Author Reveals Laguna’s Lesser Known History

1 history Emerald Bay Aerial c1940 includes Wightman, Acord and John Thomas Swanson Homes - Dr. A.H. Wightman Collection
A early photo of Emerald Bay.

The public is invited to local author Skip Hellewell’s discussion of his works “Loving Laguna” and “Early Homestead Families” at a Laguna Beach Historical Society program Tuesday, Nov. 26.

The free 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. program will be held at the Laguna Beach City Hall Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

The program will be videotaped and is to be televised on the local Cox Cable channel 30 (and channel 852/853).

Hellewell his wife Clare have reared six children in the Laguna Beach area, moving into town 18 years ago. Hellewell was attracted to Laguna’s history from the beginning, an interest that led to membership in the Laguna Beach Historical Society. He has written four books, the most recent “Loving Laguna, A Local’s Guide to Laguna Beach.”

The program is of two parts, beginning with a survey of the movements behind Laguna’s uniqueness: the early homesteaders, artists, surfers, conservationists, and, especially, the Laguna “characters.” The second part looks at the early homesteading families from 1870 to 1900.

This is the least studied part of Laguna’s history and Hellewell’s interest is the intersection of families with history. Most of the homesteading families had Mormon ties, so there is a brief summary of the origins and wanderings of the LDS movement. Several groups of original documents inform this: U.S. Censuses from 1860-1900, the recently found records of Laguna’s first church, as well as the homestead survey done by Beryl Wilson Viebeck.

A preview of Viebeck’s work will be presented by her daughter, Carol Lloyd. This program will fill in the gaps of Laguna’s earliest history and suggest areas for future research.

The historical society, housed in the leased Murphy-Smith Bungalow at 278 Ocean Avenue, is raising funds to make repairs as required by its lessee, Wells Fargo Bank. The bungalow is open to the public at no-charge every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1to 4 p.m.

Those interested in supporting and joining the Laguna Beach Historical Society should send $15 per individual, $25 per household or $50 per business/organization to 278 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach CA 92651.

Here is a link to an earlier story about Skip Hellewell.

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  1. Seriously? Skip Hellewell’s discussion of his works “Loving Laguna” – have you actually read that book? And, is there a reason you didn’t mention the publisher? Come on…get real with Laguna residents. This book is hogwash, poorly edited, and horribly researched. An embarrassment to the community. You really should not have submitted a biased review if you want to maintain your credibility.


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