Boundaries: Pacific Coast Highway and Clark Avenue, Atherton Street and Bellflower Boulevard
Tract 14673 was initially laid out for single-family homes along Anaheim Road, but a deal was made between Lloyd Whaley and the brand new Los Angeles-Orange County State College in early 1949 that turned the focus on building mostly apartments instead. Though the new college campus was to be developed on land donated by the Bixby-Bryant family east of Bellflower Boulevard, there was an immediate need for temporary college facilities until the campus could be designed and constructed. Thus, Whaley arranged to have the apartment buildings built instead. Some apartments were converted into classrooms, while others were used to house the students and faculty. The first temporary college buildings on the campus weren’t completed and ready for use until the fall semester of 1951. However, students still rented these apartments and continue to do so to this day. Today Park Estates is known, much like its name, for the large estates contained within its borders. But locals shouldn’t forget, before Park Estates became a “luxury oasis” in the heart of the city, it was actually CSU Long Beach, or rather Long Beach State College.
University Park Estates
Boundaries: 7th Street and Lyones Drive, E. Studebaker and W. Channel Drives
Known among the locals as simply “The Hole,” University Park Estates was originally named College Park Estates. However, when California State College at Long Beach, which borders the neighborhood, changed its name to California State University, Long Beach, the name of the adjacent community changed with it. Its nickname “The Hole” derives from the entrance off Seventh Street and the steep descent of Margo Avenue into the neighborhood. This track, that has only three entrances, contains around 450 or so homes and was built in 1961 by S & S Construction.
Willmore...the beginnings of Long Beach City
Willmore City/Drake Park was the first historic district declared by the city. The neighborhood was settled in the 1880s, after William Willmore, an English schoolteacher, struck a deal with a local rancher on the land. Although the area never developed into the "American Colony" seaside resort Willmore envisioned, it was the genesis of what later became Long Beach.
During the early 1900s, Willmore City became the prime residential district of Long Beach. It began to decline, however, in the years after World War II, when the city expanded eastward.
By 1978, the boundaries were Fourth Street to 12th Street and Loma Vista Drive to Pacific Avenue. It contains the highest concentration of late 19th and early 20th century homes in the city. Victorian, Craftsman, Mission, Prairie, Italian Renaissance and Spanish Colonial Revival styles are all represented.
Drake Park, originally called Knoll Park in 1904 when it was annexed, was named for Colonel Charles Drake who developed the Pike and the Virginia Hotel in 1905-06. According to the Press Telegram, Drake served in the Union’s Mississippi River Squadron. Later, he moved to the Arizona Territory where he conducted a general insurance, brokerage and real estate business and amassed a fortune that would allow him a comfortable retirement in Southern California. He arrived in town the same year that Willmore died. While Willmore lacked the wherewithal to build his city of dreams, Drake began buying massive chunks of the city –
40 acres on Signal Hill, 13 city blocks in Long Beach and 630 beachfront lots.
Drake used his relationship with the railroads, helping to connect Long Beach with Los Angeles. On July 4, 1902, the Pacific Electric Railroad line opened, bringing 60,000 people into the area. Thousands slept on the beach that night in the small town that didn’t have sufficient lodging for a crowd that size.
Boundaries: 405 Freeway and Pacific Coast Highway, Long Beach Boulevard and the Los Angeles River
The Wrigley District was named for . . . you guessed it . . . chewing-gum magnate William S. Wrigley, Jr., who developed the original two-block area of Spanish Colonial Revival style homes between 1928 and 1934. It was one of the first communities established in Long Beach. Wrigley did not buy any further property in the city, but his moniker stayed with the area as developers saw the marketing potential of the famous name.