OB Planning Board to Consider Lifeguard Memorial Sculpture – Wed., Dec. 5th

by on December 4, 2012 · 4 comments

in Civil Rights

At their regular meeting this Wednesday, December 5th, the Ocean Beach Planning Board will take up the issue of the bronze memorial lifeguard sculpture planned for OB’s waterfront.

The Planning Board meets at the OB Recreation Center on Santa Monica Avenue at 6pm.

Here’s more on the memorial sculpture:

Sculpture to Honor Drowned WWI Soldiers in Tragedy that Forced City to Hire First Lifeguards

Ocean Beach leaders and surfers are actively lobbying to receive City funding for a bronze sculpture to honor San Diego lifeguards. Called the “Ocean Beach Lifeguard Bronze Memorial”, it is planned, once funded, to have the sculpture located 29 feet south of the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station at the foot of Santa Monica adjacent to the public sidewalk.

This item will be on the OB Planning Board agenda for the General Meeting on December 5 and planners are hoping for a good turnout from the community to  let them know if they want it or not.   The project has been submitted to the City of San Diego Arts and Culture Commission and other groups for approval and review with a dedication goal of late Spring of 2013.

The Lifeguard Bronze will not only honor San Diego Lifeguards but it will also memorialize the 13 victims of the 1918 tragic drowning between Ocean Beach and Mission Beach.  All the victims were WWI soldiers from Camp Kearny. It was a time before the city had lifeguards – and the incident pushed the budding municipality to hire lifeguards.

The project was envisioned by the late Hon. Robert Baxley who served as a lifeguard in the 1950’s, attorney and Superior Court Judge, plus Bob was an acclaimed diver and author.

Advocates believe the sculpture will enhance the public space and will provide an historic and culture asset to the community, allowing for citizens and visitors to interact on an eye to eye level, similar to other bronze pieces of Kate Sessions and Hamilton Marston in Balboa Park. The project budget is $38,000 which will include the bronze lifeguard sculpture, a brass plaque and installation.

The project is viewed as the first phase of future improvements and enhanced public access to the area surrounding the Ocean Beach Lifeguard Station.

Advocates feel that the Lifeguard Bronze project has widespread support from the community of Ocean Beach. A number of groups have actively participated in fundraising efforts, and they include:

  • the Ocean Beach Community Foundation,
  • Ocean Beach Historical Society,
  • Ocean Beach Main Street (merchants),
  • Ocean Beach Town Council,
  • Ocean Beach Community Development Corporation,
  • Sunset Cliffs Surfing Association,
  • San Diego Junior Lifeguard Foundation,
  • San Diego Lifeguard Alumni and many civic groups and neighborhood leaders.

Councilmember Kevin Faulconer – OB’s rep – supports the project. The committee is organized under the San Diego Lifesaving Association that sponsored a very successful fundraising event at Sunset Cliffs on September 21, 2012 that was attended by over 225 people.  (For more info, go here for our earlier post.)

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG December 4, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Good idea. Boring statuary. Where have the spirits of Rodin & Dali gone to? Surely, they occasionaly float through OB. I think I saw Dali’s mustache in the sand right after I recovered from a two-wave hold down. I saw the image of one eye & the mustache in a very special arrangement of seaweed. Awesome.


George Zimmerman December 4, 2012 at 2:41 pm

This will turn from a respectful memorial to the Kardiff Kooks Kousin two weeks after being erected in O.B..


unWASHEdWalmaRtthONG December 4, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Pre-empt the costuming by encouraging the costuming. Design the statuary so it CAN be decorated by people in the community.


John December 13, 2012 at 5:29 pm

Having read about this historic tragedy, I’m all for the idea of the memorial, however not so sure about the presented form above… is that a rendering of the actual proposed memorial or something someone randomly came up with in the preliminary stages? Maybe a giant life ring would be more appropriate?


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