MR. LONG BEACH: Moving Machinery and the Long Beach Olympics



Q. Several times a month these huge things are escorted down Ocean Boulevard late in the evening by California Highway Patrol with their sirens. What is it and where does it go? – Cookie Braude

A. When I first looked at Cookie’s picture it reminded me of the specially-built vehicle that was used to transport a giant rock across Southern California in 2012.

I asked the public information officer at CHP what they were escorting on the night of Wednesday, Feb. 12. He didn’t know, but sent me to the CHP’s commercial division, which handles these types of things.

The officers in the commercial division told me they escort things all the time, and while this wasn’t anything special, it is big – about a million pounds.

The item in question was a power transformer for Southern California Edison. The equipment was headed from Pier F in the Port of Long Beach to Rosamond.

All together it’s 240 feet long and 20 feet wide. Its highest point is 17 feet off the ground.


Long Beach Olympics

We watch a lot of Olympic in Mr. Long Beach’s house. Every couple of years the kids get in the Olympic spirit – we throw a party, watch the opening ceremonies, and serve food from the host country. Well, every year except 2010. We just couldn’t find any tasty Canadian food.

For the past few weeks my wife has been urging me to write about Long Beach’s various Olympics connections. I’m sure I’ll leave something or someone out. So, in no particular order, here they are:

The Belmont Plaza Olympic Pool. I’ve heard many Long Beachers talk about the pool’s role in the Olympics. Some think it was used in the 1932 Los Angeles Games. It wasn’t. The natatorium opened in 1968 and hosted the U.S. Olympic Swim Trials that year as well as 1976. The pool was permanently closed last year because of seismic concerns. A replacement building is being planned.

When the pool opened it was called the Taj Mahal of swim stadiums, but by the time the swim trials returned to Long Beach, in 2004, it was too small. A temporary pool was built downtown that year.

The Sochi Friendship Tree. In 1992, Long Beach received a lemon tree from the most recent Olympic host city. It was grafted from a tree in Russia as part of the sister cities program. The citrus tree is off Seventh Street at Recreation Park.

El Dorado Park was the site of archery in the 1984 Olympics.

Long Beach Marine Stadium. The rowing venue was built in 1923 but was expanded for the 1932 Olympic Games. At the time it was the first man-made rowing venue.

The list of Long Beach Olympians is too long to mention in this column – the obvious ones are swimmer Jessica Hardy, volleyballer Misty May-Treanor and water polo’s Tony Azevedo.

How about the lesser known athletes? They include swimmer Susie Atwood (1968, 1972); rowers John Van Blom (1968, 1972, 1976) and his wife, rower Joan Lind (1976, 1984); runner Bryshon Nellum (2012); four-time gold medal diver Pat McCormick (1952, 1956); and 1948 London Olympic gold medal wrestler Wilber (Moose) Thompson.

And, I can’t forget Olympian Angela Madsen – she earned a bronze in the discus at the 2012 Paralympic Games.

If you weren’t around for either of the last two Olympiads in Southern California, don’t worry. Los Angeles bids to host future games have included venues in Long Beach.