NEWPORT BEACH — For most people, it's just a row of rocks.
But for one family, the west jetty at the Newport Harbor entrance signifies foolishness, death and perseverance.
Bob Rogers told its back story at a Newport Beach Historical Society event Thursday evening. On this, the 75th anniversary of the jetty's completion, he reminded people about his relative George Rogers, a man who lost his son in a boating accident and spent the rest of his life building a safe harbor opening.
"This is the death boat," Bob said as he turned to a slide of George's son, 15-year-old George Jr., at the helm of a wooden speedboat.
A Dodge Water Car, that boat was considered the "sports car of the sea" in 1926, when the photo was taken, Bob said.
Its skipper, George Jr., was a daring boy and strong from head to waist. He was heir apparent to his father's paving and asphalt empire, but he wore polio braces on his legs and could only walk with crutches.