An Interesting Look at the History of the Hollywood Riviera

The Ellinwood Riviera Legacy

By Elizabeth A. Spatz, Riviera Homeowners Association Historian

Recently I was researching the history of my home in the Torrance Riviera and learned from its original 1956 building permit, that its provenance began with an owner referred to as the “Ellinwood Corporation.” I was not familiar with the name Ellinwood, and was compelled to learn more. What I discovered—a heritage stemming from the Civil War era and California’s Rancho days, routed through some of San Francisco’s founding medical community—was not what I expected.

Charles Norman Ellinwood, born in Vermont in 1834, became a well-respected physician in the San Francisco Bay area. Attending medical school in Chicago in 1858 and continuing his studies in Paris until 1862, he joined the 74th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment, assembled in Rockford, IL on 4 Sept. 1862, and operated as a surgeon in the U.S. Civil War for Lincoln’s army until his discharge as medical director on 10 June 1865. In 1866,

Dr. C.N. Ellinwood moved to San Francisco, married Elizabeth Steele McDowell of New York, and settled into a prominent career in medicine, serving on the boards of Cooper Medical College, the Regents of the State University of California, and as president of the San Francisco Medical Society.

Photoograph of Dr. C.N. Ellinwood, ca. 1865.

In the course of his successful medical career, C.N. Ellinwood had befriended his colleague, Dr. Levi Cooper Lane, founder of the Cooper Medical College and Lane Hospital, both institutions having been under Ellinwood’s leadership for a time. At Dr. Lane’s death in May of 1902, the task of distributing his estate was left to Ellinwood, who, following the death of Lane’s widow just six months later, chose to retain the majority of the holdings as his own property, maintaining that the estate was left to him unconditionally by Mrs. Lane. One of the properties in Dr. Lane’s estate was a plot of land located in Southern California, purchased by Lane for taxes and identified as Lot B in an 1882 partition map of the Rancho Los Palos Verdes.

Click here to see the rest of the story!

Save the Date for the Next Riviera Homeowners Association General Meeting 4/12/23

April’s meeting will be online only this time. The Zoom link and more information on the speakers will be posted before the meeting.

As always, we cannot do these without you and your support. Please consider making a donation to help keep us going and keep you informed of important information.

Free Household Hazardous and Electronic Waste Drive-Thru Collection Event

Don’t let that hazardous waste and old electronics sit around!

Date: 03/19/2023 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM   

Location: Torrance Courthouse Parking Lot
825 Maple Ave.
Torrance, California 90503

For more information on what you can bring and cannot bring, please view this page

Make Art Inspired Poppies!

Date: March 18 2023 10:00 AM 
Location:El Retiro Library
126 Vista Del Parque

In honor of Women’s History Month, adults are invited to create beautiful paper poppies inspired by the work of artist Georgia OKeeffe. Please call Library staff at 310-375-0922 to register.


Airport Noise Update – Recap of Last Week’s Meeting


Even with short notice, there were over 100 residents who filled the room at the Katy Geissert Library on February 6th for a meeting, arranged by City Staff, with HOA representatives and Sling Pilot Academy. Each group made presentations and then attendees were each given one minute to make their points.

Sling passed out a flyer of their suggested ideas, which were good, but only voluntary. That was not an acceptable solution for the HOA representatives and others in the audience.

Many speakers mentioned the impact of noise on their homes and their wish that the rules for pilots were more than voluntary. Some spoke about enforcing the City Muni Code no-left-turn rule, others were very upset at pilots from other areas coming here to practice touch-and-goes for free. There was only one pilot who expressed his concerns about increased regulations which he felt might result in shutting down the airport. No other pilots appeared to be in the large audience.

As a result of the meeting, and in response to residents’ requests, City staff have scheduled a meeting next week with only HOA representatives, to discuss a possible resolution of the ongoing issues involving aircraft noise and the role of the flight schools at Zamperini Field. Residents are impatient for some relief and the City needs to find a way to give it to us.

Grappling With Racism – League of Women Voters Sponsors Forum February 23

The City of Torrance is hosting the League of Women Voters South Bay Area’s Forum on “Grappling with Racism, Bias, and Discrimination” on Thursday, February 23, 2023 in the Toyota Meeting Hall, at the Torrance Cultural Arts Center. The event is free, but registration is required. 

Click here for more information and to register

Reminder: Torrance Airport Noise Abatement meeting this Monday

A reminder to Hollywood Riviera and nearby residents feeling impacted by increasing aircraft noise – Monday at 6:00 pm at the Torrance main library the city is hosting a meeting to further discuss potential actions. Representatives from the flight training schools will be there as well as the pilot community. To learn more, and especially if you have solutions to propose, you should attend. For more information, see our previous post on the issue.

The RHA General Meeting on January 17th 2023 featured Torrance Councilperson Mike Griffith.  His presentation included important information regarding housing and zoning legislation from Sacramento that severely impacts local control of planning and construction.

Important Noise Abatement Meeting, 2/6/23 and City Council Meeting 2/7/23

We invite concerned neighbors to attend a meeting that has been called by Shant Megerdichian, General Services Director for the City of Torrance, Michelle Ramirez at Community Development (which runs the Noise Abatement Program), other administrators from the City, and the owners/directors of Sling Aircraft Academy, the largest flight training school at Torrance airport (Zamperini Field).

    Meeting date:   Monday, February 6

    Time:                 6:00 PM

     Location:            Meeting room inside the Katy Geissert Library (main library)

The purpose of this meeting is to ask if Homeowner Associations and residents will accept an offer from Sling to voluntarily not use the southern runway for training flights.   They have been doing this for two weeks now.  The sticking point is that Sling refuses to sign a written contract or lease agreement on any action.

If they refuse to sign an agreement in writing, they are not legally bound to follow that rule and it will be impossible to enforce.  The past activities of Sling pilots indicate that they are interested in doing what they want to do, and they are not bothered if they disturb nearby Torrance residents. Still, we can comment on their ideas.

Here is what Sling is proposing and what concerned residents are proposing:  


  • South runway not used for flight training.
  • South runway only used for departure and return. Upon Departure, aircraft will only turn left after the shoreline. 
  • Flight Schools will send scheduled groups of training flights to OTHER Airports.
  • Flight Schools will stagger flights to avoid having planes fly all at once.

Residents of South Torrance and the Hollywood Riviera are proposing:

  • Written agreements, ie., permits, leases, or contracts.
  • Sling to agree to fly within ½ mile of the airport on the north side, to avoid impacting residential areas (New Horizons, Hickory).
  • If the FAA is involved, the control tower needs to stop approving requests to train on the south side.
  • Ability to see if current leases or permits already require compliance with the Municipal Code sections limiting operations, and if environmental impacts were considered.
  • Stop using leaded fuel by a certain date.

The day after this noise abatement meeting, Feb. 7th is the City Council meeting.  We want to see what the City Council comes back with regarding other options such as landing fees, identifying the airport as a public nuisance, enforcing no early left turns, installing more noise monitors  on the south side away from the airport.  Before we can talk further with the flight schools, we want to know what the City intends to do. 

If you haven’t seen it, please watch the city council meeting on Jan. 24, Item 9B ,when  council filed the minutes of the Transportation Committee meeting.  Residents came forward and told how they were severely affected by airport noise in their homes.  Afterward, the council asked that the staff investigate how to declare the Torrance Airport a Public Nuisance. Wow!!

See you on the 6th or 7 th     … or Feb 9th (Airport Commission Meeting)

Decorative Succulents

Saturday, February 11, 2023 at 10:00 a.m. at El Retiro Library

Succulents are attractive resilient plants that thrive both indoors and outside with limited water. Join us to decorate a pot and then plant your own succulent to take home. Registration is required and limited to 20 participants. Please call the El Retiro Library at 310-375-0922 to register.

City Council Takes Steps On Airport Noise, Jan 24

Are you still frustrated by airport noise?  Us, too. 

Once again, we are asking you to come to City Council to urge the Council to consider the needs of residents over pilots.  The meeting is Tuesday, January 24, Item 9B at City Hall at 6:30.  Help us keep our demands consistent by all of us asking for the same things: 

  1. Enforce the no-early-left-turn rule as written in the Municipal Code, including training flights, as intended.
  2. Close and begin removing the south runway.
  3. Recommend that pilots using the north runway fly as close as possible to the airport and avoid flying over residential areas.
  4. Evaluate potential environmental impacts in accordance with CEQA before approving or renewing a permit/lease to any flight training school.  

These are steps that the City, which owns the airport, can easily take that will reduce airport traffic over the entire City.  

The length of time that it has taken the City to take steps to reduce noise, and the lack of transparency of City Staff is unacceptable.   Read the minutes of the Transportation Committee meeting below, which was promised to be posted publicly but wasn’t, note the amount of time and negotiations spent with pilots, while residents were not invited or consulted, and you’ll be even angrier!  The City staff is snubbing the thousands of residents who are suffering from constant diving and climbing planes, while catering to a few pilots.

Please come and speak at the meeting!!  There are Council members who will listen. City Council makes the final decisions on the airport management.

Thank you! 
Your Riviera Homeowners Association

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