Manhattan Beach

A Timeline of LA County's Bruce's Beach

The move to return the property to the rightful heirs marked the first time in the history of Los Angeles County that land was returned to Black descendants, whose ancestors were robbed of their property and generational wealth due to unjust laws and practices rooted in systemic racism, officials said. 

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After an official return of ownership of Manhattan Beach property to descendants of a Black couple who turned it into a resort, but were stripped of the land in the 1920s, here's a timeline of pivotal moments in the history of Bruce's Beach based on LA County documents and NBC4's reporting.

The plan allows for the return of the site on Highland Avenue near 26th Street once known as Bruce's Beach in the city of Manhattan Beach, where the county's lifeguard training headquarters is now located.

1912

Willa Bruce purchases one lot of land along the Strand in Manhattan Beach.

1920

Willa Bruce purchases a second lot of land along the Strand in Manhattan Beach.

1924

The Manhattan Beach City Council votes to condemn Bruce's Beach and the surrounding land through eminent domain for a park.

1929

The court awards the property to the city of Manhattan Beach through eminent domain. The Bruces' property is condemned, the resort is demolished, and the Bruce's leave Manhattan Beach.

1948

The city of Manhattan Beach transfers the property to the state of California.

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1956

Manhattan Beach builds a park on the land behind the Bruce's Beach resort.

1995

Los Angeles County acquires the land.

Sept. 30, 2021

Gov. Gavin Newsom signs SB 796, allowing LA County supervisors to begin the land transfer to the Bruce family.

April 14, 2022

The LA County Superior Court upholds the County's proposed return of the property to the legal heirs of Charles and Willa Bruce.

May 26, 2022

LA County determines Marcus and Derrick Bruce, the great-grandsons of Charles and Willa Bruce, the legal heirs.

June 28, 2022

LA County officially returns Bruce's Beach to the legal heirs of Charles and Willa Bruce.

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