Early contributors to collecting Seal Beach history

Preserving Seal Beach History has often been a tricky proposition.

For starters many of those involved with the early days of the town did not leave a lot of their records in easily accessible places, or in easy-to-find filing systems — understandable, I suppose, since much of Seal Beach’s early history involved multiple failed real estate campaigns, half-built amusement zones, and rum-runners and gamblers who made great use of the town’s geographic qualities in the 1920s and 1930s.

Making research even more difficult was the unhelpful, territorial, unwilling to share tendencies of many associated with past local historical societies. Fortunately, this area had some diligent hard workers who preserved much of this area’s history. Among them were Libby Appelgate and Michael Dobkins. When dissension and extreme control measures hindered their historical efforts with the SB Historical Society, they transferred their efforts to the Founders Day Group and continued to uncover much historical information.

Appelgate came to Seal Beach as a young teenager, and quickly got to know many of the town’s early surfers. After retiring, she began volunteering with the Historical Society and conducted many many Oral Histories interviews with some of the town’s long-standing figures. Many of those interviews can be viewed on this site.

Dobkins grew up in this town and has always been a local history buff. Many of his contributions continue to be viewed on his popular “This Date in Seal Beach” blog. When he posts something, you know it has been thoroughly and very carefully researched such as this article on the lifeguard stations, and the beginnings of Seal Beach Elementary in 1914.

There are many others who have made contributions to local history collection and preservation and we plan to highlight them in the future.

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