I Would like to Know More Information on my Homes History
Have you ever wondered about the history of your house? You probably know when it was built, but have you ever wondered who owned the house before you and what it was like in Long Beach at the time? Say your home was built in 1935. Think about what was happening in the city at the time. What were the cars like, etc.
When I purchased my home, I must admit, I would not have considered myself knowledgeable about historic things. I liked the architecture and the interesting details of the home, but that was about it. As I thought about it, it made sense to learn a little bit (or a lot) about the house where I lived. Most houses have a past. Some of them are very colorful. My curiosity and my interest in the Mills Act program caused me to embark on a journey to document my homes past. If you are not familiar with this incentive program, The Mills Act is a state program that is administered and implemented by local governments and offers economic incentives (a possible property tax reduction). Qualifying owners of historic or designated landmark sites upon agreement to rehabilitate, restore, and protect their property. Because it is implemented by city governments, each locality establishes their own criteria and determines how many contracts they will allow in their jurisdiction. According to the California Office of Historic Preservation,
The Mills Act is the single most important economic incentive program in California for the restoration and preservation of qualified historic buildings by private property owners. I'm looking forward to January 2023 when Long Beach will resume the Mills Act application process.
I really didn't know anything about the history of my home nor about its past inhabitants. I am kind of a researcher at heart so I started making inquiries about how I could learn about my house’s past.
The Main Library has many resources for your online or in person use. The first one I'd like to highlight is the Long Beach Libraries Digital Archive. Within the archive, you can access Long Beach City Directories. They available for years are 1899-1969. The directories are organized by street. You would find your street at the top left of the page and then search for your street number.
Your search would list the name of the person who resided at your home for that year.
Some of the City’s resources are available online, where you can conduct research from the comfort of your home. For others, you can make an appointment to view materials by calling (562) 570-7500. (In-library use only at the Main Library.)
The next key resource is The Long Beach History Collection containing books, newspapers, clippings files, archives, photos, and artifacts that offer unique insight into Long Beach and the people who have lived here. Using the names of the persons you have collected from the City Directories along with your address, you may find information that will be helpful in putting together the 'genealogy' of your home. (In-library use only at the Main Library.)
The final resource I'd like to call attention to as a helpful resource would be the Sanborn Fire Insurance maps. Because the maps were updated and corrected over time, they demonstrate how neighborhoods grew and changed. We can see how areas were platted, buildings were demolished and constructed, businesses came and went, and street names and numbers changed. (In-library use only at the Main Library.)
Micro Film Collection
Daily Telegram - Dec. 26, 1904 - Mar. 6, 1923 (scattered holdings until 1905)