A step into the historic beach cottage at Polliwog Park is a bit like a step back in time, and for good reason. The beach cottage, known as the “Little Red House,” is the home of the Manhattan Beach Historical Society.
The Manhattan Beach Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the heritage of Manhattan Beach, and to the collection and display of historical information and memorabilia about the city. A non-profit society with all-volunteer help, the aim of the Manhattan Beach Historical Society is to educate citizens on the history of Manhattan Beach through artifact and photo displays, books, videos, films, historic newspaper articles and historical recordings. The museum located at the historic 1905 beach cottage also includes a bookstore and gift shop.
Quite simply, it’s a great place to learn about some of the Manhattan Beach icons, like the famous PE trolley and the different versions of the Manhattan Beach Pier, as well as the development of the area since 1875.
The Society holds free quarterly meetings that feature speakers who cover various subjects on local history. They also publish a quarterly newsletter. The Society has published two hard cover pictorial history books: Manhattan Beach 90266 and I'll Take Manhattan, as well as a series of monographs and brochures that trace the growth of the city.
The cottage itself has been involved in some Manhattan Beach history. The "Little Red House" serves as a tribute to the community's founders, as well as the Society's museum. A typical beach cottage of the time period, it was originally built at 205 Fifteenth Street and moved to Polliwog Park in 1986. While it was restored by the City of Manhattan Beach, the Neptunian Woman's Club (founded in 1909), and the Manhattan Beach Historical Society, most of the labor and materials were donated by the community.
According to its website, the Society began as a committee in the early 1970s and incorporated as a non-profit, tax exempt organization in 1977. The museum is open from Noon-3pm on the weekends, and donations are accepted. Memberships are also available, and if you’re interested in becoming more involved or just learning more about your local history, quarterly meetings featuring a lecture on local history are held on the fourth Saturday of each month starting at 11:00 a.m.
Manhattan Beach Historical Society
1601 Manhattan Beach Boulevard
Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Phone: 310- 374-7575