1950 - 1959


The 50s

Our Story Begins

The Beach traces its origins back to 1949, with the passage of Assembly Bill 8, calling for the establishment of a state college to serve the rapidly expanding population of Los Angeles and Orange counties. A selection committee is established to find a location for the new college, and all members of the committee agree on their first choice: a 320-acre site set on a hill on the outskirts of Long Beach, the area known by its original peoples as Puvunga, an ancient sacred site of the Tongva people. 

The Los Angeles-Orange County State College -- as it was initially named, opened its doors on September 28, 1949 with 169 enrolled students and 13 full-time faculty in a converted apartment building at 5401 E. Anaheim Street. The biggest classes are held in living rooms. Mid-sized classes take place in the dinning rooms and the smallest classes are taught in the kitchen. Music education students store their music and instruments in the bathroom.  Victor Peterson is named president of the new college and tasked with leading the new organizaiton through its emerging phase. 

In June 1950, the City of Long Beach, by vote of the people, authorizes the City Council to purchase the 320-acre tract of land. A plan is approved to use $1 million in oil money to purchase the site just east of the first temporary apartment site. The land is deeded to the State to be the future home of the new college. Having settled on a location upon donation of the new site by the people of Long Beach, the college is renamed to Long Beach State College (LBSC). Summer 1951 signals the start of construction on the permanent campus, while temporary buildings are still being formed to accommodate students for the upcoming Fall semester. Classes convene on the new campus in temporary buildings in September 1951. The parking lot is situated on the side of a hill, and when it rains, the vehicles slide down the hill, bumping into each other in the mud. By 1955 the first permanent buildings are in operation after more than two years of construction. 


Converted apartment building

Classes are only offered to junior and senior students consisting mostly of women and veterans. The college offers 29 classes with an emphasis on Teacher Education, Business Education, and the Liberal Arts.


Women's Sports Arrive to Campus

Women's volleyball, basketball, tennis, and field hockey are inaugurated during the 1957-1958 academic year led by Dr. Dorothy Fornia.

The construction of a second Fine Arts Building, a Physical Education Unit, and a swimming pool are completed by Spring 1958.




First Dormitories Completed

The first dormitories are completed by September 1958, to be used by students the following year. The dormitories shift the campus from being a 'commuter campus' to a resident college.

The Los Alamitos Hall opens its door in Fall 1959 for 400 students who yearn for a more collegiate experience.


Dr. Carl W. McIntosh takes over the presidency of LBSC for Fall 1959.