Exhibitions and Events
In 1913, the first group to perform lifesaving work in Newport Beach was formed and named for Lowell C. Frost, who lost his wife and son in a Newport Bay drowning accident. Dr. Frost presented the Fire Department with a Pulmotor Resuscitator in their memory. In 1923, the Frost Life Saving Corps was organized to utilize it under the direction of Captain Antar Deraga. The county had previously hired Deraga to man a weather station on the cliffs of Corona del Mar. From a cottage, he commanded a view of the harbor entrance and used a system of lights and flags to signal boats about weather and surf conditions. Through the 1920s, dories, buoys, and resuscitation were the primary tools of lifeguards. While preferred, the ability to swim was not a requirement for early guards.
For over a century, brave men and women have guarded over 40 miles of ocean and bay shoreline in Newport Beach. Their unselfish dedication saved countless lives and makes them true heroes in the eyes of our citizens and visitors.
The life and times of William S. Collins – creator and developer of Balboa Island. Follow the footsteps of an 1890’s entrepreneur who was involved in building, land development, real estate, oil exploration, mining, banking and more.
Riverside, CA Years. Riverside, CA Years While in Riverside Collins became involved in the citrus industry and real estate development. At the time the citrus industry in Riverside was an important growth industry as growers were able to ship navel oranges east in iced (refrigerated) railroad cars. The 1890’s found Riverside to be one of the wealthiest cities in the country.
ant growth industry as growers were able to ship navel oranges east in iced (refrigerated) railroad cars. The 1890’s found Riverside to be one of the wealthiest cities in the country.
On July 1, 1966, the K-12 Newport-Mesa Unified School District formed with the unification of the Costa Mesa Union School District, the Newport Beach City School District and the Newport Harbor Union High School District. It currently serves 32 schools, and 22,000 students, in Newport Beach, Corona del Mar and Costa Mesa.
In 1919 Joseph Alen Beek obtained the rights from the city of Newport Beach to provide a ferry service across the Newport Harbor between Balboa Island and the Balboa Peninsula. Before starting the ferry service Beek owned The Ark. The Arkconsisted of a giant rowboat with a small engine which Beek used as his first ferry vessel. The Ark carried oars in the event of engine failure. There was no regularly scheduled service and customers telephoned Beek when they needed a ride across the harbor.
In 1919 Beek charged a nickel (5 cents) per person. Three years after commencing operation, Beek built the Fat Ferry. This vessel held twenty passengers. Beek later built a small one car barge which the Fat Ferry pushed across in front of it.
In the 1950s Beek built three double-ended wooden boats for his ferry service: the Admiral, the Commodore, and the Captain.These three boats are still in service and have transported over two million persons. Each ferry holds three cars and 75 people. As of 2007, the Beek family charges $1 per adult, $2 per vehicle, $.50 for children ages 5–11, $1.25 for adults on bikes, $.75 for children on bikes, and $1.50 for motorcycles. Children under the age of 5 are free.
The ferry boats need constant maintenance but this does not usually interrupt the ferry service. For two weeks in 2008 the ferry service shut down for an extended period, for the first time in 50 years, to rebuild the automobile ramp leading to the boats.
Currently, Beek’s three sons run the business and it has been in the family for close to 100 years.
To learn more about this pioneer family, read Carroll Beek’s oral history and see Seymour Beek’s family album. We also recommend Balboa Island Yarns, written by Joseph Beek in 1950 for more details.
Joseph Allan Beek, while still a student at Pasadena City College, was enchanted with the area, and became one of Collins’ salesmen. Joe Beek played a crucial role in the development of Balboa Island and spent a lifetime devoted to it. In 1919, Joe got the first contract for a ferry between the Island and Balboa Peninsula. In 1920, the first car was pushed across the bay (for 10 cents). In 1922, Joe Beek got a 15-year franchise, using the ferry boat “Joker”, which could hold two cars. That franchise has continued to this day, with three 64 ft (20 m) boats, named “Admiral,” “Captain,” and “Commodore,” that can each carry three vehicles. Beek later became Secretary of the California State Senate, where he served until his death in 1968.
The creation and extension of the two Newport Harbor jetties altered the area around them in three important ways- they tamed the Harbor entrance, blocked the wave action to Big Corona Beach and created “The Wedge” at the eastern tip of the Balboa Peninsula. Only the most experienced surfers can conquer the shore break and strong backwash at the Wedge during a strong southern swell. Large crowds form to thrill at the sight of skilled bodysurfers skimming through waves up to 30-feet tall.
PLAN YOUR VISIT
The New Balboa Island Museum pays homage to the island so many of us know, love and call home – and a place that continues to capture the imaginations and hearts of visitors the world over.
Hours of Operation: Monday – Thursday 10am to 5pm, Friday – Sunday 10am to 6pm
Admission: Free general admission on all days. We gladly accept cash donations!
Ask about our Kids Scavenger Hunt!
Parking: Two hour parking is available on Marine Ave. You can park in the surrounding neighborhood for the extended day.
949.675.3952 or email@example.com
Balboa Island has long been one of the most popular destination for Orange County residents and visitors, alike. Now, since the grand opening of the New Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society on November 30, 2018, locals and tourists can experience Balboa as never before, with an entertaining and in-depth look at the rich and storied history of this beloved island.
Originally founded in 2000 in a much smaller space a few blocks away, The Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society – now located in a historic building at 210 Marine Avenue – has nearly tripled in size. The new facility allows for expaneded exhibits, new collections and other amenities, including a children’s interactive zone and space for community gatherings and events.
The Museum’s new home, at 210 Marine Ave., was first developed in 1927 as “Richardson’s Yacht Club Garage,” for boat repair and boat storage. Throughout its years, the building has housed a temporary fire department (1927-31), the lab for California Vitamins, Inc. (AKA: Nutrilite, 1937-1939), a series of locally owned hardware stores (1942-1979) the famous Original Balboa Beach Company (1984 – 1998) and the beloved Art for the Soul (1998 – 2018).
OUR Mission and Vision Statement
To collect, preserve and promote the culture and history of Balboa Island and Newport Beach.
Inspiring our community. A place to gather. Celebrating our heritage.
Board of Directors
Jo Ellen Heck
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