Manhattan Beach Real Estate Blog

Discovering Manhattan Beach

Discovering Manhattan Beach

How do you introduce a city so casual and laid-back yet so worldly and sophisticated? Over the last 100 years this community of just four-square miles has witnessed dramatic change. From the beginning, with the exception of sparse industry, the town has always been thought of as a residential community.

A historic photo of Manhattan Beach with early settlers

Lovely blooms of wild flowers; Lupines, Indian paint brush, Mustard flowers and small bushes were touched by bright sun rays as they sat on the sand dunes and warm breezes caressed the sparkling beach. This peaceful scenery had greeted local Indians and in 1769, the Spanish soldiers, who came to colonize California. In the late 1880's the first visitors to Manhattan Beach were also enchanted by the same environment. 

The topography of the sand dunes changed and the architecture was determined by the needs of those who made the decision to live in an area lacking improvements. Prior to 1901, with deep sand, no streets and few houses the population was sparse, however there were those who battled the dunes in order to camp, fish, dig for clams and enjoy the uncrowned landscape. Now and again one might see, a tent with dirt or wood floor, pot belly stove for heat and curtains to separate the living quarters, perched upon a sand dune. 

With the arrival of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad in 1888, and the Pacific Electric "Red Car" in 1903, the area began to take on a different appearance. With better transportation more people could live year round near the shore, yet work in the city of Los Angeles or in other parts of the Los Angeles basin. 

The first subdivision of the community took place in 1901, defining the downtown...