|Zaferia: Out of the mists of Long Beach's past|
Zaferia: Out of the mists of Long Beach's past
By Greg Mellen, Staff Writer
From that station travelers could either go south down Redondo Avenue then west to downtown, or continue southeast to Seal Beach and other Orange County beach cities.
Several years later, an enterprising developer named Joseph Ray began selling acre lots for $100, and a small business and residential community was born.
In 1909, the area got a fire station, in 1910, a post office and in 1913, its own newspaper.
It was also the home of the original Virginia Country Club, at the site of the current Recreation Park.
With its own water source, the rail line and the energetic Ray, Zaferia enjoyed its status as the bold country cousin to the more uptight Long Beach. Among Zaferia's advantages? Alcohol. Long Beach was dry.
Zaferia was officially subsumed by Long Beach on Labor Day 1920. The Zaferia signs were taken down at the depot and library, but the community went on.
The oil boom in nearby Signal Hill led to explosive growth in East Long Beach and the city as a whole.
Since then the area has forged its identity both on its own and as a part of Long Beach.
While the city continued to expand eastward and now many see "East Long Beach" as comprising the more affluent areas near Cal State Long Beach, those who live in the old Zaferia area see their area as the real East Long Beach.
The 1933 earthquake and 1992 race riots shook the neighborhood. After a period of decline, the Anaheim corridor is trying to rebuild itself as a vibrant business stretch and recently earned the Cambodia Town designation through part of Zaferia.
One mystery endures, however. Where did that name come from? Neeley says the answer to that is still lost in history somewhere.
It may have been named after R.H. Zaferia, a resident of Long Beach and school board member, although with no apparent connection to the district. Or the Zaferia Pass in Andalucia, Spain. Or it could just come from an old obscure Spanish word meaning small village or farmhouse, although dictionaries don't recognize the word.
Maybe some mysteries are meant to remain.
More information is available online at www.zaferia.com.