Seal Beach officials close segment of bike trail after old seawall from c. 1913 is found


Seal Beach officials announced that a segment of the San Gabriel River Bike Trail between the Marina Drive Bridge and the 1st Street parking lot will be closed from November 13th through early January 2019, due to grading operations at the Ocean Place Development (the former DWP site) at the corner of Marina Drive and First Street.

A dedicated bike trail detour will be in place starting Tuesday, Nov. 13, which will lead cyclists to the 1st Street parking lot.

During recent grading operations, the grading contractor uncovered a portion of an old wooden seawall toward the northwest corner of the property. The seawall is estimated to have been constructed between 1915 and 1920. [Prior to the channelization of the San Gabriel River in the early 1930s, the river emptied into Alamitos Bay up by the current police station, and sloughs of Alamitos Bay wrapped around Ocean Avenue onto the lowlands of current Central Place and Central Avenue west of 5th.  Some of the homes on 5th Street had wharves where residents docked their boats. Our guess is the seawall was constructed around 1913 when the Guy M. Rush Company optioned the struggling Bay City development from P.A. Stanton’s Bayside Land Company and put a lot of money into upgrading the town.  Among Rush’s improvements were convincing the PE to run tracks across an Ocean Avenue bridge, building a school on PCH and 11th, and changing the development’s name from Bay City to Seal Beach.]

The remaining portion of the seawall that was discovered during the recent grading will be removed using specialized, heavy equipment that will need to be placed near the adjacent River Bike Trail. As a precaution, the city is closing this segment of the River Bike Trail while the seawall is removed.

This photo was taken from a 1910 brochure on Bay City, but was originally photographed around 1906. It is the wharf at the foot of 5th street where a boat would bring potential landbuyers to Bay City from the PE railhead on the Long Beach side of Alamitos Bay. Note the words “Bay City” on the wharf. The homes iin the background are the Philip A. Stanton and I.A. Lothian homes on Ocean and 1st and Ocean and 2nd. They were the largest investors in the Bay City development in late 1903.
This was an early ad for Bay City from around 1905. Note the slough of Alamitos Bay snaking back from the main channel of the Bay towards 5th Street. The former DWP property was located on the bluff of land west of First Street and a seawall was built just below the northwest pint f that bluff to prevent the high tide of Alamitos Bay from encroaching on recently surveyed lots south of Central Way.


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