Who knows when the H.F.S. Michigan was dredged up from the
muck of Balboa Bay, but for many years it remained the flagship of this notorious
Named the H.F.S. - Hardly Floats Sometimes - Michigan, this boat lived up to its
name by surviving at least five sinkings that the club admits to, and has served its place
in club history.
In 1965 , the club undertook to ease
the cold war tensions by taking the Michigan out to greet Russian trawlers with drinks.
Club founder Dick Shaw explained, "We wanted to show them we liked vodka too."
The U.S. Navy took exception to the club's actions and grounded the Michigan and
In the tradition of the club's manor
of handling things, the Michigan
was secured with a piece of
In 1971 the club entered the Michigan
in its only boat race, against a lumbering old 77-ton 65-foot former ferry. And in
the club's time-honored tradition, they lost.
Over the years the Michigan has
changed ownership many times with the current owner renaming it - for some unknown
reason - to the N.F.S. Michigan.
Painted like a seagoing carnival,
the Michigan can still be seen in
If you talk to God,
they call it praying. If God talks to you they call it schizophrenia.
Then & Now
The 1000 block of West Ocean Front. The house
on the right still stands as does the house two doors to the left. The 1931 photo was
taken just after the houses were built. Note, the Ocean Front boardwalk was in place at
The Balboa Inn 1930
This photo was taken the year the
Balboa Inn was built. Original cost was $100,000. At that time it was called the
Hamman-Walker Building. Note, the beach came all the way to the Ocean Front boardwalk.
TalesOfBalboa Free Email will be discontinued on May 31,
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Jim Fournier, Editor
Tip Of The Hat
To Luther Crocker, for all of his
help in finding many of the great old photos you see in the TalesOfBalboa
I worked in Balboa for about 20 years. My
1st job was at the fun zone hamburger stand. I remember the old Fun zone arcade and the
rides/shooting gallery, the old bay front hotel, Mutts below it and Arts Landing. I can
remember when the ferry ramps did not have rail guards at the end of the ped ramps and if
rode your bike down the ped ramp to fast you might just end up in the bay. I also remember
the Brass Monkey, where I drank my 1st beer (in a bar).
My mom, Pat Baker has been encouraging me to
visit this site. It has been a real pleasure to see Balboa, it has been 13 years since I
have been there. I will be sure to visit this site again.
Love the webcams! Thanks for this neat web
site! The only query that comes to mind: does anyone else remember that as recently as
l978, there were squirrels in the L Street Park? Where did they all go?
Great site!!! Lots of good info and links.
Keep up the good work, and good luck. Regards, John