Port Ballona, California

Port Ballona was located, from 1839 to 1903, in the area where Marina del Rey, California and the beach, Playa Del Rey, along Santa Monica Bay, lie. The name comes from the La Ballona land grant. Port Ballona also included the Ballona Wetlands marsh. Ballona Creek flows in to the marsh.[1]

Port Ballona
La Ballona map of 1896,
present day location of Playa del Rey, Marina del Rey, and the Ballona Wetlands.
Coordinates: 33°58′46″N 118°27′10″W
16 ft (5 m)
Time zoneUTC-8 (Pacific (PST))
  Summer (DST)UTC-7 (PDT)


In 1839, the Mexican government granted the Machados and Talamantes title to Rancho La Ballona[2][3][4] In 1857, Benjamin D. Wilson, the first mayor of Los Angeles, through foreclosure received title to 1/4 of Rancho La Ballona.[5] Later, in 1859, Wilson, for $5000, sold 3,480 acres (1,410 ha) of Rancho La Ballona to George A. Sanford and John D. Young. During the Civil War, General George Wright ordered troops to secure Port Ballona against any Confederacy invasion; by 1862, a large force of 6,000 Union troops were at and near Port Ballona. The troop camp was called Camp Latham after Milton Latham.[6]

The Great Flood of 1862 turned the Port and the land around it into a swamp for six months.[7][8]

In 1863, Louis Mesmer sold his Los Angeles bakery and purchased extensive land holdings from the Machados, including Port Ballona. In 1887, Louis Mesmer and Moye Wicks made a small Port Harbor at Port Ballona. Moye Wicks starts the Ballona Harbor and Improvement Company in 1887, with plans to make the port a major sea port. August 21, 1887, the Town of Port Ballona was developed by Louis Mesmer and Moye Wicks. By 1889, Ballona Harbor and Improvement Company was out of funds to complete the maintain and expand the port, they could not keep the Port open. Louis Mesmer and Moye Wicks sold the port and land around the port to Moses Sherman. Sherman purchased 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land around the Ballona lagoon and the Port Ballona in 1902 under the name, Beach Land Company.[9]

Port Ballona rail depot was built at the port and serviced by the California Central Railway opening in September 1887; this line later became the Santa Fe Railway, that later became the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. The rail line ran from the port to Redondo junction[10]

Sherman and Clark renamed the port and land around the port to "Del Rey" in 1903. Port Ballona, in 1903, was renamed Playa Del Rey by Sherman and Clark. Port Ballona Street car depot, built by Sherman's Redondo and Hermosa Beach Railroad, was part of the Los Angeles Pacific Railroad. The Sherman's tram line opened in December 1902, it departed Downtown Los Angeles at 4th & Broadway.[11][12]

In the 1880s and 1890s, parts of Venice, Playa Vista, Culver City, and Mar Vista were also part of Port Ballona.[13]

See also


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