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Postcards from the Past: Redondo Beach
By Brian Holland   - 03/02/2006

The Beach Reporter

Mary Ann Keating, left, writer of the Historical Commission’s new book of old post cards, and Patricia Dreizler, chairman of the commission, look at the recently published book. (photo by Drew Holland
Want to know what the old Hotel Redondo looked like? Or how about the original pier?

Then pick up a copy of the Historical Commission's new book of old post cards. “Redondo Beach” features more than 100 pages of pictures taken between 1880 and 1930. In it are scenes of the bathhouse, the beaches and many of the other things that made the city a popular turn-of-the-century destination. The book is on sale at the Redondo Beach Historical Museum and its authors will be on hand this weekend to sign copies from noon to 4 p.m. It costs $20 and all proceeds go to the museum.
The book is the brainchild of Patricia Dreizler, chairman of the Historical Commission and a 50-year resident of the city.

“We could not have done it without her knowledge of the city,” said Mary Ann Keating, past chairman of the commission and writer of the book.

Dreizler said she had seen other historical post card books and was receiving a lot of requests for one on Redondo Beach.

Keating, who has lived in the city for 41 years, said they planned the book for about five months.

“Then we got busy,” said Dreizler.

Along with the rest of the commission, the two women began gathering stacks and stacks of post cards that showed the old city.

“I've collected for a long time because I've always wished it still looked like that,” said Dreizler.

One night, the commission stayed up late sorting through them all and deciding which ones should go in the book.

Then Dreizler and Keating began putting it together. Keating, a former reporter for the Los Angeles Times, wrote the captions for the post cards. Dreizler functioned as the editor because of her extensive local knowledge.

“We're a very complementary team,” said Dreizler. “As far as ideas, it was a constant tossing of a beach ball back and forth.”

“So when the last page was done, it was done,” added Keating.

In the last weeks before it was finished, the women sometimes spent as many as 18 hours a day working on the book.

The two chose to focus on turn-of-the-century post cards because of the historical significance of that period.

“That was the heyday of Redondo,” said Keating. “The place was jammed every weekend.”

Instead of arranging the post cards chronologically, the women divided them into themes because they thought it would be clearer for the reader. Among the sections is one entitled Grand Occasions, which Keating said she particularly likes. It features photos of Theodore Roosevelt's Great White Fleet as it docks in the harbor, along with other important events in the city's history. Other sections focus on the boom of the town and the various forms of recreation that existed.

Although the city is not the great weekend attraction it once was, Dreizler said it has not exactly slipped from its former glory.

“I'm not sure it slipped,” she said. “Everything else grew up. I still think Redondo is still part small town and part sophistication.”

Why should people be interested in the book? Keating said it is important to know your local history.

“It's the old cliché, you don't know where you are going unless you know where you came from,” said Keating.

All of the proceeds from the book will go to the Redondo Beach Historical Museum. The women said they want to create a casual seating area, buy some lace curtains and improve some other aspects of the building.

The book signing is this Saturday and Sunday at the museum from noon to 4 p.m. It will correspond to the grand opening of the Morrell House Saturday at 2 p.m. Both buildings are located in Heritage Court on 200 Flagler Lane between Beryl and 190th streets.

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