Huntington Beach is a seaside city in Orange County in Southern California. The city is named after American businessman Henry E. Huntington. The population was 189,992 during the 2010 census, making it the most populous beach city in Orange County and the seventh most populous city in the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA Metropolitan Statistical Area. Its estimated 2014 population was 200,809. It is bordered by Bolsa Chica Basin State Marine Conservation Area on the west, the Pacific Ocean on the southwest, by Seal Beach on the northwest, by Westminster on the north, by Fountain Valley on the northeast, by Costa Mesa on the east, and by Newport Beach on the southeast.
Huntington Beach (locally initialized "HB") is known for its long 9.5-mile (15.3 km) stretch of sandy beach, mild climate, excellent surfing, and beach culture. The ocean waves are enhanced by a natural effect caused by the edge-diffraction of open ocean swells around Santa Catalina Island. Swells generated predominantly from the North Pacific in winter and from a combination of Southern Hemisphere storms and hurricanes in the summer focus on Huntington Beach, creating consistent surf all year long, hence the nickname "Surf City".
The main thoroughfare of Huntington Beach, Beach Boulevard, was originally a cattle route for the main industry of the Rancho. Since its time as a parcel of the enormous Spanish land grant, Huntington Beach has undergone many incarnations. One time it was known as Shell Beach, the town of Smeltzer, and then Gospel Swamp for the revival meetings that were held in the marshland where the community college Golden West College can currently be found. Later it became known as Fairview and then Pacific City, as it developed into a tourist destination. In order to secure access to the Pacific Electric Red Car lines that used to criss-cross Los Angeles and ended in Long Beach, Pacific City ceded enormous power to railroad magnate Henry E. Huntington, and thus became a city whose name has been written into corporate sponsorship, and like much of the history of Southern California, boosterism.
The Huntington Beach pier was built in 1904 and was originally a 1,000 foot-long timber structure. Huntington Beach was incorporated on February 17, 1909 during the tenure of its first mayor, Ed Manning. Its original developer was Huntington Beach Company (formerly the West Coast Land and Water Company), a real-estate development firm owned by Henry Huntington. The Huntington Beach Company is still a major land-owner in the city, and still owns most of the local mineral rights. The company is now wholly owned by the Chevron Corporation.
At one time, an encyclopedia company gave away free parcels of land (with the purchase of a whole set for $126) in the Huntington Beach area. The lucky buyers got more than they had bargained for when oil was discovered in the area, and enormous development of the oil reserves followed. Though many of the old reserves are depleted, and the price of land for housing has pushed many of the rigs off the landscape, oil pumps can still be found to dot the city.