A 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocks Long Beach, killing at least 49 and severely damaging more than 200 school buildings. A resulting wave of investment in education leads to the founding of Jordan High School, and its first buildings are completed in 1935.


At 5:45 pm on March 10. 1933, a 6.4 magnitude earthquake rocked Long Beach, destroying buildings and killing between 49 and 52 people within the city itself and a total of 115 to 120 throughout the area. It remains the second deadliest in California history, surpassed only by the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, which claimed 3,000 lives.

The damage from the Long Beach Earthquake prompted investment in the city’s buildings. This investment included new education centers like David Starr Jordan High School.

In 1936, the North Long Beach (Gundry) fire station was constructed. Built in the Mission Style, the architecture of the station romanticizes the history of the Spanish Missions that dominated early California. Today, the fire station is a City of Long Beach historic landmark. It houses a community garden and serves as the field office of Vice Mayor Rex Richardson.

Sources we used and further reading on this era of Long Beach:

  • Long Beach Earthquake: March 10, 1933. Dir. Cloyd E. Louis. 1933. California Light and Sound from Ontario City Library, Robert E. Ellingwood Model Colony History Room. Ontario City Library, Robert E. Ellingwood Model Colony History Room.

  • Cunningham, George, and Cunningham, Carmela. Port Town: How the People of Long Beach Built, Defended, and Profited from Their Harbor.  First ed. (Long Beach, CA: Queen Beach Printers Inc., 2015), 257.


Image Captions:

  1. Long Beach Firemen stand in front of the newly-completed North Long Beach (Gundry) fire station, 1939. Long Beach Fireman’s Historical Museum Photographs Collection.