A major attraction of the Local History Room is the historic photograph collection, consisting of some 2,000 black and white images which provide a pictorial history of the Peninsula and its buildings as they were constructed. A gift from the Palos Verdes Homes Association, most of the pictures originally appeared in the Palos Verdes Bulletin from 1924 to 1931.
Pictures of plowed fields with unobstructed ocean views gradually give way to a scattering of buildings: La Venta Inn, the Palos Verdes Golf Club clubhouse, Malaga Cove School, the Roessler Pool, and the first two commercial buildings at Malaga Cove Plaza. As the new community grew, additional photos depict the social life, such as beach horseback rides, golf tournaments, dances, and garden shows. The majority of the collection is a record of the first homes soon after their completion. Many of these homes still exist in what is now the city of Palos Verdes Estates.
The photograph collection also includes a small group of colored postcards, showing early views of Palos Verdes, Long Beach, Catalina, and other California cities.
The Library is fortunate to have a selection of more than 150 photographs filmed by Fairchild Aerial Surveys, Inc. This company was well known for its low altitude aerial shots taken from a small plane with a special camera between 1927 and 1966. The Local History Collection contains selected views of the Peninsula from 1927 to 1956, with the majority taken in 1945. These photos were the gift of David Cummins, a geologist who worked for many years in the Palos Verdes area.
The photographs have been digitized and a selection may be viewed here. Please check the website often as new content becomes available or subscribe to our new photo RSS feed.