Tucked away in a little cottage on Marine Avenue is a wealth of island history at the Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society. The Museum’s mission is to “preserve the Island heritage and its sense of community,” and it does so beautifully through its collection of interesting memorabilia.
The walls are lined with historical treasures, including old photographs of Balboa Island as it was being built and developed.
A pictorial timeline shows the fascinating story of the Hershey family, German immigrants who fulfilled their American Dream with the creation of the Hershey Market, which still exists today.
One section displays classic film stars who frequented Balboa Island in the 1920’s and 30’s – John Wayne, Greta Garbo, Jane Russell, Bette Davis, Lauren Bacall, Humphrey Bogart, to name a few. Many movies were filmed on Balboa Island, and James Cagney even owned Collins Island!
The Museum was founded in 2000 when a group of residents formed the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society. It was initially located across from the ferry and was relocated to the vintage cottage on Marine Avenue in 2011. The Museum enjoyed some recent publicity when Shirley Pepys, one of its board members, threw a 100th birthday party for her historic home on South Bay Front.
Tourists and locals alike will enjoy making this fascinating trip into Balboa Island’s past. Watch for the old-fashioned street sign as you stroll by. You don’t want to miss it!
Visit the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society at 331 Marine Avenue, Balboa Island CA 92662. It’s open to the public on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Suggested donation of $1.00.