Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A trip down Memory Lane

Tom Jacobsen of Jacobsen Pilot Services watches an artist add his entry to the Memory Lane wall at the Port's 100th Birthday Party.
At the Port's 100th Birthday Party last month on Pier E, one of the most interesting exhibits was our Memory Lane area, which was sponsored by Gensler. There, people with memories of the Port to share could leave a note on the wall or draw something themselves; they also could share their memories and stories with artists who turned those stories into a series of text and drawings.

If you missed the birthday party or just didn't get a chance to take a look at Memory Lane during the festivities, you can get an up close look here at some of the art. Just click here to see a photo gallery; we recommend you click the "full-screen" button in the lower-right corner of the gallery so you can see the art up close.

Adding a note to the Memory Lane wall.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Port's highest honor

President Dwight Eisenhower receives one of the inaugural Honorary Port Pilot Awards in 1954.

Since 1954, the Port of Long Beach has recognized extraordinary contributions to the world of international trade with the Honorary Port Pilot Award. The port's highest honor is named for the harbor port pilots who are entrusted to safely guide cargo ships in and out of the port.

The first group of awardees in '54 included President Dwight Eisenhower, Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie, California Gov. Goodwin Knight and the secretaries of the Navy and Interior.

Awards over the years have gone to notables like the Prime Minister of Japan, President Ronald Reagan, and many other elected and appointed officials. Closer to home, three executive directors of the Port have been honored, and also Capt. J.A. Jacobsen and Richard Jacobsen of Jacobsen Pilot Service, the only father and son to receive the awards.

This year, the award is going to Jon F. Hemingway, CEO of SSA Marine. You can read more about his award here, and you'll find a complete list of recipients at our Port Pilot page.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Miss Universe Pageant

Harbor Commissioner John P. Davis with Miss Universe Hillevi Rombin of Sweden at Disneyland's Golden Horseshoe Revue, Nov. 8, 1955.
The Miss Universe Pageant? What does the Port of Long Beach have to do with a beauty pageant? Well, the Port for many years has been heavily involved in sponsoring major civic institutions and events -- today the Port sponsors the July 4 fireworks, the Long Beach Sea Festival, the Grand Prix, and literally dozens of other festivities and programs, large and small, throughout Long Beach.

In 1952, one of the newest and biggest civic events was the Miss Universe Pageant, which was first held here at the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium (Armi Kuusela of Finland won the title, and the Miss USA Pageant was held at the same time). Miss Universe held eight pageants in Long Beach before moving to Miami for a long stint; now the ceremony moves among the participating countries.

The Port of Long Beach Miss Universe float, 1955.
Naturally as a civic supporter the Port did its utmost to boost the contest; it ran a float in the annual Miss Universe parade along Ocean Boulevard and hosted the contestants on harbor cruises, at Disneyland and at various events around town. In fact, after Miss Universe left the Port continued to host contestants in the International Beauty Congress competition -- you can see a photo of some of them feeding the sea lions at Pierpoint Landing here.

The Port archives don't have any photos of the ceremonies (although there's a lot of film on YouTube of crownings), but the other events offer great snapshots of Ocean Boulevard, early days at Disneyland and of course some glimpses of 1950s fashion. Enjoy!

You can read more about Miss Universe here.

See a photo gallery of Miss Universe and the Port here.

The 1955 parade rides past "The Seven Year Itch" playing at the Fox West Coast on Ocean.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Soap, shortening and more

The Procter & Gamble plant on what's now Pier C.

A mainstay of manufacturing at the Port of Long Beach for over 55 years was the Procter & Gamble plant, which opened in 1931 on the Seventh Street Peninsula. A couple of years earlier, the same piece of land was the site of the Pacific Southwest Exposition.

A mound of copra is stored at the P&G facility.
From 1931 until the plant closed in 1988, workers there produced familiar products like Ivory soap, Tide and Cascade detergents, Crisco shortening and many more. Raw materials like copra, the dried meat of coconuts used to produce coconut oil, came in ships to docks adjacent to the plant and were stored for use in manufacturing.

In 1987, Procter & Gamble decided to close the plant as a cost-saving measure, but the area is still a source of jobs: the Port purchased the land and turned it into a container terminal. Now Matson/SSA operates on what is now called Pier C.

If you worked at the Procter & Gamble plant we'd love to hear from you -- you can use our Share Your Memories page to contact us.

Click here for a photo gallery with more images from the Procter and Gamble plant.

Read a 1987 Los Angeles Times article about the plant's closure.

Rose Hart inspects bottles of Crisco oil at the plant, probably in 1981.