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Monday, December 11, 2017

The History of Hawthorne

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"There's a new jewel in the crown of Southern California. The beautiful new town of Hawthorne."


That was a newspaper advertisement that appeared on January 6, 1906. It was also advertised as the town "between the City and the Sea." Built and sold homes on small down and long time payments.

A lot could be had for $75 with a $1 down payment and a mortgage of $1 per month.
Hawthorne is centrally located in the South Bay section of Los Angeles County, which is about 14 miles south/southwest of downtown Los Angeles and about 14 miles northwest of downtown Long Beach.

The town of Hawthorne was founded by B.L. Harding and H.D. Lombard, who began the development in 1905.

The name "Hawthorne" was chosen by the daughter of Harding, Mrs. Laurine Woolwine, who shared her birthday with author Nathaniel Hawthorne.

As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 84,112. Although incorporated as a city in 1922, Hawthorne is a part of the immense sprawl that amounts to the greater Los Angeles area.

Hawthorne is very close to the Los Angeles International Airport, aka "LAX."

Cockatoo Inn was a restaurant and bar with a bad reputation. It was alleged to be a house of prostitution, and some say that the Hawthorne Police turned a blind eye to it for a price. The place has since been torn down, and something new is being built in its place.

Several celebrities and sports figures came from Hawthorne. Here are some that I researched: Actress Marilyn Monroe lived in the city as a young girl.

Sports figure Jim Thorpe resided in Hawthorne during part of his life, and there is a park named after him.

NFL Players Curtis Conway, Dennis Northcutt, Jason Simmons have all resided in Hawthorne.

Rapper Kurupt lived in Hawthorne after moving from Philadelphia.

Actor Fred Dryer was born in Hawthorne.

Beatle George Harrison's second wife, Olivia Harrison (née Olivia Trinidad Arias), graduated from Hawthorne High School, class of 1965.

Dorell Wright of the Miami Heat grew up in Hawthorne.

Actor Butch Patrick of TV's The Munsters also lived in Hawthorne for a short time. He drove a black Corvette.

Hawthorne has also been the setting for several movie shoots. The abandoned Hawthorne Mall was used to film parking garage scenes of The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift.

The movie Pulp Fiction has two characters dine in the Hawthorne Grill.

Scenes from Jackie Brown were filmed inside of the Cockatoo Inn.

Hawthorne was used for The Dead Girl, a movie with Spider-Man star James Franco.

Portions of the movie Speed were filmed in Hawthorne, on the as yet unopened 105 Freeway.

Many of the members of the band IRATE (Infinite Rebellion Against The Establishment) come from Hawthorne and attended Leuzinger High School.

Multiple winning jackpot tickets for Mega Millions was sold in Hawthorne, May 11, 2007 drawing, the annuity value was $112 million; two persons shared the ticket, choosing the cash option. They split $67 million.

Scenes from the TV show Medium, The OC, & CSI were filmed in various locations.

Gary Coleman was working as a security guard when a fan asked him for an autograph. This is when he went to court and pleaded "no contest" to the battery charges.

The movie The Fast and the Furious was filmed on Prairie avenue in Hawthorne. The scene was the first drag scene where Brian O'Conner first met Dominic Toretto.

My personal favorite about Hawthore? This is the place known to rock and roll fans as the home of Brian, Carl, and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys. Although it was honored by the dedication of the Beach Boys Historic Landmark (California Landmark 1041) in May 2005.

The monument, located at 3701 W. 119th Street, Hawthorne, California, stands on the site of their childhome home, which was demolished in the mid-1980s during construction of the 105 Freeway.

The image face of the landmark was inspired by the album cover of "Surfer Girl." The current line up of the Beach Boys at that time was of Brian, Carl and Dennis, Mike Love and David Marks.


Al Jardine, the group's original guitarist, would later rejoin the band soon before David's departure. It is because of this, there are six Beach Boys represented in the impression in respect of Brian, Dennis, Carl, Al, Mike and David. Six 45 gold records circle the base of the landmark with the names of the six Beach Boys represented on the monument's image face. The names of donors, Wilson friends and family members and the Beach Boys Landmark Committee can be found engraved in the monument bricks.

The landmark plaque reads,

It was here in the home of parents Murry and Audree that Brian, Dennis, and Carl Wilson grew to manhood and developed their musical skills. During Labor Day Weekend 1961, they, with cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine, gathered here to record a tape of their breakthrough song "Surfin." This marked the birth of the rock group known worldwide as the Beach Boys and the beginning of an historic musical legacy that would change the recording industry. The music of the Wilsons broadcast to the world an image of California as a place of sun, surf and romance. Brian Wilson would become a legendary producer, arranger and songwriter.

My opinion of Hawthorne:
One must look beyond the surface, and day dream of the time when it was quiet. I think it's way too crowded and every piece of property that's vacant someone tends to build a housing development or business. I also think that it went from a decent sub-urb community to a modern day ghetto. Hawthorne is the city of good neighbors. And they're still out there...somewhere.

Whenever I drive around town I pretend I'm in that Beach Boy era. I try to look into the heart of Hawthorne as if it's still in it's prime. Where have all the good times gone? In the pages of the history book.



About the Writer

'Mean' Mike Duffau is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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7 comments on The History of Hawthorne

Log In To Vote   Score: 3
By VeroniqueChevalier on October 24, 2007 at 11:46 am
Why is it that so many of us have a tendency to look back nostalgically to the "Good Old Days" that never were? Beats me, but there is big money to be made from this basically idiotic human tendency: "Ozzie & Harriet", "American Graffiti", or "Happy Days" anyone...?
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By Venditto on October 24, 2007 at 05:24 pm
neat stuff.
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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on October 25, 2007 at 12:21 am
thanks for the kind words. jen, thanks for the back-up! you're a champ for that. VeroniqueChevalier, i value your opinion but you got to apprieciate the past.
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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on October 25, 2007 at 08:45 pm
indeed champ!! keep up the good work.
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By HHS Cougar on October 22, 2008 at 07:45 pm

As I recently said to a friend, it is fun to reminisce about the past as long as you don’t stay too long or worse get stuck there.  But I have to say Hawthorne in the 60’s was pretty much like the songs told.  I was there.  If anyone is interested in learning a little more I have a video titled The History of Hawthorne on YouTube.  Surf’s up, Dudes!

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By Lucy Ong on October 22, 2008 at 08:54 pm

Nostalgia for what we remember is very comforting.

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By 'Mean' Mike Duffau on October 22, 2008 at 09:21 pm

hhs and lucy: thanks for swingin' by memory lane

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