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Laguna Beach

 Volume 12, Issue 65  |  August 14, 2020

Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

In this 1945 World War II photo, a group of Marines are enjoying a weenie roast on Main Beach. It is a special photo in that it shows three things you will likely never see again.

1. An actual weenie roast on the beach. Hot dogs were first invented in America in the late 19th century. Soon, a nickname for them was wieners, which was shortened to weenie. They were originally served on small towels to prevent customers’ hands from burning. But when the towels were not returned the idea came up to put the wiener on a small roll, which created the hot dog as we know it today.

Hot dogs became very popular during World War I especially in the Coney Island area. The concept of a weenie roast on the beach became popular after a 1931 black and white cartoon by Disney nemesis Charles Mintz, starring Krazy Kat.

Laguna Beach A Look Back 2 11 20

A group of Marines enjoy a weenie roast on Main Beach, circa 1945

Weenie roasts were very popular through the depression to the 60s. However, as beach towns added restrictive ordinances they became rare, and today almost extinct.

2. An open fire on the beach. Fairly commonplace from the 20s to the 70s, many beachside communities outlawed them citing pollution and safety concerns. Laguna Beach was no exception.

3. Temporary shelters on our beach. If you look in the back of the photo, you’ll see what appears to be a temporary structure built on the sand. Toward the end of the 20th century, safety codes rendered these obsolete.

This photo is a reminder that our service men, in this case Marines, were stationed here in town during World War II. Many returned after the war to become local residents.

Now if you have a sudden urge to go to Penguin for a hotdog to-go and eat it on the sand in Main Beach, no one will blame you.

• • •

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

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Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, Stacia Stabler and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

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