West Newport - Newport - East Newport - Balboa

By W.A. Cornelius

Editor, Newport News

When any community meets with an extraordinary growth in these days of strenuous competition, it is never an accident, but due to some peculiar advantage this locality has over its rivals for public favor.

Newport Beach is located on the shore of Newport Bay and on the beach of the Pacific Ocean at one time, due to the freak of nature in throwing up a long narrow sand spit which separates the quiet water of the bay from the restless billows of the mighty Pacific.

The city was laid out years ago as a shipping village when steamers crossed the bar into Newport bay and took on cargoes of hides, wool and grain for distant ports, but now, when Southern California has been made the nation's playground, it has been discovered that the Newport bay resorts fill in the list for the entertainment of visitors by supplying a valuable feature that none of the other resorts have – a spacious area of salt water on which there are no breakers whatever, and where if the amateur sailor or boatman overturns his craft he must furnish the energy for the catastrophe himself, for the water lies around him for eight square miles as placid as the surface of an inland lake.

Man has an inherent love for water, and the surface of the bay is covered with a myriad of water-craft from the plebian skiff, the stately yawl, the smooth gliding canoe, to the sputter of the family or passenger launch, or the roar of the hydroplane of the speed king.

Lying as it does on a peninsula, the encircling waters of the ocean and bay have at once a modifying yet invigorating effect on the atmosphere. The heat of the summer sun is chased away by the cool breezes that come from the sea on their mission of mercy to the sun-baked interior, while during the winter Jack Frost is kept on his throne on the summit of the nearby mountains by the equalizing effect of the mighty body of water which withstands both the heat and the cold.

Newport bay is too good a natural harbor to remain long undeveloped, and the rapid increase in the produce and populace of Southern California demands that the entrance to the bay be made safe for ingress, irrespective of wind or tide. Thousands of people who have never before heard of this place will be benefited in the decade to come by the commerce that will be laid at their doors through this Orange County port, but in the mean time other thousands will continue to regard it as the best place to forget the trials and tribulations of a business world.

Money has been appropriated by the county supervisors to build a coast boulevard connecting Los Angeles and Long Beach with Newport bay, and the road will continue down the coast to San Diego. A part of the county bond issue of $1,270,000 goes to building a lateral to connect with the state highway and county good roads system at Santa Ana. The Pacific Electric has all arrangements made to connect Newport Beach with Riverside County during the next year. This road and the Southern Pacific now operate trains to Los Angeles and intermediate points.

Newport bay subdivisions consist of West Newport, Newport proper, East Newport and Balboa. These go to make up the incorporated city of Newport Beach. Then there is Balboa Island, which is meeting with a wonderful growth, lying just across the bay from Balboa, and Newport Heights, the mesa land lying tributary to the city, and the sire of the new glass factory.

Soon all roads will lead to Newport. None will lead away, for they will not be needed.


By Lew H. Wallace

President, State Bank of Newport

About the year 1887 James McFadden, along with a few others, conceived the idea of making a harbor out of Newport Bay. At that time, however, political pull, backed by the population of the City of Los Angeles, swung all harbor improvements for the Southern California coast towards San Pedro Harbor, now Los Angeles Harbor, regardless of the fact that for many years prior to this date coastwise vessels of light draught crossed the bar at the entrance to Newport Bay and loaded and unloaded their cargoes at the old Newport Landing, now known as Port Orange, while cargoes at other ports were loaded and unloaded by means of lighters because of the fact that ships could not cross the bars into the other ports in safety.

Just twenty years after this, or in the year 1907, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce was organized and adopted as its slogan, “The Development of Newport Harbor.” From that day to this there has never been an organization of more enthusiastic boosters for any project than have been the people of Newport Beach in the development of Newport Harbor.

The first year was devoted to the education of the people in Orange County as to the harbor facilities lying within its boundaries. Hundreds – yes, thousands – of residents of Orange County had never seen any more of Newport Bay than that portion readily seen from the sand-spit. The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, however, furnished launches for free rides, taking Orange County residents over the entire bay, which consists of about eight square miles of land-locked water, the upper lagoon, so-called, being of itself an excellent harbor of refuge surrounded by steep bluffs of over a hundred feet in height until the upper end of the lagoon is reached where the ground gradually slopes from the bay to the farm land of the interior.

The first visible reward for the continuous and concentrated effort of the men who were so enthusiastically backing their belief in the ultimate development of the harbor was when Congress, in the year 1911, appropriated $2,500 for a preliminary survey and the establishing of harbor lines within the boundaries of Newport Bay. This was the first instance where the United States Government had made such an appropriation, and this appropriation was made upon the assurance by the people of the City of Newport Beach that they would vote a bond issue of $100,000 for the construction of a jetty at the mouth of Newport Bay, in order that the sandbar might have an opportunity to clean itself and make it possible for boats having a draught of from 14 to 18 feet to clear the bar at low tide, and this will make it possible for boats of 20 to 25-foot draught to clear the bar at high tide.

The preliminaries have already been completed for the voting of the $100,000-bond issue, and before the summer season expires the question will be voted upon and without doubt unanimously carried.

In carrying forward the work, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce has been ably seconded in their efforts by practically every civic organization in Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, thus demonstrating that the people in the interior are alive to the possibilities and the quick advancement the development of Newport Harbor will bring directly to them, the distance from the centers of population mentioned being about one-half as far from Newport Harbor as they are from Los Angeles Harbor.

It is the hope and the belief that the United States Government will further assist in the making of Newport Harbor not only a first class commercial harbor, but a harbor of refuge into which war vessels may safely enter.

Making Gold from Sand and Salt Water

By W.S. Collins

President, Newport Land Company, and owner of Balboa Island

Fourteen years ago, or in the year 1899, I sat in my office one day talking to a man who wanted to sell me 1000 acres of land around Newport Bay for a consideration of $50,000. In the daydreams of the future I imagined it would be a good investment and purchased the property. On that day the south coast came into existence while a host of my friends stood around and predicted my immediate failure. They thought I was crazy to go away off down the south coast and invest $50,000 in sand, as they put it.

Today that same property, since subdivided, sold, resold, developed and connected to Los Angeles by the Pacific Electric railroad, is worth more than $5,000,000. Some of the very people who laughed at my original purchase have since bought some of the property from me and they, too, have realized large profits on their investments.

Twenty miles in extent, the south coast beaches comprise the most beautiful, even, sandy coastline to be found anywhere. The extent is from the San Pedro harbor to the picturesque hills of the Corona del Mar, at the mouth of Newport Bay, and comprising the beach towns of Naples, Bay City, Huntington Beach, Sunset Beach, Redlands Seaside Colony, Newport, Newport, East Newport, Balboa and Balboa Island.

Today the population of the south coast I would estimate at not less than 50,000 people at any time of year, and during the summer seasons easily 100,000 people per week visit there. On holidays and special occasions this number is greatly increased.

The coming of the Pacific Electric line to the south coast is a most interesting story. For years it was impossible to get the Pacific Electric to build a road down the south coast. Every inducement was offered, but with no avail.

Finally I secured my own right of way for an electric line from Santa Ana to Balboa and entered into negotiations with Mr. H. E. Huntington, head of the Pacific Electric, to build my own line over this right of way. Later a contract was signed for the construction of the road, but on the eve of beginning work Mr. Huntington decided it was too good a bet to overlook, took over my franchise and built his own road from Willows Junction, on the Long Beach line, to Balboa.

Later he built the fine from Santa Ana to Huntington Beach, connecting with the Balboa line at this point and now it is only a question of a short time until the line from Santa Ana to Balboa Island will be constructed.

On the day that these lines were completed, and the first cars sent over them, the south coast began to go ahead with leaps and bounds. The transportation problem was solved and people began to come to the south coast.

Every improvement now being made on the south coast, the sum total of which will reach up into the hundreds of thousands of dollars, is helping the development of this beauty-spot of Southern California.

A boulevard from Long Beach to Balboa, along the coast line, and then across Balboa Island to the Corona del Mar and on to San Diego, is now in the making. It will be a scenic highway, the scenic beauties of which will attract the automobile populace of Southern California.

At Balboa one reaches the terminus of the south coast, where Newport Bay connects with the Pacific Ocean at the Corona del Mar, the hills and seal rocks of which are a rendezvous for artists and lovers of Nature's beauty.

On the narrow neck of land that separates the waters of the Pacific from the quiet, peaceful waters of Newport Bay is Balboa, covered with pretty beach cottages, apartments, hotels, tent cities and business blocks. The pavilion, which is on the bay side of the peninsula, offers every amusement.

In the center of Newport Bay and surrounded by its still waters, twenty-two square miles in extent, is Balboa Island, where hundreds of homes are built and under way. The hangar of the Glenn Martin Aeroplane Company was built at Balboa Island only recently, and aviation tests are daily attractions at Balboa Island now.

The automobile speedway around Balboa Island and connected to the mainland by a bridge will prove an added attraction when completed, as will the new $100,000 hotel to be built on Balboa Island.

Newport Bay will soon have navigable connections with the Pacific Ocean, as a jetty at the mouth of the bay will be built in the near future. The bonds for this jetty have already been arranged for in the city of Newport.

When this is completed it will be possible at all times for pleasure craft to go to and from the ocean to the bay. Newport Bay is also the headquarters for the South Coast Yacht Club, and was the home of the late Madame Modjeska during the years of her retirement previous to her death.

 (Out West, July-August 1913)