Marina del Rey

Despite failed attempts spanning decades, the vision of a developed harbor at Playa del Rey inlet persisted over many decades.  What finally emerged in the early 1960‘s was worth the wait. With a staggering eight miles of crafted waterfront encompassing 400 acres of docks, boat slips, and channels, Marina del Rey was like no other harbor in the nation.


Today’s Marina del Rey hosts 5,000 vessels, 10,000 residents, thousands more daytime workers, and is a destination for shopping, dining and tourism. With miles of waterfront public access, the harbor serves boats arriving via trailer for day outings,  sail and power boats of all sizes in rented slips, and visitors to its beaches and parks.  It is a venue for tall ships, kayakers, boat shows, yacht races, outdoor concerts, and its annual holiday boat parade. It serves and is managed by Los Angeles County, whose population of 10 million and budget of $30 billion exceed that of many of our nation’s states.


Created during the post-WWII expansion of our nation’s population and infrastructure, Marina del Rey’s planning and construction might never have succeeded during any other era. Political vision, government funding, private investment, federal and state resources all joined forces to create what has become, perhaps, Los Angeles County’s most valuable single asset. No other harbor in the United States is quite like Marina del Rey. The preservation of its history is a vital and deserved commitment.


Marina del Rey Historical Society

Marina del Rey Historical Society (MdRHS) has been the community’s leading curator of Marina del Rey-related historical photos, slides, documents, newspaper and magazine articles, memorabilia and recorded oral histories. Since its inception in 2007,  MdRHS has actively engaged the community with Marina del Rey history exhibits at uncounted local annual events, the presentation of live local history talks to local boating groups and yacht clubs, the distribution of newsletters, a Marina del Rey history video, and an ongoing website.  During these years, its collection of archives has steadily grown.


In 2014, the Society opened its local ‘History Gallery’ venue with regular volunteer staffing and hours. As this opened, the Society authored and published its first book, “Images of America– Marina del Rey,” in partnership with Arcadia publications. In April 2015, MdRHS was a vital participant in Marina del Rey’s 50th Birthday celebration, contributing land-side history exhibits, a live presentation with a local journalist–historian, and narrated historical boat tours scripted and staffed by MdRHS volunteers.


Through the University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles as Subject (LAAS) received two years’ grant funding to help local historical societies develop their archival digitization projects.  An active member of LAAS, MdRHS has been a beneficiary of this funding, gaining valuable assistance with the digitization of its printed collections, thanks to an LAAS resident archiving team at California State University Dominguez Hills (CSUDH).  MdRHS regularly attends LAAS monthly meetings, hosted an LAAS meeting in 2018, and for many years has staffed an exhibit at the annual LAAS Archives Bazaar at USC.


MdRHS has benefitted from extending a recent internship to a Johns Hopkins University doctoral candidate specializing in archival conservation for antiquities, documents and textiles and provenance research (2019-2020).


In early February 2020, MdRHS presented a live speaker series event with George Drury Smith, former associate publisher of The Argonautnewspaper and founder of Beyond Baroque Literary Center. This was MdRHS’s last public event prior to the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown.



• Become a member of Marina del Rey Historical Society [click here]



• Donate your Marina del Rey area photos, documents, and history

Since our collection is electronically filed, personal contributions (photographs, printed material, documents, etc.) can be scanned to our files and the originals returned to the donor. Credit for the contribution will be listed and included in the captions. Contact Us form.


• Become a volunteer: Please fill in your skills on the Contact Us form.

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