The creator of the famous Facebook page has all the answers to your questions about our fair city
By HEATHER KERN
The Edge is proud to team with Long Beach, Kalif. in bringing you a monthly Q&A about our diverse city. We will explore the clichés of a beach town, a port town, a multicultural town, a town of neighborhoods, dive bars, vintage shops, breakfast joints and those that reside, work, and visit Long Beach. Send your Long Beach-related questions for Ask LBK at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Long Beach, Kalif and The Edge on Facebook. #asklbk
Q: “Where can I go besides the Queen Mary for a good ol’ fashioned haunting?” – The Hebrew Hammer
A: There are several local urban myths regarding hauntings in Long Beach, and local author Claudine Burnette has written several books detailing them all. I am most familiar with Igor’s Alley located in Virginia Country Club and the most recent tales of DeForest Park. Igor’s Alley was run behind a large brick estate that appeared abandoned and would become a rite of passage for young teens. A friend would take you to the alley and tell variations of a story about a murdered family. Then, you were dared to peek over the wall.
The stories about Deforest Park are much more intriguing; tales of encounters with a raggedy woman that would make for fun ghost hunting. Though, for my money, the best place to go for a good spook is the Sunnyside Memorial Cemetery and the Long Beach Municipal Cemetery.
Sunnyside was developed in June 1907. There were 3,500 lots of burying grounds with ample room for five graves per lot, giving the Silent City (as they referred to it in early newspapers) the capacity to house 17,500 persons. No one knows for sure how old the Long Beach Municipal cemetery really is. The oldest marked grave is that of Milton F. Neece, who was buried in 1878 at the tender age of 17. Locals recounted seeing a man who used to visit the cemetery in the 1930’s, and who had told the sexton that his father was buried there years ago when the man was just a boy. Since the man appeared to be in his eighties, it could push the date of the cemetery as far back as the 1850’s. The Long Beach Historical Society has been giving tours of this century old cemetery for 21 years, and they dress up and take you grave to grave telling stories about the dearly departed.
Q: There is a tunnel that runs under Ocean Boulevard and Pine Avenue. Is it ever open to the public? I’m dying to go inside! – Brittany Harvel
Q: When is Jergins Tunnel open to the public ? I would love to visit this DTLB historic site? – Digging for Answers
A: Unfortunately, the tunnel is not open to the public. Built in 1927 and opened to the public in 1928, the Jergins Tunnel – a.k.a. Jergins Pedestrian Subway – was named after pioneer oil baron Andrew T. Jergins. It was built to create safe passage to the beach, and also lead to The Pike amusement park. With no stop signs or traffic signals on the corner of Pine Avenue and Ocean Boulevard – a.k.a. “The Cross Roads of Long Beach” – the city decided to build what they termed, The Pedestrian Subway. The tunnel connected with the Jergins Arcade and hosted a series of shops along the way which opened at the far end at The Pike. This area was sometimes called The Village. The Jergins Subway had no shops except during the 1930’s during the depression when people were allowed to open booths along the walls. These were taken out in 1940. The tunnel was sealed in the mid 60’s, and the north end was paved over to accommodate a hotel while the south end is temporarily visible due to a redevelopment of the property currently under way.
In 2007, the city reopened the Jergins Tunnel for Long Beach’s University by the Sea festival. Several local event organizers have looked into using the space and have been denied due to lack of emergency exits and restrooms. I would not be surprised if some day in the near future there are tours of some kind – or maybe that is just wishful thinking.
Thanks for the questions Long Beach, and keep ’em coming!