Look Who Got Left Behind
By: George Lee Cunningham
When the Port of Long Beach moved out of their old headquarters earlier this year into new temporary digs near the airport, an important part of their history got left behind.
Charles H. Windham, the father of the Port of Long Beach and former Long Beach Mayor, died in 1932. Four years later, the Long Beach Harbor Commissioners voted to prepare a plaque that would be installed on the breakwater near the Queens Gate entrance to the harbor. That never worked out, probably because nobody would ever see it there and even if they did, they would be unable to read it as they steamed past in a big ship.
The plaque was instead installed in front of the old Harbor Department Building on 1333 El Embarcadero.
When the Harbor Department moved to its building at 925 Harbor Plaza in 1960, the monument was relocated to the new site, and there Charles H. Windham’s monument has been ever since, in the shade of a lovely tree, hidden behind a circular hedge, like a crazy uncle restricted to his lonely room. Few even knew it was there.
Now the port has moved on, but not poor old Chuck Windham. The Father of the Port is still stuck in the shade outside the abandoned headquarters of the port he helped create.