About Us

The Manhattan Beach Historical Society is dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the heritage of Manhattan Beach, and to the collection and display of historical information and memorabilia about the city. The Society began as a committee in the early 1970s and incorporated as a non-profit, tax exempt organization on October 20, 1977. All officers and museum staff are volunteers.

Our headquarters are in the historic beach cottage located in Polliwog Park at 1601 Manhattan Beach Boulevard.

This beach cottage or “Little Red House” serves as tribute to the community’s founders, and as the Society’s museum. It is a typical beach cottage of the time, built in 1905 at 205 Fifteenth Street. The cottage was moved to Polliwog Park in 1986, and restored by the City of Manhattan Beach, the Neptunian Woman’s Club (founded in 1909), and the Manhattan Beach Historical Society.  Most of the labor and materials were donated by the community. The grand opening was on May 13, 1990.  When stepping into the historical beach cottage, one gets a sense of stepping back in time.

The museum is staffed by knowledgeable docents who may use the following teaching tools to describe the history of Manhattan Beach to museum visitors:

  • Extensive museum displays, memorabilia and photographs
  • Historical series of monographs (for sale)
  • Old newspaper articles and a series of videos (for viewing only)
  • Free historical flyers


The officers of the Manhattan Beach Historical Society are all volunteers. The Board consists of 9 members. They meet the fourth Thursday of every month at the Beach Cottage. Contact Gary McAuly if you have proposed agenda items.
The current officers and members of the board of directors are:
  • Gary McAulay - President
  • Wayne Powell - Vice President
  • Martha Andreani - Recording Secretary
  • Phil Cook - Treasurer
  • Bob Hoff - Docent Director
  • Peggy Sullivan - Director
  • Kristin Long - Director
  • Mark Burton - Director
A list of the previous presidents (by fiscal year which is for July 1 of the previous year through June 30 of that year) follows:
  • Merle Culbert (1978)
  • Mary Davids (1979)
  • Wilmer Drake (1980)
  • Judith Scott (1981)
  • Judith Scott/Shirley Pratt (1982)
  • Shirley Pratt (1983)
  • Bettie Donahoe (1984)
  • Evelyn Giese (1985)
  • Mary Davids/Julia Tedesco (1986)
  • Julia Tedesco (1987)
  • Keith Robinson (1988 through 1991)
  • John Post / Judy Scott (1992)
  • Bonnie Beckerson (1993 through 1996)
  • Betty Mallery (1997)
  • Bonnie Beckerson (1998 through 2004)
  • Betty Mallery (2005 and 2006)
  • Steve Meisenholder (2007 through 2012)