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A History Lesson on 4th Street

Mar 16, 2016 04:05PM ● By Jeanne Fratello

A view uphill on 4th Street toward original homes on the 200 block.

Walking down the 200 block of 4th Street in Manhattan Beach, you get just a glimpse of what life was like in the early part of the 20th century when tiny beach bungalows lined the streets.

The street is about to undergo changes for the first time in many decades now that 229 and 235 4th St have recently sold and are about to be torn down.

The Manhattan Beach Historical Society's James Gill (director of the Pioneer group), has created a video documenting the history of the street with former Manhattan Beach Mayor Russ Lesser.

Lesser grew up at 229 4th Street, which was purchased by Lesser's grandparents in 1917 for "the whopping price of $1,000."

Lesser and his family recently made the decision to sell the house. "It's emotional," said Lesser in the video, "but it was time for us to sell it and take a lot of stress out of life."

Lesser describes how Manhattan Beach used to be a town filled with "beach shacks," mostly second homes, where people from wealthier towns like Pasadena, Inglewood, Hawthorne, Compton, or Westchester would come for the summer.

"Everyone talks about the good old days, but I was here. The 'good old days' were little beach shacks, mainly second homes. Half the people moved away in the winter...leaving the poor folks to live in their beach shacks. Half my friends I'd play with in the summer would move away. It was an entirely different town," said Lesser. "Now Manhattan Beach is the place to live, and that's how times have changed."

You can find the whole video, via the Manhattan Beach Historical Society and James Gill, on YouTube here, or scroll down the page to see an embedded version.

For the latest news and events from the Manhattan Beach Historical Society, follow them onĀ Facebook.

Manhattan Beach 4th St. History

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