A bait stand was built eventually out on the end. Soon after, about 1914, an auditorium building was constructed; it has housed various enterprises and at present the public rest rooms, the Los Angeles Life Guard Service, and the local branch of the Los Angeles County Public Library occupy rooms in the building. This pier is municipally owned.

The Los Angeles Pacific Railway, a “trolley” system, was the first railway in Hermosa Beach, running the entire length of Hermosa Ave. on its way from L.A. to Redondo Beach. A few years later it was merged with most all other “trolley” companies in the region to form the new Pacific Electric Railway Company, informally called the Red Cars.

The Santa Fe Railway was next through Hermosa Beach. It was seven blocks from the beach. The street that led to the tracks was called Santa Fe Avenue, but was later renamed Pier Avenue. There was no Santa Ferailway station for Hermosa, but Burbank and Baker built a railway platform on the west side of the tracks near Santa Fe Avenue, and later the Railroad Company donated an old boxcar to be used as a storage place for freight. In 1926, the Santa Fe Company built a modern stucco depot and installed Western Union telegraph service in it.

The first city election for city officers was held December 24, 1906. On January 14, 1907, Hermosa Beach became the nineteenth incorporated city of Los Angeles County.

Hermosa is a Spanish name meaning “beautiful”