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 The Legacy of Burton W. Chace

July 6, 1900 — August 22, 1972

Over 30 Years of Service to our Los Angeles County Community — 1945-1972

Photo of Burton W. Chace

Photo of Burton W. Chace

Member Long Beach City Council 1945-1953

Elected Mayor of Long Beach for 3 Terms 1947-1953

Appointed Supervisor, 4th District, County of Los Angeles by Earl Warren, Governor of California 1953

Served on Los Angeles County Board of Supervisor for Fourth District from 1953 until his death in 1972

Burton W. Chace was born on July 6, 1900 in Stanton, Nebraska where he grew up. He went through the Stanton school system. Following graduation from the University of Nebraska, he began his business career in the municipal bonding field in Omaha. He drove all the way to Long Beach, CA in 1923 with a college friend and like it so much that he moved later in that year to Long Beach, California.  His father joined him later in California and together they established the Chace Lumber Company in Long Beach along with other business ventures. After many years and several expansions, Burton Chace became the sole owner of the Chace Lumber Company.

Throughout this time, he became heavily involved in civic affairs in the Long Beach area and in the Republican Party. His public career began in 1933 when Burton W. Chace was elected to the Long Beach Board of Education, where he served for eight years until 1941. In 1938 he was elected President of the Board of Education. In 1945 he was elected to the Long Beach City Council, and in 1947 was elected to his first of three terms as mayor of Long Beach -- the longest tenure of any mayor since Long Beach was founded as a City in 1908.

Burton W. Chace was appointed to the Board of Supervisors on March 20, 1953, by Governor Earl Warren following the death of Raymond V. Darby. He was elected to the office in 1954, and re-elected in 1956, 1960, 1964 and 1968.

As County Supervisor, Mr. Chace served on the Los Angeles Coliseum Commission and was its president during construction and dedication of the Los Angeles Sports Arena. He also played a role in making the Coliseum the original home of the Los Angeles Dodgers when the team moved from Brooklyn. Later Dodger Stadium was built and the team relocated.

The dream of Burton W. Chace and his most major accomplishment was the creation of the Marina del Rey small craft harbor. The Marina project converted waste marshland just north of Playa del Rey, which was costing the taxpayers $87,000 annually in mosquito abatement and returning little in tax revenue, into a sound investment for the County. His long-standing faith in its potential and his work spearheading its development earned him recognition as "Father of the Marina."

Photo of Burton W. Chace Plaque at Entrance to Burton W. Chace Park

Photo of Burton W. Chace Plaque at Entrance to Burton W. Chace Park

During his years with the County, Chace's philosophy on spending was "pay-as-you-go"whenever possible. His experience in the bond business helped him in determining the best financing arrangements on capital projects. Chace believed in the decentralization of public services. He continually pushed for the building of governmental offices and courthouses containing county branch offices at key locations throughout the sprawling Fourth District, which covered the coastal cities from the Orange County line at Long Beach to the Ventura County line. Examples of these projects included the Long Beach-County Courthouse and Civic Center, Torrance-County Courthouse and Civic Center, Malibu Civic Center, Santa Monica Court Building and the Compton County Civic Center.

In 1969 Chace spearheaded the effort to separate the operation of the county's beaches from the Department of Parks and Recreation and create a new Department of Beaches and Harbors. The results of this action proved a boon to the Southland in the form of 8.5 miles of "new" beaches.  This resulted in increasing Los Angeles County beach areas by 20 per cent, complete with lifeguard service, beach maintenance, additional restroom facilities, beautification through the removal of all telephone and power poles and overhead lines, and beach patrols.

His credits include membership in the Kiwanis Club, Long Beach Builders Exchange, Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, and many other business and civic organizations. He was a lay leader of the California Heights Methodist Church and president of the Armed Services YMCA.

Photo of Burton W. Chace with CA Governor Ronald Reagan

Photo of Burton W. Chace with CA Governor Ronald Reagan

Chace and his wife, Pauline, had two daughters, Constance Chace Townsend who married Vinton Ray Townsend, Jr. who live in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA and had 4 children - Stephen Chace Townsend, Robert Townsend, William Burton Townsend, and Richard Townsend, and Paula Irwin who had 2 children, Skip Irwin and Robin Irwin and who lives in Long Beach, CA.

On Aug. 22, 1972, Burton W. Chace died in a tragic car accident which travelling to a County Board of Supervisors Meeting. He was 72 at the time of his death.

Photo of The Chace Family at the Burton W. Chace Park Dedication

Photo of The Chace Family at the Burton W. Chace Park Dedication

Photo of The Award to Burton W. Chace from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Burton W. Chace Park
Park Hours: 6.00 am to 10:00 pm - Office Hours 8:00 am to 8:00 pm
13650 Mindanao Way, Marina del Rey, California 90292
Burton Chace Park Main Phone: (424) 526-7910 - Fax: (310) 305-9125
Vistor Center Main Phone: (424) 526-7900 - Fax: (310) 822-0119


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