Early inhabitants, Spanish discovery and settlement

In 1837, Antonio Ygnacio Avila received a land grant from Mexico for Rancho Sausal Redondo consisting of 22,500 acres. What is now Manhattan Beach was part of Rancho Sausal Redondo. The Rancho was sold to Sir Robert Burnett who used the land for sheep and cattle raising. In 1873, Sir Robert Burnett leased the land to Daniel Freeman and returned to his native Scotland. Freeman moved to the ranch with his family and increased the stock plus planted citrus trees. The 1875 drought ruined the livestock’s industry and he turned to dry farming. Freeman purchased the land in the 1880s but fell into financial difficulties and sold off the land.

In 1822, the newly-established Mexican government sold the land to the highest bidder. Some of the Ranchos purchased by farmers were: Aguaje de la Centinela, La Ballona, La Tijera, and Sausal Redondo, which translates into "round clump of willows." (Note that many streets in the South Bay region are named after these ranchos.) In 1822, Rancho Sausal Redondo (present day Manhattan Beach) was purchased by Antonio Ygnacio Avila, who mainly used the 22,500 acres (91 km2) for sheep grazing.

Most of the original Californio land owners could not validate these properties with the US government after the Mexican-American war due to the cost of surveys, filing forms and legal fees, therefor, many lost ownership to wealthy Americans.

In 1888, the Santa Fe Railroad laid tracks from Los Angeles to the Redondo Beach wharf, passing through what is now Manhattan Beach. Redondo’s deepwater canyon became a port for shipping goods and passengers and a destination for a fun day at the seaside. Santa Fe terminated their passenger service in 1918 because it could not compete with the Red Car (Pacific Electric) passenger rates. In 1903, the Pacific Railway Company which merged with the Pacific Electric in 1910, installed a track along the oceanfront extending from Los Angeles to Santa Monica and then south to Redondo Beach passing through Manhattan. The tracks were just west of The Strand where the bicycle path is today. The Red Cars would run on this line until 1940.

Early development

In 1863, a Scottish immigrant, Sir Robert Burnett, purchased Rancho Sausal Redondo and Rancho Aguaje De Centinela from Avila's heirs for $33,000. Ten years later in 1873, Burnett leased the ranch to a Canadian, Daniel Freeman, and returned to Scotland. Freeman moved his wife and three children onto the ranch and started growing various crops. On May 4, 1885 Freeman bought the ranch from Burnett for $140,000.

George H. Peck owned a lot of the land that became part of the north section of Manhattan Beach.


Manhattan Beach is located at 33°53′20″N, 118°24′19″W (33.888980, -118.405357).

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 26.8 km² (10.4 mi²). 10.2 km² (3.9 mi²) of it is land and 16.7 km² (6.4 mi²) of it (62.07%) is water. ] Manhattan Beach features 2.1 miles (3.4 km) of ocean frontage, 40 acres (162,000 m²) of recreational beach, and a total of 59 acres (239,000 m²) of parkland in 10 parks, 1 municipal golf course, and 1 parkway, the Valley/Ardmore "Greenbelt".

Residents divide the city into several distinct neighborhoods, including the Village, Sand Section, Hill Section, Tree Section, Gas Lamp Section, Manhattan Heights, East Manhattan Beach, Liberty Village, and North Manhattan Beach (formally known as El Porto until December 2007). The Hill Section is a higher priced locale where many of the residences are remodeled and situated on steep hills to afford panoramic ocean and Los Angeles views. The nearby Sand Section is notable for its dense development and higher rate of condominiums and multi-family properties. Most commercial activity whose clientèle are beach-oriented position their establishments here, sometimes within meters of private homes. One of its most highly trafficked streets, The Strand, features high-end Oceanfront properties. Desired by families for its close knit structure and with a substantially healthy financial background, the Tree Section is essentially a smaller Hill Section, minus the hills, of course, and with slightly smaller lots.

Liberty Village is located at the north-easternmost section of Manhattan Beach. It is characterized by World War II era housing that originally serviced the employees of the then dominant local defense contractors such as Lockheed, Northrop and Hughes. Since it is considered to be among the most desirable cities in Los Angeles, and the city zoning provides for relatively lenient dwelling-to-land coverage, much of Manhattan Beach's housing stock has been remodeled from small single family houses into larger houses ranging to 4,000 square feet (400 m2) on lots approximating 5,000 square feet (500 m2).


As of the census of 2000, there were 33,854 people, 14,474 households, and 8,394 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,325.8/km² (8,606.7/mi²). There were 15,034 housing units at an average density of 1,477.0/km² (3,822.3/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 88.99% White, 0.61% African American, 0.21% Native American, 6.04% Asian, 0.12% Pacific Islander, 1.23% from other races, and 2.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.19% of the population.

There were 14,474 households out of which 28.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 5.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.0% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 6.5% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.3% under the age of 18, 4.1% from 18 to 24, 37.5% from 25 to 44, 25.7% from 45 to 64, and 10.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 101.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 101.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $100,750, and the median income for a family was $122,686.36. Males had a median income of $84,256 versus $54,142 for females. The per capita income for the city was $61,136. About 2.0% of families and 3.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 2.3% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.

In February 2006 sales of Manhattan Beach homes produced a median price of $1,925,000. In its Best Places to Live 2005 feature, Money Magazine ranked Manhattan Beach the 4th most expensive town in America. Additionally, in 2005 it ranked 2nd in California for the number of million-dollar homes sold. Forbes has also ranked the local ZIP code 90266 as the 29th most expensive ZIP code.


In the state legislature Manhattan Beach is located in the 28th Senate District, represented by Democrat Jenny Oropeza, and in the 53rd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Ted Lieu. Federally, Manhattan Beach is located in California's 36th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of D +11 and is represented by Democrat Jane Harman.

As of 2002, 46% of Manhattan Beach residents were registered Republicans and 35% were registered Democrats.


School 2006 API Score
Grand View Elementary 954
Meadows Elementary 947
Pacific Elementary 971
Pennekamp Elementary 963
Robinson Elementary 970
Manhattan Beach Middle 923
Mira Costa High School 852

Public education in Manhattan Beach is provided by the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, which oversees 5 elementary schools, 1 middle school, and 1 high school. The district is also assisted by non-profit organizations the Manhattan Beach Education Foundation and a Parent-Teacher Association for each school.

The district as a whole received a score of 906 on the 2006 California Academic Performance Index, making it California's 5th best performing district. Each individual school also ranks at the top of its respective category:

Under policy of the Manhattan Beach Unified School District, residents who live in northern Redondo Beach may not attend schools within the MBUSD. As of Fall 2006, North Redondo Beach residents living in the 90278 zip code will be allowed to attend Mira Costa.


In addition to the Los Angeles Times, Manhattan Beach is served by local daily the Daily Breeze and local weeklies the Beach Reporter and the Easy Reader.


  • Scenes from the 1983 Taylor Hackford film Against All Odds were filmed along the boardwalk and beach.
  • Filming Location for Weeds.
  • Quentin Tarantino worked at a video rental store in Manhattan Beach before becoming a director.
  • Establishing shots of the tv show Hannah Montana are filmed at Mira Costa High School.
  • The Harvey Wallbanger Cocktail was invented in the 1960s in El Porto at the current location of Sharkeez bar and grill.
  • Film location of Starsky and Hutch (2004). In the movie, Starsky (Ben Stiller), can be seen stretching under the pier.
  • Film location of Jerry Maguire (1996). In the movie, Dorothy's (Rene Zellwegger) house is in the Tree Section.
  • Film location of Tequila Sunrise (1988). Mel Gibson's character lives on the beach near the pier.
  • The name of present day Manhattan Beach was decided by a coin-flip in 1902 between George Peck (who branded his property Manhattan after his hometown in New York) and John Merrell (who named his property Shore Acres)
  • Manhattan Beach has been nicknamed the "Pearl of the South Bay" for its beauty and desirability. The city motto, though seldom referenced, is "Progressius, Progressius, Progressius."
  • Much of the sand on Waik?k? Beach was purchased by developers from Hawai?i in the late 1920s, who negotiated a deal with the Kuhn Brothers Construction Company to ship the city's sand across the Pacific from Manhattan Beach to Waikiki Beach for over 10 years. The only remaining sand that resembles Manhattan Beach's original landscape can be found at Sand Dune Park.
  • Home to the filming of some of The CW/Ex-UPN series Veronica Mars
  • Home to the filming of such fictional shows as the Fox Network series The O.C. and the CBS series CSI:Miami
  • Film and real life location of George Jung of Blow fame.
  • Was home to the Metlox Pottery company, and now has a shopping and restaurant plaza built on the old factory site.
  • The AVP tournament in Manhattan Beach is known as "The Wimbledon of Beach Volleyball." The names of the tournament champions are inscribed in plaques along Manhattan Beach Pier. This event usually takes place in August and is aired on NBC.
  • Mentioned in the Beach Boys' song "Surfin' USA."

External links

NAR; CAR; MLS. Manhattan Beach Real Estate along the south coast of Santa Monica Bay provide a unique quality of living centered around some of the most beautiful swimming beaches in the world. With easy access to downtown Los Angeles, LAX and L.A.'s affluent Westside, Manhattan Beach is a charming beach community that provides a separate secure environment along with some of the most highly rated schools in the Los Angeles area. Les Ikerd of Real Estate West, a highly respected broker of fine homes, specializes exclusively in Manhattan Beach Real Estate. With a tradition of friendly, informed, high-level personal service, Les ensures that the majority of his clients are repeat or referral. Let us help you discover the best kept real estate secret in the Los Angeles area - the beautiful beach cities of the South Santa Monica Bay and Manhattan Beach Real Estate! Les can also help you sell your Manhattan Beach home.
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