Belmont Shore, a distinct area of Long Beach, stretches
along 2nd Street and Ocean Avenue on the southern most end of the city.
It has its own shopping district, business association, pier and recreation
center with the landmark Belmont Pool where an Olympic gold medalist has
taught swim lessons for years. Several thousand residents consider
this quaint and quirky community a city unto itself and at one time, it
actually was a separate city.
In 1906, it took shape as the fastest growing subdivision
in Long Beach and was called Belmont Heights. Originally designed as an
Italian-styled city running along canals, developers Frank Shaw & George
C. Flint scrapped plans because of cost and logistics. Another nearby community,
Naples, did become the Italian styled village, offering houses on canals,
a promenade with a large fountain and even gondoliers.
All Belmont wanted was a pier. In 1908, angry residents
of Belmont Heights voted to become the City of Belmont. Fed up over high
taxes imposed by the City of Long Beach, they decided they could do better
on their own. During its brief period as a city, Belmont determined that
its residents could not afford what they wanted even more than tax reductions.
So just one year later they voted to rejoin Long Beach with the understanding
a pier would be built. Belmont got its pier in 1915 and the charming community
built its lifestyle around its prized possession and sandy beaches surrounding
The current pier was built in 1966, replacing a wooden
pier that stood for over 50 years. The 1,620 foot-long concrete pier has
experienced structural damage and needs revamping. New restrooms will be
added to the mid section of the pier and enhancements such as lighting
and electrical updating is expected to bring more activity to the region.
The pier is located at Ocean and 39th Place. It offers
free public fishing with no license required as long as you stay
on the pier to fish. Pay parking is available in a public lot near the
base of the pier.
Pull up a beach chair on late Wednesday afternoons
to watch the Long Beach Yacht Club’s sailboat races along Belmont Shore.
A wall painting on 2nd Street is one example of the mural and shadow
art which is best seen on foot. Long Beach Yacht Club: (562) 598-9401
Enjoy ice cream: Sit and watch people walk by the Rite
Aid store or wander down 2nd Street to see the red brick firehouse.
Located at 5365 East Second Street, Fire Station No. 8 is an historic
structure which represents the expansion of city services to the neighborhood
of Belmont in a combined fire and police facility.
Opened as the Belmont Fire and Police substation on August
1, 1929, it housed two fire platoons. The police substation, the first
in the city, opened the following month. The Italian Renaissance Revival
style evidenced here occurs throughout the twenties as one of several popular
"period revival" styles. Its use as late as the late twenties indicates
a conservative choice for a public building, and one that blends in well
with its surrounding neighborhood. The red tile roof is an explicit Mediterranean
This landmark is part of a collection of small-scale period
revival commercial buildings on Second Street, and relates to homes in
the surrounding neighborhood characterized by Mediterranean-styled homes.
It is an established and familiar visual landmark of Belmont Shore due
to its architectural character and to its corner location at the east end
of the Second Street commercial strip Classic architecture: You'll have no difficulty finding the sports club. Just
look for the art on the building pictured below- right. Both are visible
just a few steps from bustling 2nd Street.
The seaside character of Belmont
Heights along with the popularity of the newly built Craftsman Bungalows
and glorious Spanish homes caused investors to sit up and take notice.
Two developers named McGrath and Selover were impressed with the popularity
of Naples and the Heights and were certain they could not lose when
they created Belmont Shore.
Originally named Belmont Shore Place,
it began in 1920 and continued to feed the desires of hungry home buyers
who sought the popular Spanish and Period Revival
bungalows. Though lots were slightly smaller, the homes were located on
the shore of Long Beach’s "Wonder Beach". The largest one-day car show on the West Coast, the Belmont
Car Show normally runs in September and that features approximately
1,000 cars on display, including antiques, classics, customs, convertibles,
Belmont Pier is pictured above, scanning
from northwest to due west: Long Beach skyline beyond a lifeguard
tower; distant views of San Pedro, Queen Mary Ship
and the white dome of the former Spruce Goose facility.