Laguna Beach, California

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Laguna Beach is a seaside resort and artist community located in southern Orange County, California, United States, approximately 24 miles (39 km) southeast of the county seat of Santa Ana. Its population was 23,727 at the 2000 census. It is known for having some of the most beautiful beaches in southern California. The city is also known for its hotels, unique shops, restaurants, world famous art galleries, and art festivals. Several movies and TV shows have been filmed there.

Contents

History

The community of Laguna Beach is the second oldest city in Southern Orange County, second to San Juan Capistrano.

Settlers arriving after the American Civil War found scarce amounts of land available for homesteading, and one such tract, known then simply as "the public lands" was the coastal strip from Laguna Canyon to Three Arch Bay. During the 1870s, a small community named Arch Beach had been started at the mouth of Bluebird Canyon. By the early 1880s most of the land around its small Post Office and general store had been subdivided. At about the time that Orange County separated from Los Angeles County and became independent in 1889, the community was caught in an economic downturn.

When the economy renewed itself, the decision was made to relocate the town to the mouth of Laguna Canyon. This was possible because a dispute with the Irvine ranch over the public right to traverse Laguna Canyon had been resolved in the courts, allowing an additional means of access to the coast. The streets were laid out in a grid plan despite the location's hilly nature, which has resulted in some streets having extremely steep inclines.

By 1900 Laguna Beach was occupied by five families of homesteaders struggling to farm land. They soon found an additional source of income by renting sections of the beaches to farmers from Tustin, Santa Ana, Fullerton, Riverside, and other inland communities who were eager to escape the summer heat. Thus began the tourist industry which is still a mainstay of the local economy.

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