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LONG BEACH : Marine Stadium Earns Landmark Status

August 11, 1994|JOHN POPE

A state commission has granted historic landmark status to Marine Stadium, the Long Beach inland waterway created for Olympic rowing competitions in 1932.

The mile-long channel, carved from a saltwater bog, is the first man-made rowing facility made for Olympic competition.

The historic designation, approved this week by the nine-member state Historic Resources Commission, recognizes the site as having "exceptional importance and a high level of historic value," said Ruthann Lehrer, Long Beach's historic preservation officer. "It means a place is . . . the first, the only or the most unique of its kind."

However, the status does not give Marine Stadium special protection from any future development, Lehrer said.

Marine Stadium has played host to three U.S. Olympic rowing trials and numerous aquatic championships, as well as recreational boating, swimming and rowing.

During the 1932 Olympics, which coincided with the Great Depression, many out-of-work fans came to Marine Stadium and climbed nearby oil derricks to watch eight U.S. rowers win gold medals.

Rowing enthusiast Larry Goodhue, who has pushed for several years to have Marine Stadium given historic status, said the designation "commemorates the first time in history that Long Beach was put on the world stage."

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