When one looks at the Port of Long Beach (POLB) — the second-busiest container port in the United States and a generator of $100 billion in trade — the term “worthless mudflat” usually does not come to mind.
But that’s what the once 800-acre port was more than a hundred years ago. Its history will soon be available this summer through an in-depth, 500-page history book titled Port Town.
“It chronicles all the struggles, the critical decisions, the landmark policies and the amazing stories of the people who helped link Long Beach to the world,” Harbor Commission President Doug Drummond said in a recent promotional video.
Drummond, a history buff, suggested POLB officials commission the book after realizing the lack of comprehensive publications written about the port.
“It’s our history, Long Beach, and one we should all know and be proud to call our own,” he said.
Two years ago, port officials sent out a request for qualified writers. The writers were asked to draft a proposal in addition to providing their qualifications.
George and Carmela Cunningham were ultimately picked for the job, appealing to officials through their experience as publishers of a widely-read maritime newsletter and their knowledge of Long Beach.
“I like that the Cunninghams focused on such a colorful cast of characters,” said POLB Public Information Officer Art Wong.
“The book is filled with soldiers of fortune, land-grabbers, lovers, dreamers and builders that seem to come out of a novel, a fictional book” Wong said. “But they’re part of the real history of the port.”
The book will be launched June 20 at the Long Beach Public Library Foundation’s Grape Expectation fundraising gala, during which attendees will receive the first copies. The book will then be available to the general public via an e-book and a print-demand version at very nominal costs, Wong said.
For more information on the book go to porttown.polb.com.