About NBHS

NBHS_logo_transparentBill Grundy, founder of NBHS, worked with an active group of members to preserve the history of Newport Beach.  Historical markers that have been placed throughout the city and informative dinner lectures have provided a platform for descendants and interested parties to appreciate our rich heritage.

The first priority for NBHS is to preserve the living past of Newport Beach. The newest program entitle, Oral History Project, is designed to capture the real  essence and spirit of Newport Beach.  We invite everyone to share their tales, impressions, and memories of (old and new) Newport.

The second priority is to establish a repository of  historical documents, photographs, films, and memorabilia. We must develop an advanced system to catalogue and preserve these materials.

To achieve the goal of establishing a repository of  historical documents, we have recently established a 501c3 designation for NBHS so that all donations will now be tax deductible.

For the first time in our 48 year history, a temporary small museum space has been donated and is located at the Balboa Peninsula Library.  All staff members will be volunteers.  We are asking the citizens of Newport Beach and other interested parties to assist us with this endeavor.  We also seek a permanent location for our history collection and offices and are looking for a possible donor to provide this space.

We are working with Sherman Gardens in Corona del Mar to assist us in collecting items for our collection of Newport Beach historical items.

The history of Newport Beach is dynamic. Our internationally known city has been a vital crossroad in so many fields; aerospace, politics, Hollywood, sports and business. We have much for which to be proud and stories to tell.

We have a great respect for the past; and we are dedicated to recording the present, as it reflects the past for future generations. Our rich heritage springs from a variety of  talented people and achievements.  We invite you to join us and help preserve and promote our wonderful city and its people.


Bernie Svalstad





1st VP

2nd VP




Empty section. Edit page to add content here.


There is no paid staff at this time but volunteers are needed. Please let us know if you can donate a few hours a month to our ongoing efforts to document the history of Newport Beach. We need people with computer and social media experience. We need volunteers to do administrative work. We can sign off on community service hours for the high schools. Please let us know your availability and we will put you to work.

Click here to apply for a position


When was the NBHS formed?

The Newport Beach Historical Society was formed by Bill Grundy in 1967, later lead by his son Gordon Grundy. It was incorporated as a non-profit 501(C)(3) corporation in December 2014.

Who is involved in the NBHS?

The current president is Bernie Svalstad. There is a Board and with the following members:

Gordon Grundy, past president

Bernie Svalstad, president

Tim Brown, Ist vice president

Brenton Ogden III, 2nd vice president

Jim Rubel, treasurer

Lenard Davis, secretary

Do you have a location/headquarters?

We do not have a current headquarters, but will soon be moving into a space at the Balboa Branch Library. The NBHS is actively seeking a permanent location at this time to house our collections and staff. 

When and where are the meetings?

There are no formal membership meetings, but we expect to hold a series of events, as we have in the past. The Board meetings are currently once a month, usually the 4th Thursday of the month at 5pm at the Sherman Gardens Museum.

How can I get involved?

We need volunteers! As soon as we get our location at the Balboa Branch Library up and running, we will need staffing two days a week. We need administrative assistance, as well as social media expertise. How do I best contact someone from the NBHS? You can reach us by email at info@newportbeachhistorical.org or call us at 949-232-7373. You can also send us a letter of interest to P.O. Box 8814, Newport Beach, California 92658.

Section Where can I find a good history of Newport Beach?

We have a great Timeline on this website which gives an illustrative summary of the history of Newport Beach. Jeremy Burns has a good one at http://jeremyburns.bhhscalifornia.com/content/agentlinks/oc-history. Wikepedia also has a well written summary. You can access the bibliography on this website, as well.

What does the NBHS need?

We are always looking for historical memorabilia, photos and documents to add to our collections. Our Oral History Project is a constant and we welcome any stories and anecdotes from the residents and visitors of Newport Beach. And, of course, a secure, climate controlled building to house our offices and museum.  And we need funding to make our historical society run with the greatest efficiency and to help preserve our city’s wonderful history for generations to come.

Do you have collections?

Yes, we do but they are not currently available to the public at this time, pending a building to house them.

Where are they and what are they?

We have a growing library of books, ship’s models and art work, photographs, documents, menus from Newport Beach restaurants, artifacts and unique memorabilia specific to Newport Beach.

Do you have any digitized records?

No, but we would like to digitize our records in the next few years.

Do you have a library?

Yes, we do, but it is in the infancy stages. We accept donations of books and the Balboa Branch Library has a good collection of Nautical books to complement our history collection.

Where can I donate my historical memorabilia?

Please contact us at info@newportbeachhistorical.org or call us at 949-232-7373. We can pick up any items that you would like to share with the people of Newport Beach. We appreciate any pieces of Newport Beach history and make a commitment to any donors that they will be preserved and cherished.

Where can I find great photos of Newport Beach?

We have a pretty impressive collection in our Photo Gallery on this website. 

Where can I find surfing history and memorabilia?

Newport Beach is one of the most famous surfing spots in the world, with the Wedge having historic swells over the years, since the jetty was constructed in 1921. We have a Surfing section in our Photo Gallery on this website, but there are some great images and history at http://www.surfingmuseum.org/history.html. They are located in Huntington Beach, California.

What happened to the Newport Nautical Museum?

The Newport Nautical Museum has recently morphed into the Ocean Quest. They are located at the old Fun Zone site on Balboa Blvd. They have the collections in storage that were at once displayed at the Nautical Museum in the Reuben E. Lee.

Who are the most famous people in Newport Beach?

By far the most famous person who lived in Newport Beach was John Wayne. Three of his children grew up in Newport Beach and are currently residents. He was often seen enjoying the enviable lifestyle that our city has to offer and was a common sight at the Balboa Bay Club and registering his children at Newport Harbor High School when they attended. There is an official website called johnwayne.com and Wikepedia has a great page for him. He was a well beloved member of our community until his death in June of 1979. In fact, Orange County honored our most famous resident by renaming the Orange County Airport the John Wayne Airport in 1979.

Other famous people who called Newport Beach home are Buddy Ebsen, Edger Bergen, Shirley Temple, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans, June Allison, George Burns, Dick Powell,  Joey Bishop, Humphrey Bogart, Andy Devine, Dennis Rodman, Ted McGinley, Sugar Ray, Bo Derek, Kelly McGillis, Bruce Penhall, Michelle Pfeiffer, Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Joseph Wambaugh, Kobe Bryant, Nicholas Cage, Henry Mancini, Dick Dale, Dean Koontz, Jim Abbott and many more.

Where are the historical markers in Newport Beach?

There is a link on this website showing a list of historical markers in the City of Newport Beach and a photo of each, with a map delineating their locations.


The Newport Beach Historical Society is looking for a few people who have a commitment to the preservation of Newport Beach history. We need help funding the programs and development of a site for our historical society. Please contact us if you have an interest in contributing to our initial building and development fund. Naming opportunities are available.

Become a Funder for NBHS and your company Logo will show here!

Become a Funder for NBHS and your company Logo will show here!

Become a Funder for NBHS and your company Logo will show here!

Become a Funder for NBHS and your company Logo will show here!

Lifetime Members

Chris Seaver 

Diana Sammis Brookes 

Lenard Davis 

Capt. Sandbar Orr 

Cliff & Carol Ranney 

Joyce Rogers 

William Rogers 

Gina Sammis 

Bernie Svalstad