DiscoverNewport Beach in the Rearview Mirror10: The Ferry Godfather: The Legend of Joe Beek and the Balboa Island Ferry
10: The Ferry Godfather: The Legend of Joe Beek and the Balboa Island Ferry

10: The Ferry Godfather: The Legend of Joe Beek and the Balboa Island Ferry

Update: 2021-06-10
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Joe Beek is known as the Father of Balboa Island and operator of the Balboa Island ferry for a half century (his family still runs it after more than 100 years). But he was so much more than that. Here's just some of his feats: 

  • He was Newport's first harbor master; he marked the bay's channels, built the channel-marker buoys himself, and, in 1923, climbed jetty rocks to place warning lights at the harbor entrance .
  • He served on the city library's first Board of Trustees.
  • He served in World War II at the age of 61 after forging his birth certificate.
  • He founded Newport's Tournament of Lights Boat Parade in 1921, a summer event so popular that the city's police chief asked him to shut it down in 1949 because visitors were overwhelming the city.
  • He was the developer of some of Newport's signature housing communities.
  • He served a record 49 years as the secretary of the California Senate, receiving bipartisan support for nearly a half century.

The story of his life is truly legendary. 

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10: The Ferry Godfather: The Legend of Joe Beek and the Balboa Island Ferry

10: The Ferry Godfather: The Legend of Joe Beek and the Balboa Island Ferry

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