Winston and bridge

Rebecca Winston, granddaughter of John Davies, with one of the original concept designs of the bridge that was later named in his honor.

There are two bridges that span across the water on two sections of Second Street in Naples and Belmont Shore. Most folks refer to them as the Naples Bridge or the Second Street Bridge.

They actually are named after two extraordinary men, John Herbert Davies and Lewis Drummond Reese. Ever since I learned about these visionary leaders, I’ve been calling the bridges by name and encouraging others to do the same.

The Davies Bridge, dedicated in 1955, spans across Alamitos Bay, from Marina Drive into Naples. Davies died in October 1953. He was working on the bridge’s initial design at the time and his plans refer to it as “Marine Stadium Bridge.”

This month I met with Davies’ granddaughter, Rebecca Winston, and we reviewed some of his treasure trove of artifacts documenting some of the projects Davies led before his death at age 51.

The records indicate Davies came to Long Beach to work for the city as a structural engineer, where he was charged with overseeing the design and construction work on the Long Beach Municipal Auditorium. The photographic collection includes the auditorium under construction.

After the earthquake in 1933, he was put in charge of all the emergency demolition work in the city. His work in creating an inspection approval system for re-occupancy is credited with no lives being lost in the many aftershocks.

Later that year he formed his own company, which played a major role in rebuilding the many Long Beach schools that were lost in the earthquake.

The day of the Davies bridge dedication in 1955, the Municipal Band played and City Councilman Reese led the singing of the national anthem and spoke about Davies. Little did he know who the second bridge would be named for.

In 1967, The bridge on Second Street between Naples and Belmont Shore was dedicated in honor of former Long Beach City Councilman Lewis Reese.

According to the Long Beach Independent, back in July 1963, during a Tuesday meeting of the City Council, Reese collapsed in council chambers.

The newspaper account goes on to explain the Third District councilman was passionately advocating support of a mayor’s and council’s committee on human relations at the time. Reese was rushed to the hospital and died three days later, at age 58.

He was a nine-year councilman known for his work on behalf of the $15 million Long Beach Marina. Reese lived on the Peninsula, was a Realtor and he served as president of the Belmont Shore Business Association (BSBA). He was a park commissioner, was active in Alamitos Bay Community Association, Chamber of Commerce, Elks Lodge 888, Belmont Shore Lions, and Naples Improvement Association.

From an editorial in the Independent: “Mr. Reese was stricken at a Council meeting when he was, in his tradition, speaking forthrightly on a sensitive subject, declaring his support (for) formation of a community committee on human rights. “

Both Davies' and Reese’s passion for our community deserves to be honored each time you pass over or under one of these bridges.

Back in August 2013, a group did their best to get the tradition of love padlocks on bridges to catch on in Belmont Shore. The group identified the Lewis D. Reese Bridge as a good candidate, noting on their website certain types of locks will not work. The plan failed because most locks didn’t fit and young romantics quickly gave up. If you walk across the Reese Bridge to check out the plaque honoring him, you might spot a few of the locks that remain.

Retiring

Dorianne Graham asked for me to give a shout out to Pin Seward, who is retiring Sept. 5 after 31 years of service to the Long Beach Yacht Club. I know I’ll miss Pin as a wise server, who seems to remember everyone’s favorites.

Please share your “On the Water” news, regattas, sea stories with me at Jo@JoVenture.com

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