From Oil Town to Surf City, USA

Huntington Beach Rides a Wave of Change!

 Huntington Beach oil wells - blue

 Written by SurfWriter Girls Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel

 Huntington Beach, named for railroad magnate and real estate developer Henry Huntington, has come a long way from its tiny, coastal farming roots and 1920s oil boom days. Wintersburg farm workers 1900s Wintersburg early 1900s celery fields

The little SoCal town of less than 2,000 people tripled its population almost overnight when oil was discovered in the 20s, turning the sandy beaches into fields of oil wells pumping black gold. oil wells Huntington BeachA Historic Huntington Beach oil 1920 Holly-Oil-stock-certificate For the next half century oil would define the city until Orange County’s population growth and the increasing popularity of a sport called surfing transformed the city once more. HB Land for sale billboard

tandem surfing by bait shop

VW at HB 1960s

With the arrival of Gordon Duane’s Gordie’s Surfboard Shop – the first in the city – in 1956, followed by the 60s surf music sounds of Jan and Dean and The Beach Boys, HB was well on its way to becoming Surf City, USA.      DSC03615 The beach would change, reflecting its new identity.

surf city DSC04009 DSC04005

 The boards would change – from long to short and from wood to polyurethane.

paddling on surfboards

Longboards at HB

The bathing suits would definitely change.

bathing beauty on sand

woman in bikini with surfboard

girl in bathing suit 1950s

But, the joy of surfing, once ignited, was here to stay in America’s surfing capital.

girls by surfboard

Surf’n Beach Scene Magazine

SurfWriter Girls

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Sunny Magdaug and Patti Kishel hold the exclusive rights to this copyrighted material. Publications wishing to reprint it may contact them at surfwriter.girls@gmail.com Individuals and non-profit groups are welcome to post it on social media sites as long as credit is given.

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