A woman and a live tiger stand outside Jamaica Bay Inn to promote the 1969 Marina Fair, one of many community festivals produced by local Rotarians and the former Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce.

A woman and a live tiger stand outside Jamaica Bay Inn to promote the 1969 Marina Fair, one of many community festivals produced by local Rotarians and the former Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce.

(Click here to see more historical photos)

Among the very first people to live in Marina del Rey, Willie Hjorth and her husband John took up residence on a 36-foot catamaran docked outside the Tahiti Marina apartments in 1963. In short order she was leading the local live-aboard association, heading up the women’s sailing program at the California Yacht Club and helping launch what would become the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade.

Greg Wenger arrived with his family in late 1969 and quickly established himself as the marina’s leading photographer, documenting harbor life for corporate clients, county government and a plucky local media start-up called The Argonaut.

As time went by they amassed thousands of pictures — Hjorth’s event albums, Wenger’s life’s work, gifted photo collections and a trove of L.A. County images dating back to the 1890s.

In 2007, Hjorth and Wenger officially incorporated the nonprofit Marina del Rey Historical Society to not only protect that collection, but to also grow it and share it with the world. Last year the society — now run by an 18-member board — opened a public gallery at Fisherman’s Village and produced “Images of America: Marina del Rey,” a 128-page photo book that includes many of the images included in this issue.

— Joe Piasecki

Call (310) 701-1073 or visit marinadelreyhistoricalsociety.org to learn more.

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