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Seal Beach, California
A pier in Seal Beach
A pier in Seal Beach
Official seal of Seal Beach, California
Seal
Location of Seal Beach within Orange County, California.
Location of Seal Beach within Orange County, California.
Seal Beach, California is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Seal Beach, California
Seal Beach, California
Location in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Seal Beach, California is located in California
Seal Beach, California
Seal Beach, California
Location in California
Seal Beach, California is located in the United States
Seal Beach, California
Seal Beach, California
Location in the United States
Country United States
State California
County Orange
Incorporated October 27, 1915
Government
 • Type Council/city manager
Area
 • Total 11.80 sq mi (30.56 km2)
 • Land 11.27 sq mi (29.19 km2)
 • Water 0.53 sq mi (1.38 km2)  13.45%
Elevation
13 ft (4 m)
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 25,242
 • Density 2,139.2/sq mi (825.98/km2)
Time zone UTC-8 (Pacific Time Zone)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-7 (PDT)
ZIP code
90740
Area code 562
FIPS code 06-70686
GNIS feature IDs 1661416, 2411851
Official name: Anaheim Landing
Reference #: 219

Seal Beach is a coastal city in Orange County, California, United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 25,242, up from 24,168 at the 2010 census.

Seal Beach is located in the westernmost corner of Orange County. To the northwest, just across the border with Los Angeles County, lies the city of Long Beach and the adjacent San Pedro Bay. To the southeast are Huntington Harbour, a neighborhood of Huntington Beach, and Sunset Beach, also part of Huntington Beach. To the east lie the city of Westminster and the neighborhood of West Garden Grove, part of the city of Garden Grove. To the north lie the unincorporated community of Rossmoor and the city of Los Alamitos. A majority of the city's acreage is devoted to the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach military base.

History

Early on, the area that is now Seal Beach was known as "Anaheim Landing", as the boat landing and seaside recreation area named after the nearby town of Anaheim. The site of Anaheim Landing is now registered as a California Historical Landmark.

By the 20th century, it was known as Bay City, but there was already a Bay City located in Northern California. When the time of incorporation on October 27, 1915, the town was named Seal Beach. The town became a popular recreation destination in the area. The Joy Zone, a beach-side amusement park built in 1916, was the first in Orange County.

The United States Navy's Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach was originally constructed during World War II for loading, unloading, and storing of ammunition for the Pacific Fleet, and especially those US Navy warships home-ported in Long Beach and San Diego, California. With closure of the Concord Naval Weapons Station in Northern California, it has become the primary source of munitions for a majority of the U.S. Pacific Fleet.

Geography

Seal Beach is located at 33°45′33″N 118°4′57″W / 33.75917°N 118.08250°W / 33.75917; -118.08250 (33.759283, -118.082396).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 13.0 square miles (34 km2). 11.3 square miles (29 km2) of it is land and 1.8 square miles (4.7 km2) of it (13.45%) is water.

Climate

Seal Beach has a semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification BSh) with Mediterranean characteristics.

Climate data for Seal Beach, California
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 68
(20)
68
(20)
69
(20.6)
73
(22.8)
74
(23.3)
78
(25.6)
83
(28.3)
85
(29.4)
83
(28.3)
79
(26.1)
73
(22.8)
69
(20.6)
75.2
(23.98)
Average low °F (°C) 46
(7.8)
48
(8.9)
50
(10)
53
(11.7)
58
(14.4)
61
(16.1)
65
(18.3)
66
(18.9)
64
(17.8)
58
(14.4)
50
(10)
45
(7.2)
55.3
(12.96)
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.95
(74.9)
3.01
(76.5)
2.43
(61.7)
.60
(15)
.23
(5.8)
.08
(2)
.02
(0.5)
.10
(3)
.24
(6.1)
.40
(10)
1.12
(28.4)
1.76
(44.7)
12.94
(328.7)
Source: Weather Channel

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 669
1930 1,156 72.8%
1940 1,553 34.3%
1950 3,553 128.8%
1960 6,994 96.8%
1970 24,441 249.5%
1980 25,975 6.3%
1990 25,098 −3.4%
2000 24,157 −3.7%
2010 24,168 0.0%
2020 25,242 4.4%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Seal Beach had a population of 24,168. The population density was 1,853.3 people per square mile (715.6/km2). The racial makeup of Seal Beach was 20,154 (83.4%) White (76.9% Non-Hispanic White), 279 (1.2%) African American, 65 (0.3%) Native American, 2,309 (9.6%) Asian, 58 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 453 (1.9%) from other races, and 850 (3.5%) from two or more races. There were 2,331 Hispanic or Latino residents, of any race (9.6%).

The Census reported that 23,943 people (99.1% of the population) lived in households, 22 (0.1%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 203 (0.8%) were institutionalized.

There were 13,017 households, out of which 1,866 (14.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 4,891 (37.6%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 788 (6.1%) had a female householder with no husband present, 283 (2.2%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 383 (2.9%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 66 (0.5%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. Of the households, 6,312 (48.5%) were made up of individuals, and 4,340 (33.3%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.84. There were 5,962 families (45.8% of all households); the average family size was 2.65.

In Seal Beach there were 3,151 people (13.0%) under the age of 18, 1,176 people (4.9%) aged 18 to 24, 4,076 people (16.9%) aged 25 to 44, 6,513 people (26.9%) aged 45 to 64, and 9,252 people (38.3%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 57.3 years. For every 100 females, there were 78.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 76.3 males.

There were 14,558 housing units at an average density of 1,116.4 per square mile (431.0/km2), of which 9,713 (74.6%) were owner-occupied, and 3,304 (25.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 2.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 4.4%. 17,689 people (73.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 6,254 people (25.9%) lived in rental housing units.

During 2009–2013, Seal Beach had a median household income of $51,242, with 9.9% of the population living below the federal poverty line.

2000

As of the census of 2000, there were 24,157 people, 13,048 households, and 5,884 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,099.5 inhabitants per square mile (810.3/km2). There were 14,267 housing units at an average density of 1,240.0 per square mile (478.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 88.91% White, 1.44% African American, 0.30% Native American, 5.74% Asian, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 1.28% from other races, and 2.16% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.43% of the population.

There were 13,048 households, out of which 13.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 38.2% were married couples living together, 5.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 54.9% were non-families. Of all households, 48.8% were made up of individuals, and 34.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.83 and the average family size was 2.65.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 13.3% under the age of 18, 4.0% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 23.7% from 45 to 64, and 37.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 54 years. For every 100 females, there were 78.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 75.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $42,079, and the median income for a family was $72,071. Males had a median income of $61,654 versus $41,615 for females. The per capita income for the city was $34,589. About 3.2% of families and 5.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.2% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.

Arts and culture

SantaMonica-portadvert-1875
"Anaheim Landing" on an 1875 map.

Annual cultural events

The Lions Club Pancake Breakfast in April and its Fish Fry (started in 1943) in July are two of the biggest events in Seal Beach. There has been a Rough Water Swim the same weekend as the Fish Fry since the 1960s. The Seal Beach Chamber of Commerce sponsors many events, including: a Classic Car Show in April, a Summer Concert series in July and August, the Christmas Parade in December along with Santa and the Reindeer. Also in the fall is the Kite Festival in September.

Music

The record label Mash Down Babylon Records is based in Seal Beach, operated out of a garage known as The Elizabethan. The label was founded by Matt Embree, lead vocalist and guitarist in the Seal Beach-based progressive rock/post-hardcore band RX Bandits.

Other points of interest

AnaheimLanding-SealBeach-1890
Anaheim Landing (now Seal Beach), 1891.

On Electric Avenue where the railroad tracks used to run, there is the Red Car Museum which features a restored Pacific Electric Railway Red Car. The Red Car trolley tracks once passed through Seal Beach going south to the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. Going north into Long Beach a rider could then take the Red Cars through much of Los Angeles County.

Seal Beach is also home to the Bay Theatre, which was a popular venue for independent film and revival screenings. It was closed in 2012 and is seeking funds to reopen.

The Seal Beach National Wildlife Refuge is located on part of the Naval Weapons Station Seal Beach. Much of the refuge's 911 acres (3.69 km2) is the remnant of the saltwater marsh in the Anaheim Bay estuary (the rest of the marsh became the bayside community of Huntington Harbour, which is part of Huntington Beach). Three endangered species, the Ridgway's light-footed rail, the California least tern, and the Belding's Savannah sparrow, can be found nesting in the refuge. With the loss and degradation of coastal wetlands in California, the remaining habitat, including the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach and Upper Newport Bay in Newport Beach, has become much more important for migrating and wintering shorebirds, waterfowl, and seabirds. Although the refuge is a great place for birdwatching, because it is part of the weapons station, access is limited and usually restricted to once-a-month tours.

Recreation

Sealbeachcrowd
Seal Beach on a crowded summer afternoon
SealBeachPier
Seal Beach Pier

The second longest wooden pier in California (the longest is in Oceanside) is located in Seal Beach and is used for fishing and sightseeing. The pier has periodically suffered severe damage due to storms and other mishaps, requiring extensive reconstruction. A plaque at the pier's entrance memorializes Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works, 1938, Project No. Calif. 1723-F, a rebuilding necessitated by storms in 1935. Another plaque honors the individuals, businesses, and groups who helped rebuild the pier after a storm on March 2, 1983, tore away several sections. Most prominent was a "Save the Pier" group formed in response to an initial vote by the City Council not to repair the pier. The ensuing outcry of dismay among residents caused the City Council to reverse its stance while claiming the city lacked the necessary funds. Residents mobilized and eventually raised $2.3 million from private and public donors to rebuild the pier.

Surfing locations in Seal Beach include the Seal Beach pier and the river-"Stingray Bay" (or Ray Bay—the surfer's nickname for the mouth of the San Gabriel River—the stingrays are attracted by the heated water from several upstream powerplants). Classic longboard builders in the area include Harbour Surfboards, established in 1959, in Seal Beach.

Economy

San Pedro Bay Outer Continental Shelf Operations Map, 2012 - producing platforms as of 2012 are Edith, Elly, Ellen, Eureka (federal leases) and Ester, Emmy, Eva (state leases) (cropped)
San Pedro Bay Outer Continental Shelf Operations Map with oil platforms as of 2012- Edith, Elly, Ellen, Eureka (federal leases) and Ester, Emmy, Eva (state leases). An oil spill occurred near here in 2021.

The major employer in Seal Beach is Boeing, employing roughly 1,000 people. Its facility was originally built to manufacture the second stage of the Saturn V rocket for NASA's Apollo manned space flight missions to the Moon and for the Skylab program. Boeing Homeland Security & Services (airport security, etc.) is based in Seal Beach and Boeing Space & Intelligence Systems (satellite systems and classified programs) is headquartered in Seal Beach.

Top employers

According to the city's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:

# Employer # of employees
1 Boeing 1,000
2 MagTek 250
3 Siemens Medical Solutions 200
4 Target 200
5 First Team Real Estate 150
6 Farmers & Merchants Bank of Long Beach 150
7 Bixby Ranch Company 135
8 Kohl's 121
9 Spaghettini Grill and Lounge 105
10 Albertsons 100
11 Custom Building Products 96
12 Autism Partnership 95
13 P2F Holdings 85
14 Health Net 75
15 Original Parts Group 75
16 BakerCorp 71

Education

Seal Beach once had its own elementary school district and sent its older children to Huntington Beach or Marina High School in the Huntington Beach Union High School District. Since the early 1980s it has been part of the Los Alamitos Unified School District. Younger students (K-5) go to McGaugh Elementary School, Hopkinson Elementary School, Rossmoor Elementary, Lee Elementary, Los Alamitos Elementary or Weaver Elementary. Students in grades 6–8 attend either Oak Middle School or McAuliffe Middle School. High school students go to Los Alamitos High School, which is a Gold Ribbon School. Until 2000, the Orange County High School of the Arts was part of Los Alamitos High School. In 2000, the school district suffered a major blow when the community lost the Orange County High School of the Arts to Santa Ana, where it is now located.

Notable people

  • Robert August, one of the two surfers in Bruce Brown's classic surf film The Endless Summer, grew up in Seal Beach.
  • Jimmy Bennett, Actor, born in Seal Beach. Portrayed Captain Kirk (during his childhood) in Star Trek.
  • Sean Collins, founder of Surfline.
  • Susan Egan, actress/singer, starred in broadway productions including the role of Belle from Beauty and the Beast also does voice work most notably Meg from Disney's Hercules, born in Seal Beach.
  • Matt Embree, vocalist/guitarist of the band RX Bandits and founder of the Mash Down Babylon Records record label, both of which are also based in Seal Beach.
  • Steve Goodman, singer-songwriter and author of "City of New Orleans", "A Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request" and "You Never Even Call Me By My Name" made Seal Beach his home from 1980 until his death in 1984.
  • Bill Green, former United States record holder in track and field and fifth in the hammer throw in the 1984 Summer Olympics lived in Seal Beach from 1988 to 1999
  • Jack Haley, Sr - first US National surfing Champion
  • Mike Haley - 2nd US National surfing champion
  • Jack Haley, Jr. - former NBA player
  • Chris Kluwe, punter for the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL
  • Greg Knapp, New York Jets pass game specialist.
  • Pat McCormick, a two-time Olympic platform and springboard gold medal diver (1952 & 1956).
  • Chance Perez, singer, part of the boyband In Real Life.
  • Jack Snow, Notre Dame and Los Angeles Rams football player
  • Clayton Snyder, actor who played Ethan Craft in the Lizzie McGuire TV show and film.
  • Michelle Steel, U.S. Congresswoman from California's 48th district since 2021 (resident of Surfside Colony), former Chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors.
  • Randy Stonehill, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter resides in Seal Beach with wife Sandi
  • Chad Wackerman, rock and jazz drummer who has worked with Frank Zappa, Barbra Streisand, James Taylor and many others
  • Bill Ward, drummer, solo artist, and occasional lead vocalist of hard rock/heavy metal band, Black Sabbath.
  • Bob Welch, professional baseball player

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