Long Beach Municipal Auditorium and Rainbow Pier


In 1932 the 8,000-seat Municipal Auditorium, surrounded on three sides by a lagoon, was constructed on the beach.  In order to protect the auditorium from storms and coastal erosion, a horseshoe (rainbow) shaped breakwater was constructed around it.  The half-circular Rainbow Pier, arching from Pine Avenue to Linden Avenue, surrounded the auditorium and the lagoon.  The light poles on the horseshoe pier were painted a variety of colors, making it a colorful area for walking or driving.  In the late 40’s because of sand filtering in through the rocks making the bay unusable, the city filled in the water to make more land.  The Municipal Auditorium and bandstand area were demolished in 1975 to make way for the Convention & Entertainment Center.

Long Beach Municipal Auditorium and Rainbow Pier Short Stories
(Excerpts from E-Mails)

Photo below is from my mother’s scrapbooks and albums. This is undated but pages just before and after are labeled 1936 and 1937.
From: Carolyn Comings 6.30.17

Below are five more photos taken from Rainbow Pier.
From: Carolyn Comings 7.11.17

While researching my family’s genealogy, I ran across this photograph of the Municipal Auditorium in Long Beach, CA. It was taken by my grandmother, Lillian Kniss-Leonard, sometime around 1952.

I’m a former Walt Disney Imagineer and i lived in Long Beach!!! It’s wonderful to see that you’ve preserved the memory of such a wonderful building. I’m amazed that it was not preserved, as all major periods over the centuries have been delineated by way of architecture.

Anyway, I discovered your webpage regarding the auditorium via a google image search, and thought you’d like to have a copy.

Warmest regards,

Doug Leonard
Posted 7-17-2016

Note: The line of black “trees” before the snow-caped mountains is actually a line of old wooden oil derricks on Signal Hill.

Letti Randles, Long Beach Polytechnic Class of 1937, wrote:

My family lived on California Avenue near 19th Stret, and the railroad tracks ran down the center of California on a mound that divided the street. The huge boulders and rocks that were used to build the Rainbow Pier were hauled on the freight train past my house and down Alamitos to Ocean Avenue and the pier site. We watched the Pier being constructed and the Municipal Auditorium go up. It was fun when they finally finished and we were able to ride the little boats around in the lagoon.

When my father bought our first car, we were treated to rides on the road that went around the circumference of the pier. It was sad to watch the lagoon gradually fill up with sand by the ocean breaking over the pier, over the years. It has been years now since I have seen it, so I always like to remember the way it was.


“The Spit and Argue Club”on Rainbow Pier (before the days of talk radio).