Marina del Rey (Images of America)
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To increase trade to the Orient, commercial harbor development in the Ballona wetlands of western Los Angeles was attempted several times from 1880 to 1900, only to be destroyed by disastrous storm-fed floods. After the US Army Corps of Engineers installed revetments on Ballona Creek and moved tons of earth to raise the ground above sea level, Marina del Rey was federally authorized in 1954. Funded by federal, state, and Los Angeles County funds, the largest man-made marina in the nation was built to provide public recreational boating facilities and water access. Private financiers developed restaurants, hotels, premier yacht clubs, Fishermans Village, and a residential marina lifestyle on county-owned leaseholds. This world-class seaport will celebrate 50 years of dynamic growth on April 10, 2015.
land grant, reverted back to a marshland, rich with ducks, fish, and birds. The wildlife haven became a recreational playground for duck hunters and fishermen, as well as a destination for location shoots in the burgeoning motion picture industry. Culver City, home since 1918 to movie studios, including Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, was within three miles of the wetlands. Culver City residents picnicked on the estuary banks of the meandering Ballona Creek, whose flooding propensity was finally tamed by
his own boat in regattas held in Marina del Rey. During the 1984 Olympics, Marina del Rey yacht clubs produced many of the triangular courses for the Olympic committee. (Courtesy of Greg Wenger Photography.) Notable yachtswoman Peggy Slater owned a series of beautiful wooden boats, all named Valentine. All of the boats had a large red heart boldly applied to the foresail and a white spinnaker. An exemplary competitor, Slater, seen here in 1974, shared her innumerable talents with many women
breakwater above the white beachfront at left. This residential area is now planned for redevelopment. (Courtesy of LACDBH.) Happiness is “messing about in boats,” to take a phrase from Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows. Marina del Rey offers just that for any of Los Angeles’ residents who love the water. Boats, dinghies, paddleboards, sailboards, runabouts, kayaks, canoes, outriggers, and “dock sailing” are the options. The marina would not exist without the dedication of the
become earthen moles, filled and modified for land development with utilities, sewers, and roads. Marina del Rey harbor is becoming a reality. (Courtesy of LACFD.) This 1960 photograph offers a view of the “suction dredge.” This device pumps its mixture of mud and water through movable pipes, which then deposit the slurry into shoreside pools, where the earth settles to the bottom and the water is drained off the top. This process removes the earth from the channels contained by earlier seawall
storms subjected the marina to excessive wave action. The US Army Corps of Engineers accepted the responsibility of finding solutions to abate the energies. A scale model of the harbor was established at the Waterways Experiment Station in Vicksburg, Mississippi. The model indicated that the most extreme conditions would affect the Administration Center, while other areas would experience intense to moderate effects. In an actual weather event in mid-December 1962, Westside Marina boat owners