Fun Zone Boat Co.
Newport Harbor boasts some of the most expensive residential real
estate in the country. Jet setters of all kinds reside in luxurious bay front
homes and moor their pleasure yachts yards from their front doors.
A guided boat tour provides a peek into the lifestyles of the rich and
famous as well as an appreciation for the harbor’s size and beauty.
The horses of the Fun Zone’s Carousel have been the favorite of young
cowgirls and cowboys-in-training for decades. Carousels are differentiated
from merry-go-rounds in that carousels rotate counter-clockwise, reverse of
merry-go-rounds. The carousel was built in 1954 for Santa’s Village in
Scotts Valley, CA. It was later moved to the Fun Zone location and
restored in 1985 by the son of the original builder. Today, the carousel
is flanked by a host of other rides, shops, and arcade games.
Shoreline Story Line
Throwing her shoes off dismissing concern and care
inviting the ocean breeze whipping her golden hair
marveling at the sen forever faithfully greeting land
leaving fleeting footprints in the wet glistening sand
crushing her worries with a pounding wave’s might
casting her wishes on a shorebird’s skyward flight
watching a horizon bound sloop aimlessly sail
losing her thoughts in a daydream’s happy tale
welcoming is her soul to know such simple grace
blessed are those who know such a peaceful place
Winter temperatures at the beach can still hit the 70s while
the winter sport enthusiasts head for nearby ski resorts.
The Santa Ana Mountains provide the backdrop to the
Newport Dunes Resort. The resort is situated at the base of Upper Newport Bay,
also referred to as Back Bay. Recreational vehicle owners from all over
come to enjoy the resort’s hospitable facilities. The 752-acre coastal wetland and
ecological reserve of the Back Bay is an ideal spot for hikers, cyclists,
horse-back riders, and nature seekers.
Crystal Cove State Beach
In between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach lies a pristine
stretch of coastline. High bluffs separate the beach from Pacific Coast Highway
and the large beach crowds never quite find their way here. The result is
one of the area’s most trusted locations in terms of finding a private patch of
sand to relax on and call your own for an afternoon.
Excursions from Newport Beach appeal to all tastes and ages. The city and its surroundings are a veritable Southern California playground, offering everything from ocean adventures to
winter sports, from romantic getaways to family fun.
Newport’s neighbor to the west, the Pacific Ocean, represents an entire playground in and of itself. Cruises to Catalina Island and a variety of boat charters launch regularly from Newport Harbor. A selection of boat, jet-ski, and kayak rentals are also available for the more actively inclined.
Also of interest to the sportive sightseer, Orange County is equipped with an accommodating
array of bike paths. Cycling the many paths are a great way to see the coast and county.
In the winter months, one can escape to the nearby San Bernardino Mountains for winter
sports activities or to hideout in a cozy mountain cabin. Big Bear Lake is a favorite among Southland skiers.
The peaks in this area eclipse 5,000 feet and are home to three ski resorts.
Newport Beach’s location also provides sightseers with convenient access to the Los Angeles
metropolitan area and its myriad of attractions such as: Universal Studios, Knott’s Berry Farm,
Disneyland, or the Queen Mary to name a few.
San Diego lies 85 miles to the south of Newport Beach. Excursions to this city might include a stroll of the old town, a day at the world famous San Diego Zoo, or a visit to Sea World. Tijuana, Mexico is a popular side trip from San Diego for those interested in escaping south of the border. Still others might be more interested in experiencing the picturesque coastal jewel of
La Jolla on the northern fringe of San Diego.
Whatever the interest, ocean or mountain, romance or family fun, residents and
visitors to the area are never at a loss for an agenda of activities.
Balboa Bay Club
The Host of the Coast, the Balboa Bay Club is situated on one the
country’s largest bayfront properties and has the distinction of being the
only private beach club in Orange County. The club offers permanent and
temporary accommodations in a luxurious, yet relaxed atmosphere.
The club’s marina hosts yachts from around the world.
Membership in The Balboa Bay Club comes with a variety of dining, entertainment,
and recreational privileges and members enjoy reciprocal arrangements
with other fine clubs all over the globe.
The recently renovated Balboa Inn has been the hospitable host of
the peninsula for beach going vacationers for decades. Built in 1930,
its oceanfront address has attracted a variety of guests and owners.
Kareem Abdul-Jabar, the famed basketball player, once owned the landmark inn.
The 7’3″ former Los Angeles Laker custom fitted his personal suite with
higher doors, a longer bed, and a more spacious jacuzzi. Today, each of
the Balboa Inn’s 34 rooms and suites comes complete with fireplace
and spa but the inn’s main attraction remains its coveted location.
Sheraton Newport Beach
The 339-room Sheraton Newport Beach Hotel recently completed a major
renovation program which included a new front entry, and the re-wiring of
selected guest rooms and meeting facilities with fiber-optic
connections providing high-speed access to the Internet.
The hotel recently upgraded its porte cochere with a
new covered entry accented with tropical plants and highlighted
by an original fantasy tree sculpture, attracting guests and local residents
to the “new” Sheraton Newport Beach Hotel.
The sculpture, created by renowned Orange County artist, Jacqueline Spellens,
has been integrated into the front entrance, aptly reflecting the
hotel’s tropical business resort ambiance.
Balboa Island was once nothing more than a semi-amorphous patch of mud
and sand swallowed by high tide. William Collins dredged the surrounding bay
and filled in the nascent island. Since these defining days, it has blossomed into one
of Southern California’s well-known locations. Collins originally sold lots for as little
as $25 with the promise of a bridge and ferry service as transportation to
and from the mainland. Collins hired Joseph Beek to follow through on his promises
and Beek would eventually play perhaps the most important role in the island’s
development, among a long list of other personal achievements.
The island grew as a relatively isolated village before its annexation
to the city in 1916. Its character within Newport Beach remains
distinct even today. Its village appeal is perhaps best exemplified by
the general store appearance of the post office facade.
Over the years, the quaint, tree-lined, narrow streets have become the home to a blend of residents ranging from students to celebrities. Today, the same lots Collins once pedaled eclipse half-million dollar price tags and the humble village feel, however out of place with such real estate appraisals, still remains.
The island is partially divided by Grand Canal to create the main
island’s cousin, Little Balboa Island. Collins Island flanks the western tip
of Balboa Island and is rumored to have once been gambled away in a poker game.
Five other islands populate the harbor including: Lido Island, Linda Isle, Harbor Island,
Bay Island, and Newport Island. Each stands alone with its own individual
character but cumulatively they are quintessentially Newport.
Balboa Fun Zone
The Balboa Fun Zone dates back to the year the harbor was officially dedicated. In 1936,
Al Anderson leased a stretch of land on the peninsula and laid the foundation for what would
become one of the city’s most endearing icons.
One of Southern California’s oldest and last great coastal amusement areas, the Balboa Fun Zone maintains a certain timelessness. Seemingly stuck in an age of innocence, the area exudes an indisputable sense of Americana steeped in family fun.
Though the Fun Zone has experienced a number of remodelings and additions, its current owners have maintained a strong feeling of historic continuity. Then young school boys, Charles “Joe” Tunstall and Bob Speth, both began working at the amusement area in 1951. Eventually the two would serve in the armed forces and pursue a variety of interests independent of each other. Not until 1984, when the Fun Zone was closed, did Tunstall and Speth reconsider their mutual interest in their childhood stomping grounds.
In this year, the amusement area survived near extinction and was instead razed and rebuilt.
The Tunstall-Speth duo signed a twenty-five year lease to operate the ferris wheel and carousel.
In the years which would follow, a number of other attractions were added including bumper cars, the scary dark ride, and an arcade. In 1993, Tunstall and Speth’s landlord put the property
up for sale. In the following ver, the childhood buddies seized the opportunity to complete
their return to childhood by purchasing the property forty-three years after having first worked together at the site’s original ferris wheel.
Few people can recount stories about the Fun Zone as can the current co-owners but for many
patrons, the sight of the old amusement area triggers memories of family fun,
childish innocence, and summer vacations.
Newport Harbor was originally intended to be a commercial harbor. Fate would have it, however, that it would become one of the west coast’s best known recreational harbors. To those of us who make Newport Beach our home or to visitors who have discovered its charm, it is hard to imagine anything but the modern day pleasant playground we all find so easygoing.
In the beginning, however, the going was anything but easy in the harbor.
The mouth of the harbor was a treacherous navigational hurdle which claimed
many vessels and lives. The interior of the harbor was a shallow obstacle course of
sandbars and mud flats. The peninsula was prone to frequent flooding and the island
landscape as we know it today was a poorly defined collection of disappearing and
reappearing patches at the mercy of the tides.
Thanks in large part to a group of pioneers called “harbor boosters” the harbor
went through a series of evolutionary changes. The harbor was dredged deeper and
the dredgings were at least in part used to shore up the peninsula and islands.
To create a protective barrier at the mouth of the harbor jetties were built, rebuilt,
and extended with seemingly undying perseverance to defeat the unruly tide and surf.
Eventually the east and west tandem of jetties teamed up to
secure the once hazardous harbor entrance.
On May 23, 1936, Franklin D. Roosevelt signaled the harbor’s opening
ceremonies by telegraph from Washington DC. A boat parade led by harbor
pioneer George Rogers celebrated the completion of the navigable harbor.
Six decades later, the harbor is now home to thousands of pleasure boats and
host to numerous recreational events ranging from holiday boat parades
to the start of the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race.
Where dawn’s salty fog reminds us of the sea
Where the ocean sunset offers its daily therapy
Where surfers dance atop undulating waves
Where lush green links pass golfers’ days
Where pleasure yachts populate a bustling bay
Where tranquil wetlands put nature on display
Where a stranger’s greeting comes with a smiling face
Where wafts of jasmine relax the promenade’s pace
Where luxurious living attracts the executive
Where nature’s beauty puts it all in perspective
Where rustling palms suggest n slight breeze
Where pelicans patrol their lifeblood seas
Where tourists from all corners come to play
Where sunshine drenches the bright summer day
Where you pause in grateful contemplation…
…and realize you’ve found your destination.
– Steve Sirnon
Corona del Mar
Corona del Mar has the distinction among the early villages of having originally been intended
for residential development. In 1904 George Hart bought 700 acres from James Irvine
and began development. The village was eventually annexed to the city in 1923
so as to afford itself a more reliable fresh water supply. As with the other annexed villages,
Corona del Mar has maintained its individual character over the years, particularly its residential feel.
Translated from Spanish, Corona del Mar means “crown of the sea”. The rugged cliffs
overlooking the rocky shores command the respect of its noble name. Spanning the
coast from the harbor entrance down to Crystal Cove State Beach, one
finds a wealth of natural beauty and homes fit for kings.
Rocky cliffs distinguish this subdivision from the other relatively flat parts of
Newport Beach. Dolphins, sea lions, and even migrating whales can from time
to time be spotted from the bluffs overlooking the ocean. Other explorers might prefer to
discover the marine life of the tide pools or the various smaller, more intimate beaches.
Apart from Main Beach, beach bums can choose from a host of other secret spots
including China Cove, Pirate’s Cove, and Little Corona.
In the horse and buggy days, the residents of Corona del Mar found it somewhat
difficult to access the center of action and Pacific Railway transportation hub on the peninsula.
A ferry was introduced to transport passengers to Balboa. Eventually, Pacific Coast Highway
superseded the need for a ferry and created a thriving shopping strip through the heart
of the former village. Nevertheless the provincial feel has not been lost and still Corona del Mar’s most distinguishing characteristics are its varied residential architecture and magnificent coastal vistas.
Upper Newport Bay
Upper Newport Bay was carved millennia ago by the Santa Ana River. Over time the river has
changed its main course and now empties into the ocean between the Newport and Huntington
mesas up the coast from the bay. The lower bay, or Newport Harbor, was formed later by the
sandy deposits which eventually formed the Balboa Peninsula.
During the Spanish mission period, the upper bay was given the name Bolsa de Gengara,
taken from the nearby local Indian village of Genga. When Mexico achieved independence from
Spain in 1822, financing for the California missions ceased. The Mexicans began encroaching on Franciscan land and by the 1930s the Spanish contingent in the area was virtually powerless.
In 1937, Jose Sepulveda was granted the area spanning most of today’s Newport Beach
from the Mexican Governor. Soon thereafter, Sepulveda changed the bay’s name to
Bolsn de San Joaquin and enjoyed a lavish and indulgent lifestyle.
A decade later. Mexico’s rule of California was interrupted by the American occupation.
Eventually, Sepulveda’s lifestyle gave way to financial duress and in 1864 he sold his Rancho
San Joaquin to Flint, Bixby, Irvine, & Company for $18,000. James Irvine, an immigrant of
Anglo-Irish descent who came to California for the Gold Rush, would eventually lead the San Joaquin Ranch.
In 1870, the sternwheeler Vaquero made her way from San Diego up the coast, through the
treacherous bay entrance, and up to the upper bay where her cargo of shingles and lumber were delivered. Word traveled fast that a “new port” between San Diego and San Francisco was in promise.
Its early maritime potential was eventually superseded by the development of the lower bay or
Newport Harbor. Upper Newport Bay is now an ecological reserve and the surrounding real
the estate is home to the residential areas of Fastbluff, Dover Shores, and Westcliff.
Newport Beach Brewing Co.
Before the city’s incorporation, the county was “dry”. Some early petitions
were circulated but failed. After the city’s incorporation, one of
the first and most pressing city council agenda items was the issue of liquor.
The Board of Trustees narrowly voted to allow some liquor licenses in
the face of heavy lobbying by the Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
Before long, the city went “dry” again during the
prohibition years until the law’s repeal in 1933.
Today the city enjoys a variety of saloons and night clubs.
A favorite among beer aficionados and beer drinking
lay people alike, the Newport Beach Brewing Company offers a
variety of freshly brewed ales and lagers brewed on the premises.
Newport Beach was indeed a city which grew up fishing. Over the years,
things have changed though. The large nets have left their mark.
The legendary monstrous black sea bass and a variety of other fish
which once populated the area’s coastal waters are
survived only by the legacy of fishing tales.
Local fish canneries once canned ubiquitous supplies of tuna, sardines, and
mackerel. At its peak, the commercial mackerel fishing fleet reached 150 boats.
Newport Cannery, West Coast Packing, and Western Canners,
gave the small city enclave its Cannery Village name. The former
Western Canners is now home to the Cannery Restaurant.
Coast Newport Properties
Imagine a lot on Lido Isle for $795. The year was 1936. The popular phrase was
“Lido Isle, A Smart Address”. Today, some sixty years later, the price may be
different but the phrase still applies. Lido has certainly remained a “Smart Address’.
One of the true landmarks of Lido Village was the original Newport Balboa Savings
and Loan Association. Along with Richard’s Lido Market and Vincent’s Drugstore,
these three businesses were the start of village life in the city of Newport Beach.
Started in 1990 by Danny Bibb, Coast Newport Properties opened its first office
in Newport Beach. Today, the original Newport Balboa Savings and Loan Association
is now home to the second office of Coast Newport Properties. In these few
years, the company has come to be recognized as Orange County’s premier
residential brokerage firm with a strong presence in Newport Beach,
Corona del Mar, Laguna Beach and the Turtle Rock area of Irvine.
Nothing quite awakens the spirit like a stunning sunset over the ocean.
The vast mysteriousness of the open sea balanced by the awesome
unpredictability of the ever-changing colorful torrents of the sky can
humble the beholder’s perception of one’s own worldly existence.
The additional solitude the mariner feels immersed in privacy
creates an even greater ambiance of natural intimacy.
The “Crown of the Sea” wears many crown jewels of varied
cultural influence. The marvelous variety of residential architecture in
Corona del Mar punctuates the former village’s quaint charm.
From beachside cottages to Mediterranean-style estates, from French Country
to English Victorian, various designs co-exist in improbable aesthetic
harmony not seen in many places in the world.
Difficult as it may be to choose a typical Corona del Mar home, this home
nonetheless typifies a certain home owner pride common to most
of the area’s residences. Stunning vistas, ocean breezes, and
the occasional distant bark of sea lions set this neighborly part of
Newport Beach apart. The painting was commissioned by the
home’s owners Tom and Arabelle Brown.
Though the local year-round temperate climate along the coast includes little
change of season, the regional flora usher the coming of spring with splendid color.
Largely considered desert land reclaimed through irrigation, very few of the
area’s plants are indigenous; over eighty percent, including California’s
numerous species of palms, have been imported from temperate and
sub-tropical regions around the world.
Perhaps the best kept secret in Newport Beach, Little Corona
is accessed from a foot path at the corner of Ocean Boulevard
and Poppy Avenue. This smaller, more intimate beach lies hidden between steep bluffs. Changing tides create tide pools in the rocky waters to the south of the beach, providing a
favorite pastime for curious explorers.
Perhaps the best way to appreciate the harbor is from the aerial vantage
of the Fun Zone Ferris Wheel. An amusement ride and sightseeing tour wrapped in one, the classic structure evokes a sense of Americana and stands as a hallmark of the all-American Balboa skyline.
The Fun Zone’s original Ferris Wheel was built by Eli Bridge of Seattle in 1919. The site’s current wheel was built by the same manufacturer in 1985 and is an exact replica of the original.
From the wedge at the tip of the peninsula to the mouth of the Santa Ana River, Newport Beach offers body surfers, boogie boarders, and board surfers a vast playground for the young novice and seasoned professional alike. The cool Pacific waters and milder coastal temperatures are a welcome respite from the summer heat. During peek vacation season, “day trippers” escaping inland heat and tourists from afar join the local population to take in the pleasures of the reliable sun and surf.
Just up the coast from Inspiration Point and nestled above
Pirate’s Cove stands Lookout Point. From this vantage point, one can
capture an extraordinary panoramic view of the harbor, peninsula, ocean,
and Corona del Mar coastline. Clear days also provide a view of Catalina Island.
Legend has it pirates once buried treasures in caves in Corona del Mar.
Unfortunately, no hard evidence exists of either treasures or pirate
landings. Nevertheless, Pirate’s Cove is a hidden treasure all the same.
Corona del Mar Coast
Inspiration Point separates the rocky and treacherous coastline of Corona del Mar with the more forgiving strand of Main Beach. The appropriately named point is seductively inspiring and calming. the long-time favorite of lovers and picnic-goers. On the rocks beneath the point, a bronze statue of two seals commemorates the saving of Inspiration Point from development plans. Council person Braden Finch had assisted in the effort and his wife Kay later sculpted and donated the mother and baby seal in her husband’s honor after his death. The nearby homes perched atop the cliffs offer spectacular vistas and the soothing sound of the breaking surf.
In 1870, Captain Samuel S. Dunnells courageously navigated
his sternwheel river steamer Vaquero from the ocean to the upper bay.
Captain Dunnells, having successfully run the treacherous
gauntlet of the harbor in the face of Coast Survey warnings, unloaded
his cargo of building materials on the shores of the upper bay. Soon thereafter, he used the materials to build a wharf and warehouse near what is today the west end of the upper bay bridge and christened it Newport Landing. From 1870 to 1899, Newport Landing served as
a shipping port, where lumber, grain, farm produce and various merchandise was exchanged.
Today, a restaurant of the same name occupies a coveted boardwalk address near the ferry’s dock on the Balboa Peninsula. The restaurant offers fine dining, banquet rooms, and a somewhat less formal oyster bar upstairs with outside dining and a stunning panoramic view of the harbor and nearby hills. Patrons can sample a variety of menu selections including
the local catch and unwind with a favorite cocktail.
A bird’s eye view of Newport Beach as rendered from over
the Pacific illustrates the city’s intriguing and times
confusing geography. Separated by undeveloped coastline
and canyon lands lies the outskirts of Laguna Beach at the right.
The receding plains give way to the Santa Ana Mountains
predominated by Saddleback Mountain.
From luxury yachts to dinghies, the harbor is home and host to all sorts of watercraft. The area’s year-round cooperating climate provides boating enthusiasts an uninterrupted season on the seas. Navigational skills come in handy on postcard-perfect, summer days
when the harbor bustles with marine traffic.
The city’s first landmark, the Balboa Pavilion was built in 1905. The Victorian style, cupola-topped building stands as one of Orange County’s most recognizable structures. On the Fourth of July, 1906, the first Red Car of the Pacific Electric Railway reached the new Balboa Pavilion welcomed by a shower of fireworks. Originally built as a bath house, she has been a versatile host, ranging from gambling parlors to bowling alleys to an art museum. The subtly elegant architecture embodies her matriarch character as she watches over passing sail boats.
The pavilion is depicted here dressed in her sunset colors.
Balboa Island’s south bay front offers pavilion views and short strips of beach. The island’s off-season population of nearly 4,000 swells to nearly twice that amount in summer when tourists and cottage owners come to take in the island’s agreeable pace. The Balboa Pavilion
and Fun Zone create a backdrop for children passing time on the beach and fishers angling off the public pier.
If people watching is one of the favorite activities on Marine Ave., house watching must rank as one of the favorites for promenaders on the remainder of the island. Over the years, many of the
original homes of Balboa Island have given way to “progress”. Nevertheless, a significant aspect of the island’s charm still remains its old and varied cottages. Many of the cottages are
available for summer weekly rent and are highly coveted by family fun seeking vacationers.
Besides the ferry, the other means of reaching the island is by way of the Balboa Island Bridge. After descending along Jamboree Road toward the coast, the bridge ushers one onto the island before arriving at Marine Avenue. The avenue’s quaint boutiques and coffee houses are hallmarks of the island’s peaceful character. The neighborly atmosphere evokes friendly smiles among tourists and locals alike – an ideal window shopping and people watching environment.
Balboa Island Ferry
Ferry service permission was granted William Collins in 1909. After ten years of different operators and complaints of inadequate service, the city awarded a fifteen-year franchise to Joseph Beek to run the ferry. Initially, it carried pedestrian traffic only. By 1921, cars also
began to cross under Beck’s scrutiny.
Over the years, the ferryline remained in the Beek family and the maritime legacy endures today with a veritable armada of three rotating ferries in operation. For many visitors the brief ride often stands as their most lasting memory of the city.
Christmas Boat Parade
In 1908, Venetian gondolier John Scarpa left his gondoliering business in Venice, California for Balboa. In August of that year, Scarpa coordinated an illuminated parade of gondolas and canoes, called the Illuminated Water Parade. The parade has since gone through a series of name and thematic changes before evolving into the modern day Christmas Boat Parade.
The parade is held each night during the week preceding Christmas and is sponsored by the Commodores Club of the Newport Harbor Area Chamber of Commerce. Dozens of Christmas theme bedecked vachts navigate the crowded harbor to the delight of large crowds of spectators. An angelic participant is depicted here lining up for the start off Collins Island.
The Electra was built by famous boat architect, Ted Gary in Seattle, Washington in 1930. She was ordered by the owner of The Electric Company as a Valentine’s gift for his wife. Christened after the Greek goddess of light, the Electra has enjoyed her spot in the limelight over the decades. Among her distinguished guests include six U.S. presidents and a host of celebrities. She has also served as a set for a number of feature films and television episodes. The Electra is currently owned and operated by the Electra Cruises Inc. The elegant vessel accommodates 150 guests and is available for special events. The 104′ fantail yacht is depicted here passing the John Wayne estate.
Newport Harbor Nautical Museum
Renowned Newport architect and boating enthusiast William Blurock designed the Mississippi stern-wheeler restaurant, the Reuben E. Lee, in the early 1960s for restaurateur John Melntosh. Mclntosh began with a small snack shop in Corona del Mar before beginning the well-known chains of Reubens and Coco’s. The restaurant closed in 1995 and is now the home of the Newport Harbor Nautical Museum. Having outgrown its humble beginnings on the peninsula, the museum provides visitors the opportunity to explore the harbor’s historical treasures and artifacts aboard a true harbor treasure in and of itself.
The narrow stretch of harbor between Balboa Island’s south bav front and the mainland near Promontory Point glistens in the waning sunlight. The Balboa Island Bridge provides an ideal vantage point to capture the creative brilliance of skies awash in the colors of the setting sun.
Rick Sherman in Session
Leaving behind a career interest in psychology, Rick Sherman left Kansas City to follow his musical dream. Lured by the promise of a friend who was in contact with ex-band members of the Doors, Sherman arrived in Southern California with a Rock ‘n Roll dream in mind. His passion persevered over the years to build a strong following for his musical entertainment which supplements his full-time profession as a composer of music for video and film post-production.
The painting shown here was reproduced in July of 1995 as a limited edition lithograph in honor of the musician’s 17th, and final, anniversary of entertaining at the Village Inn on Balboa Island.
Dory Fishing Fleet
Old timers will tell you the catch has changed over the years but the location of the dory fishing fleet is one of the city’s most loyal mainstays. With the exception of a mandated interruption of business during W.W.II, dory fishers have launched from the base of the Newport Pier since the establishment of the fleet in 1891. Not much has changed over the century. The fish is still caught daily and sold beachside next to McFadden Square.
One of the early cornerstones of the village of Balboa, the Balboa Pier was once used primarily as a wharf to launch boats to fishing barges. Storms exacted a toll on the early construction and the pier was rebuilt by the city in 1940. Today, the boat launches are reserved for the lore of yesteryear but fishers still come to the pier to cast a lime. The original Ruby’s Diner is located at the end of the pier, famous for its classic American dining ambiance.
James McFadden came to the area from Santa Ana in the 1880s with dreams of creating a large port. McFadden Wharf, completed in 1888, was the first significant project undertaken in this vain. Freight and passenger vessels could embark and disembark at the end of the wharf and by 1891 a railroad extended from Santa Ana to the end of the wharf.
A “new port” had indeed been born.
In 1922, the city bought the structure and rebuilt it as a pier without railroad tracks. This added to the popularity of the pier as a fishing destination. Like the Balboa Pier, Newport Pier was destroyed in the great storm of 1939 and rebuilt the following year. With the harbor entrance now secure, boats could board in relative calm of the harbor compared to the bouncy ocean landings and the piers were destined to become saluting monuments to the history of the peninsula and the development of the city.
The boardwalk was originally built of wooden boards to allow pedestrians to walk between Newport and Balboa villages. Today, the boardwalk is neither board nor predominated by walkers. A concrete sidewalk was built in its place in 1936 and now provides the beach going
crowd the opportunity to see and be seen. In the summer, crowds of seemingly destinationless cyclists and in-line skaters fill the boardwalk in a parade of Southern Californian beach fads and fashions. “Surfin’ good food since 1963”, The Stuft Surfer Cafe is a favorite stop along the way.
Balboa Yacht Club
Newport Harbor boasts no less than eight yacht clubs. Newport Harbor Yacht Club was first on the scene followed by the Southland Sailing Club. The name was later changed to the Balboa Yacht Club perched across from Little Balboa Island on Bayside Drive in Corona del Mar.
BYC established the Governor’s Cup, the Sixty Six series, and the Beer Can Regatta. A familiar vantage point for members, the club’s bar offers perhaps the best sunset view on the city’s bay.
Main Beach is the epicenter of Corona del Mar’s beach life. The subtly arching shoreline, partially protected by the team of jetties, is an accommodating playground for the summer crowds. As the sun begins to set, the beach’s fire pits become the main attraction as families
and friends congregate for evening cookouts and marshmallow roasts.