Introduction to Redondo Beach, California
The California city of Redondo Beach is located in the coastal edge of Los Angeles County, about 22 miles from downtown Los Angeles and only seven miles south of Los Angeles International Airport. Known as one of the nation's premiere surfing cities, Redondo Beach is one of the three Beach Cities of Southern California's South Bay (the others being Hermosa Beach and Manhattan Beach). Neighboring cities further inland include Torrance (to the east) and Gardena (to the northeast).
Once part of the huge 43,000-acre Dominguez Rancho, Redondo Beach became a community shortly after the land was purchased by a development company in 1885. Incorporated as a city in 1892, Redondo Beach quickly became a prime tourist destination boosted by the opening in 1890 of the luxurious Hotel Redondo. As the first port of Los Angeles County, Redondo Beach was visited regularly by steamers from the Pacific Steamship Company which were soon joined by regular rail traffic from the Redondo Railway Company and the Santa Fe Railroad. The early part of the 20th century saw a slow decline in Redondo's popularity caused by the opening and growing prominence of the San Pedro Harbor. During the Depression years, big time gambling accompanied by associated mobsters and shooting incidents, found its way to the city in the form of gambling ships, casinos, and bingo parlors. By mid-century, prosperity returned and the city experienced a huge population boom in the 1950s and '60s. Redondo Beach today is still known as a tourist and resort town.
Redondo Beach Attractions
Known as the birthplace of modern surfing, Redondo Beach is home to the George Freeth Memorial. The Memorial honors Freeth, the young Hawaiian-Irish athlete hired in 1907 by land baron Henry Huntington to demonstrate the ancient Hawaiian art of surfing for the entertainment of Redondo Beach visitors. George exhibited his surfing prowess daily, and in later years entered swimming, diving and water polo competitions before becoming Southern California's first official lifeguard. Freeth later went on to organize and train professional lifeguards and won a Carnegie and a Congressional medal for saving the lives of a boat of stranded fishermen in Santa Monica Bay. Other historic sites include the Old Historic Pier, which also serves as a popular destination for sport fishing, dining, shopping and entertainment; the Redondo Beach Historical Museum, which houses local artifacts, photos and memorabilia chronicling the city's rich history as both a port of call and popular seaside resort; and Historic Riviera Village. Performing arts in the city can be found at the Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center, a 1,457-seat venue which is home to the Civic Light Opera of South Bay Cities, the largest producing musical theatre company in Southern California.