The Crowd: Before there was a ferry, there was a rowboat

July 13, 2012|By B.W. Cook
  • Allan Beek, Seymour Beek, Shirley Pepys and Conrad Baumgartner at the recent Balboa Island Museum and Historical Society event.
Allan Beek, Seymour Beek, Shirley Pepys and Conrad Baumgartner… (Daily Pilot )

How many locals know that the very first Balboa Island ferry franchised by Joseph Beek was a rowboat?

Nearly 100 years has brought significant changes, and even though the rowboat has been replaced by a barge transporting both people and vehicles from the island to the Balboa Peninsula, the need to cross the channel is exactly the same as it was before the advancement of the electronic and technical age.

Last week on Balboa Island, the descendants of Joseph Beek, brothers Seymour and Allan Beek, addressed a crowd of some 80 guests who had come together at the Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society for a nostalgic look back at local lore. The event was moderated by Balboa Island resident Conrad Baumgartner, who shared with the crowd what life was like on the island nearly a century ago when Joseph Beek arrived and went to work for W.S. Collins, selling lots for the pricey sum of $50 apiece.


The event was the first program planned by organizers at the Historical Society, led by dedicated Balboa lovers Shirley Pepys, Bob Lambert and Sharon Lambert, the society's president. Members of the Beek family in attendance also included Jean and Linda Beek and their niece Cathy White.

As the Beek brothers shared stories about their parents and the fear of a perceived threat of a Japanese invasion during World War II, the crowd toasted wine and sampled desserts and mingled with Terry Lakenan, the great granddaughter of W.S. Collins, Dan and Nancy Stringer, Steve and Ronnie Bromberg, Bobbie Daniel and Barbara Baumgartner.

The Balboa Island Museum & Historical Society, founded in 2000, has the mission of preserving the history and heritage of Balboa Island. Located at 331 Marine Ave., the museum is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.


The Pacific Symphony will host 150 Orange County middle school students for three weeks of workshops, excursions, and activities promoting music and the arts known as "arts-X-press."

It is the 12th consecutive summer that the symphony has sponsored this educational symposium, led by maestro Carl St.Clair and staff. The program commences Saturday and runs through Aug. 1. It takes its inspiration from St.Clair's personal creative path.

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