Dedication of the Manhattan Beach City Hall coincided with the Bicentennial celebration of the founding of the nation. But if we turned back the clock 200 years in this area, much would be recognizable. A broad sand dune ran the length of tile city, melding into hills in the east. There were no roads, no houses, no trees, no telegraph lines; motion came from the waves on Bay and the fluttering of birds in low-lying areas, which were swampy part of the year. On the southern edge of the city was an Indian burial ground used by aborigines living in a Redondo village called “Chowig-na,” and Indian trails traversed the area. No people of European descent had seen Manhattan Beach, though the Portola expedition from Mexico had explored inland areas, and the Spanish missions were under construction.
Even a hundred-year span brought few changes to the region. During the nation’s Centennial in 1875-76, Manhattan Beach remained uninhabited sand hills and slopes covered only by purple wild verbena and scrub brush. Hunters, fishermen, and clam diggers had begun to make the trip from Los Angeles so a few beach cottages had been built. The first settler of Manhattan most likely was a legendary Col. Thomas Duncan, a former Virginia plantation owner, who built a large home and pier at about First Street, and probably made his fortune by smuggling. (His long-vacant home burned in 1927.) In 1875 the city was part of the ten-mile ocean frontage of Rancho Sausal Redondo, owned by the Avila family. That year the United States government upheld the Avilas’ half-century-old Mexican land grant.
Rancho Sausal Redondo had many owners; the last was Daniel Freeman, a former Canadian. The eastern section of Manhattan was part of a vast agricultural area, used first as a cattle ranch, then for dry [land] farming. The main dirt road between Los Angeles and the Redondo salt-works roughly paralleled Aviation Boulevard.
Original homes in Manhattan were little more than wooden summer cottages. Water was piped from wells on Highland Avenue at 10th Street and 16th Street, but service was poor, and enterprising youngsters earned pocket-money making hand deliveries by bucket. Sewage was disposed through clay pipes that ran to cesspools at the end of each street. The first lighting consisted of four acetylene lamps mounted on 10-foot poles on Center Street at Manhattan Avenue and the Strand. Later, the Pacific Electric supplied electricity, and ornamental electric lights were constructed along the Strand, Center St., Highland Ave., and Marine Ave. Some of these lights functioned for 50 years, and the ornate standards were symbols of the architecture of Early Manhattan Beach.
Manhattan Beach Current Homes Values Manhattan Beach Today
A lot has changed in Manhattan Beach homes for sale since the late 1800’s. Manhattan Beach real estate today is a vibrant upscale community of primarily young professionals located right on the beach, in the western part of Los Angeles and just 5 miles from the Los Angeles Airport.
Manhattan Beach real estate and home values is currently divided into 4 neighborhoods; The Sand Section, The Hill Section, The Tree Section, and East Manhattan. Prices start as low as $700,000 and go upwards of $12,000,000. Within this upscale beach community mixed with fine art, incomparable dining, a nationally televised AVP Volleyball Tournament, International Surf Festival, and modern shopping malls all in a family atmosphere and community.
Manhattan Beach Unified High School has enjoyed a consistent graduation rate of 97 percent. In 2011 it ranked in the top 1.3 percent of high schools in Califonria with a AP score of 911. The high school has over 600 students in excess of 18 advanced placement courses.
Manhattan Beach real estate values are collectively some of the highest per square foot in the nation. No longer a sleepy little beach community it now enjoys a robust economy and residents present a younger, professional and more dynamic image from all walks of life with homeownership in excess of 68 percent.
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Based on information from California Regional Multiple Listing Service, Inc. as of September 24, 2023 12:39AM and/or other sources. All data, including all measurements and calculations of area, is obtained from various sources and has not been, and will not be, verified by broker or MLS. All information should be independently reviewed and verified for accuracy. Properties may or may not be listed by the office/agent presenting the information.