The upper Newport Bay is an estuary, a place where fresh and saltwater meet and mix. As one of the few remaining estuaries in Southern California, it is home to nearly 200 species of birds. During the winter, as many as 30,000 birds can be seen here on any given day.
Port Orange, also known as McFadden’s Landing, was comprised of a dock and small warehouse, built by D.M. Dorman and Captain Dunnels. In 1873, it was purchased by the McFaddens to support their burgeoning lumber company.
The famous Arch Rock, subject of numerous early postcards such as this one, resides a short distance off the shore of Corona del Mar.
Visitors could board a launch at the Balboa Pavilion to Corona del Mar. Those with the energy to ascend the bluffs were rewarded with a marvelous view of the ocean and harbor.
Prior to the building of the upper bay bridge in 1926, visitors to Newport had only two ways to reach Corona del Mar. The could boat across the harbor or take the long journey around the back bay.
Newport’s more adventurous visitors might row to Rocky Point, where gathering abalone was a popular activity.
Needing funds for ranch improvements, James Irvine sold 700 acres on the bluffs behind Rocky Point to George E. Hart for $150 per acre in 1904. The acreage was subdivided into lots, but by 1915, only 15 houses and a small hotel had been built. Discouraged, Hart traded 400 of the 700 acres for land in Riverside County valued at $400,000.
Legends told of pirates hiding treasure in the caves of Corona del Mar, making their exploration another popular attraction.
All information and pictures were taken solely from Jeff Delaney’s book Newport Beach.
Do you enjoy learning about and viewing the past? I’ve been blogging about Newport Beach and the surrounding area in its formative years. You can read and view them if you browse through my blog’s “Local History” section here.
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