Marina del Rey in Silicon Beach

Marina del Rey Peninsula has a colorful history; it just doesn’t venture back that far. Only 50,000 years ago Marina Peninsula was completely underwater.

Lowering sea levels exposed a tidal marsh fed by the Ballona Creek, which was then settled upon by natives about 3-5 thousand years ago. The natives were the Tongva—Uto-Aztecan speaking peoples who came from the Mohave Desert. Their village was by current day Los Angeles River.  In this fertile area seeds, nuts, and fruits grew and small game was hunted.  During this time fish, shell fish, and water fowl were plentiful. In time though, the Spanish and Mexican invaded and the Tongva were pushed out of the village. 

One Mexican who claimed land was Augustine Machado in 1820. Augustine was a rancher who chose the Ballona Wetlands to graze his cattle. Machado received 14 thousand acres thanks to a land grant given by the Mexican government. The only problem was that his cows were grazing and causing the first of what would become a long road of conflicting needs between the natural landscape and the grazing livestock.

In time, Machado lost claim to his land and the first signs of industry started appearing in and around Ballona. While these businesses thrived, the tides and weather inevitably proved much too strong for the owners, eventually washing away any profitable establishment in the area.

The area was abandoned until the invention of the automobile. In 1920, the invention of the car made the beach more accessible than ever, inspiring builders to set their sights on the high grounds. The new development was named Palisades del Rey. 

Oil was discovered in Palisades del Rey shortly after the builders moved in, the promise of black-gold had people very excited.  But, as had occurred in the past, Ballona was yet again subjected to harsh, unsustainable conditions that left the wetlands disfigured and grossly polluted.

The natural landscape was disturbed even more when the Army Corps of Engineers made their way to the Peninsula and began investing much of their efforts into flood-control. They dredged and cemented the banks and bottoms and installed flap gates to drain freshwater run-off. 

Today, the Peninsula is a neighborhood community that no longer reflects the destruction of its past. It sits adjacent to the artistic town of Venice and directly west from Marina del Rey.  It is a beautiful place to reside if you want a community atmosphere within close proximity to the beaches and fun.



Author: Mariah Terry.