News & Advocacy

Bay Street Beach Added to National Register of Historic Places

July 11, 2019

adapted from Sea of Clouds Press Release on July 9, 2019

Santa Monica’s Bay Street Beach Historic District was recently listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The 53-acre district, entirely on public trust lands, recognizes this important coastal history and celebrates a rarity: a 100-plus-year-old intact African American seaside cultural landscape. In the Jim Crow era, the beach was self-selected by African Americans as a place of recreation and leisure where its visitors felt relatively safe from harassment.

Verna and Sidney at Santa Monica’s Bay Street Beach, 1931. Photo: Los Angeles Public Library.

In addition to coastal planning protections secured through the listing, the Historic District maintains existing access, public safety and visitor amenities, nearby private property rights, underlying public ownership, and the area’s current uses.
The National Register of Historic Places, created more than 50 years ago, is the nation’s official list of properties worthy of preservation and remembrance. It recognizes more than 93,000 properties and 1.4 million individual resources. Our Bay Street Beach Historic District increases the number of listings associated with communities of color, which at this time is less than five percent of the total sites represented on the National Register.
Michael Blum Executive Director of Sea of Clouds and historian Alison Rose Jefferson, PhD,  developed the listing nomination, which the Conservancy supported. A dedication ceremony celebrating the listing will be scheduled for Summer 2020.

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