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Landmark Hermosa: The Community Center

If you guessed the Community Center on Pier Avenue for our trivia this morning, you were right.

At the intersection of Pier Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway sits the Hermosa Beach Community Center.

The building houses many neighborhood programs and services, including: the historical society museum, a gymnasium to shoot hoops, the senior activity center Hermosa Five-O and the new Emergency Operations Center, which opens Wednesday. 

But nearly 100 years ago, that street corner was where children in grades three through nine went every morning for classes at the Pier Avenue School, built to accommodate the increasing number of Hermosa families at the time.

Tragedy shook the foundation of the school in March 1933 when a magnitude 6.25 Long Beach earthquake hit the South Bay. The earthquake struck after classes adjourned so no children were injured, but parts of the brick building crumbled.

The school was rebuilt within a year by the Works Progress Administration, and turned into the Pier Avenue Junior High School. New additions were made to the structure, including a gymnasium and 500-seat auditorium, before the school closed due to declining enrollment numbers in 1975.  

Hollywood made use of the building, as the school's gymnasium and girl's shower room were filming locations for parts of the 1976 Stephen King thriller "Carrie."

The City of Hermosa Beach bought the school building that year, making small renovations to the art deco design before its tenure began as the Hermosa Beach Community Center.

Congratulations to Rick Koenigthe Hermosa Beach Historical Society president,  for winning today's Landmark Hermosa. We'll have a new landmark to guess next Friday.

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