Today, Marina del Rey is one of the most popular spots in Silicon Beach for tourists, watersports enthusiasts and businessmen alike. But in 1887, Marina del Rey was nothing more than one man’s dream.

The Dream

M. C. Wicks was a real estate agent who envisioned turning the Playa del Rey estuary into a major commercial harbor. Wicks’ company Ballona Development Co. invested $300,000 to develop Playa del Rey, but were unsuccessful and the company went bankrupt 3 years later.

The Setbacks 

Throughout the early 1900’s, a visitor would not see sailors or a major harbor when visiting Playa del Rey. They would see small boats and duck hunters—nothing more. In 1916, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers even reported that it was impractical to develop Playa del Rey into a major harbor.

In 1937, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors ordered another study of the land to see if making it into a marina was feasible. Playa del Rey was in a competitive bid with San Pedro to see which one would become create Los Angeles Harbor. Playa de Rey lost to San Pedro, and at the time it looked like the vision of a bustling marina was nothing more than a dream.

World War II made the dream feel even farther away… that is until the Corps of Engineers did one final study of the land. They finally deemed it feasible to create a pleasure craft Harbor.

A Dream Coming To Life... 

Development began, but not without some setbacks. Setbacks that then Chamber President Larry Norman hurtled with ease. Norman brought peace and harmony between the city and county in the marinas development. Construction delays and a winter storm that caused damage set the marina back even more.

The marina was not deemed complete until January 1965 when the final offshore breakwater was successfully constructed. A formal opening was held in April of 1965. After nearly 100 years of complications, one mans dream was finally recognized, and it was open for all to enjoy.

Marina del Rey is the world’s largest manmade small-craft harbor, with 19 marinas and room for 5,300 boats. 

Marina del Rey Today

Fifty years later, Marina del Rey is an affluent seaside community with nearly 9,000 residents. Marina del Rey is home to Fisherman’s Village and Chance Park. Fisherman’s Village is a mall and tourist attraction designed to look like a small New England fishing village. The attractions include live music, restaurants, harbor and fishing cruises, and nightclubs. Chance Park is a 12-acre park that is surrounded by water on 3 sides. The park is the perfect place to picnic and barbeque with friends and family. The park also offers a summer concert series all summer long!


Marina del Rey is one man’s dream come reality, and it is a place for people of all ages to enjoy today!