The area now known as Manhattan Beach once had a problem: Too much sand. Manhattan Beach is built on sand, and as civic development was underway after the turn of the 20th century, a broad sand dune ran the length of the city, some standing 50 to 70 feet high.
As it turned out, during the early 1920’s developers in the Hawaiian Islands just happened to be in the market for sand. They found it in Manhattan Beach.
According to a 1973 article from The Daily Breeze, Marshall and Bob Kuhn of Kuhn Bros. Construction Co. and Builders Materials Co. made a deal with Hawaiian officials to ship sand to Waikiki Beach, which suffered from erosion problems. So the Kuhn brothers hauled the sand up from the beach and loaded it on to railroad cars, where it was transported to the harbor in San Pedro and shipped by barge or ship to Hawaii.
According to Bob Kuhn, his company was the sole provider of sand to build Waikiki and other beaches.The sand exporting lasted until the 1970s. The sand at Manhattan Beach had other destinations, such as the base of the Los Angeles Coliseum and to help build the Pacific Coast Highway. But as fate would have it, Waikiki Beach would not be what it is today without an assist from Manhattan Beach.
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