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Old Salt Lake | Virtual Museum

The Great Sand Dune

A resource showing measurements of the exact height of the great sand dune that originally existed next to / immediately west of the Old Salt Lake.

The 1946 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers "General Plan Of Improvement Redondo Beach Harbor" measured the height of the dune. 1946 was the last year the dune existed as, with the approval of the City of Redondo Beach, Southern California Edison removed/leveled the dune to put the current version of the power plant there. The dune had already been graded at least twice before 1946. Still, in 1946, the dune, which extended along the entire expanse of the Old Salt Lake, was measured at 20+ feet in height, one point of it reaching 38 feet high.

[ Detail of 1946 plan ]

An 1889 LA newspaper article describes the feature as “a sort of shell dyke”:

“A curious feature of the exquisitely soft and pure water with which Redondo Beach is supplied is that the wells from which it is pumped are located within a few feet of the salt springs—which are themselves six feet higher than the ocean—and are located in a sort of shell dyke, which assures the intelligent observer that they are the percolation of mountain springs, caught on the very rim of the sea.”

A city was established next to the great sand dune because of the fresh water supply it enabled people to easily exploit.

This side walk panel says: "Venable & Cleghorn Contractors". Venable & Cleghorn is the contracting firm who originally graded the great sand dune. This sidewalk panel is located at Beryl and Broadway, less than one block east of what would have been the southern end of the dune.


This LA Herald article of March 28, 1901, states that Venable & Cleghorn is the contracting firm grading the great sand dune where Standard Oil Company located its oil-docking business.


This 1901 photo actually shows the Standard Oil Company oil storage tank - on the dune.


Above is a 1901 photo of Salt Works. Photo taken by Gilbert E. Bailey and published in his 1902 report "Saline Deposits of California", California State Mining Bureau, Bulletin No.24, (page 111). Note: This photo looking west, the ocean is on the other side of the sand dune. On the dune, is a large iron tank - built some months prior, by Standard Oil Company for its oil-docking business right there.