balboa island improvement association

improving the island since 1918

about biia - visit and see what we are about and who our leaders are... see the links below...

RENTALS - Whether your renting, buying, or just staying a day or two... see the links below...

Destinations - Here are just some of the greater destinations on the island... see the links below...

Shop & Dine - Activities are in abundance here on the island. Learn more about us by selecting from the links below...


about balboa island - Activities are in abundance here on the island. Learn more about us by selecting from the links below...

Maps and travel - balboa island -whether your flying, driving, or walking, here are the maps that can get you there...

Events - balboa island - Has Several Annual Celebrations - Make sure you catch one of these...

Find out more about the BIIA or read our Bi-Monthly Newsletter to See Whats Happening... See links below...

Welcome to Balboa Island, CA

This is the Balboa Island Improvement Association's guide to Balboa Island. This guide offers listings of accommodations, activities, activities, maps, and travel information. Hopefully, this guide shall assist our visitors in enjoying the best of what Balboa Island has to offer. Stop by and stay a while, and see why many refer to this beautiful island as "The Host of the Coast".

 

grand canal on Balboa Island, California

In 1908 and 1909, with permission of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, William Collins, a real estate promoter from Pasedena, moved his small dredge to the eastern part of the Newport bay, a mud flat called "Snipe Island," and begin cutting a channel along the north side of the bay across from the Pavilion, pilling the sand and silt up on the mud flat and thus Balboa Island was born.

Welcome to Balboa Island :

History of Balboa Island - Come see what made this historic island great.

About The balboa island improvement association

In 1918 the Balboa Island Improvement Association was started (and is still going strong). The BIIA was a strong motivating force in working with the City on bulkhead repair, ferry service, a sewer system, water, gas, electricity, paved streets and sidewalks, and street lighting.

At this same time an advertising campaign was prepared offering lots

for $350.00 - $750.00. The high-priced lots were located on the waterfront. However, despite the advertisements, Collins originally sold lots on the Island for as little as $25, with promises that all streets, sewers and street lights would be soon installed and a bridge and ferry service would soon follow. Soon thereafter, construction began for the ferry landing, streets were staked out, lots were mapped, and a few narrow sidewalks were built.

Balboa Island was a summer vacation place. Most homes had no heaters, and were closed up in the winter. Families came down for the entire summer. Cooking was done on a gasoline stove as there was no gas or electricity. Coal oil lanterns and candles were used. The first "seawall", a wooden bulkhead that protected part of the Island, was built in 1909. This 14-inch wooden bulkhead was built along the south side of the island and an impromptu sewer system was laid out with pipes draining onto the beaches at their low tide levels to keep the discharge out of sight. This was partially replaced by a cement barrier (cheap German cement) in 1912. Water lines to the Island were first laid in 1914.

The seawall was rebuilt in 1922. The Grand Canal wooden bulkhead and walk was rebuilt with concrete in 1929. The present day Bayfront bulkheads, walks and public piers were completed in 1938.

In 1924, the narrow bridge to Balboa Island was replaced with two lanes of wood. That bridge existed until 1928, when it was demolished to make way for a Concrete Bridge. Some of the wood from the old bridge was used to construct the building next to the "Jolly Roger" restaurant on Marine Avenue. (now Wilma's). In 1929, a new Concrete Bridge was built and served for 51 years. In 1981, the Bridge was replaced with a modern concrete structure with 9' wide walks.

Events on The Island

Balboa Island has several activities and events throughout the season and 2012 is no exception. Hotels and pubs provide music and entertainment in high season and at weekends. Visit the Event Directory. This list shows some of the events taking place this summer; more will be added as they are announced and full details will be published as soon as they become available. It is advisable to check local papers and tourist offices to ensure you don't miss any of the local events!