Belle Lowe visits the area for the first time and nicknames it, “Long Beach.”


In 1884, a woman named Belle Lowe visited Willmore City for the first time. She loved the ocean views of the community, and believed its miles-long beach could be an attraction to boost tourism. Following her instincts, Lowe petitioned to change the name of the city officially to Long Beach from Willmore City.

In order to legitimize the comunity throughout this process, Lowe took steps to form the city’s first public school, which was “held in a tent at the corner of Pine Avenue and First Street.”

Belle Lowe and local women raised $75 to hire the school’s first teacher, Grace Bush. She was 16 at the time.

Grace Bush_Long Beach First Schoolteacher_LAPL Archives

Image Caption:

Grace Bush stands with her first students in an 1885 photograph. Long Beach’s First Schoolteacher,” Los Angeles Public Library Photo Collection.