Author Chris Epting has again written a fabulous record of life in pictures of Huntington Beach as it was then and is today. Combing the closets of many longtime resident to bring forth never before seen photographs of poeple and places that are not here anymore.
The photos above shows one of two 1906 churches still standing in Huntington Beach, the other is the Baptist church at the corner of Gothard Street and Warner Avenue with its original 1910 parsonage.
Scenes around the historic Huntington Beach Pier remind visitor of the past of the fun they had coming down to Huntington Beach as a child or young adult. In the second chapter of this fine book, Epting shows some of the businesses that were located in and around downtown Main Street. Notice the signs above Jack's Surfboards in the 1980s photo, these were painted by Bethel Ethridge, who did many of the hand lettered signs in the downtown area.
He has interviewed several residents that have lived in the community such as Billie Kennedy, who has called Huntington Beach home since the 1930s and Shirley Shaver (pictured below) who too has lived in Huntington Beach in the 1930 and remembers the big earthquake of March 1933 and the impact it had on the lives of the people here.
Many of the photos date from the 1970s and 80s and show the impact that redevelopment has done to the downtown business community. The contrast of a small beach town of yesterday and the big city image of Surf City is firmly captured in these photos.
But like some books on history, a few inaccuracies do pop up in his book. Epting states that the old City Hall was located near Main and Orange, when it actually sat on Orange between Fifth and Sixth Streets. On the next page he incorrectly identifies one of the people standing by the new 1941 traffic signal at Ocean Avenue (PCH) and Main Street.
From left to right are Leo J. Jennings, traffic control engineer of the Econolite Company, the designer of the signal, Barbara Chamness, daughter of City Councilman Lee Chamness, Perry "Slim" Huddle, city electrician, and Chief of Police Don Blossom.
One other inaccuracy Epting makes is that he states that the old Carnegie Library was located at Walnut and Third, but the Carnegie actually stood from 1913 to 1951 at the corner of Walnut and Eighth.
But even with these minor inaccuracies, Huntington Beach: Then and Now is a must have book for any one who remembers Huntington Beach before it became Surf City.
Chris Epting is a 9-year Huntington Beach resident and lives with his wife and two children.
Huntington Beach: Then and Now, $19.99, Arcadia Publishing. Available June 16, 2008 at local bookstores, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or (888) 313-2665.