Parque Culiacan, Manhattan Beach, California

Photos by William Cooper, text by Mark R. Hatlie

These pictures were taken on September 17, 2005. I blogged some comments on it in 2010 at the Sites of Memory blog.

This park is located in my home town of Manhattan Beach, California. Since research done by local high school teacher and activist Bob Brigham in the 1960s, it has been known that the city got the land for this park by using eminent domain laws to evict four black families in the 1920s. I am still doing some research into the history of this marker, which was put up in 2003, so my comments (see bottom) are still somewhat speculative and very general.

This picture shows the park with the Pacific Ocean in the background. It is prime real estate today.
Here is the park from the beach side, looking up the hill to the east.
The park was recently re-done with new benches and this new sign.
Upon closer inspection, the sign turns out to be an historical marker of no small signifigance for the city. The plaque reads:
Formerly the site of Bruce's Beach, a resort for African American Angelenos. This two-block neighborhood also housed several minority families and was condemned through eminent domain proceedings commenced in 1924. Those tragic circumstances reflected the views of a different time.
Named Bayview Terrace Park in 1962 through a community contest. Prior to that time, the land was referred to as City Park and Beach Front Park.
Designated Parque Culiacan on March 16, 1974 at the time of a visit from representatives of our first sister city.
Parque Culiacan commemorates our community's journey to the understanding that friendship, goodwill and respect for all begins within our own boundaries and extends to the world community.
Signed and donated by the Leadership Manhattan Beach Class of 2003
This message is rather cryptic. George Peck was an important figure in early Manhattan Beach history; there is a street named after him. What it means that he sold the land, "for minorities", I am not quite sure. But for the next 10 years or more, the land was used by African Americans.

To get another view of the marker, go to the City of Manhattan Beach's Parks and Recreation page.


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