Commonly called “the Peninsula” or “Balboa”, the Balboa Peninsula is located in Newport Beach, California within Orange County. The neighborhood was named after Vasco Nunez de Balboa, a Spanish explorer. Although some commercial regions exist, the Balboa area is mostly residential.
In 1888, after the McFadden family came to California it was determined that their shipping business had more potential for success by moving it to the bay from the inner shores, with a connection to Santa Ana by rail. They constructed the McFadden’s’ Wharf where the Newport Pier is currently located.
In 1899, funds were allocated by the Federal Government to conduct major improvements to San Pedro’s new harbor, later becoming a key seaport in Southern California. Also, during the same year Southern Pacific Railroad purchased both the railroad and McFadden Wharf, which indicated the end of commercial shipping for Newport Bay.
In 1902, William Collins purchased nearly half of the peninsula from James McFadden, including his Newport townsite. Collins had envisioned Newport Bays recreational and resort potential. Additionally, Henry E. Huntington was brought on as partner within the Newport Beach Company. Meanwhile, Huntington promoted to areas outside Los Angeles using the acquired Pacific Electric railway.
In 1905, Newport seen a new development when Pacific Electric extended their ‘Red Cars’ to the area. Meanwhile, a channel was developed on the norther bay side by Collins, depositing silt and sand on tidelands which would later become known as Balboa Island. At the time, the Newport Harbor remained greatly undredged, meaning the use of sailboats were commonly the only method for traveling around the region. Although, Robert McFadden was able to establish a fishing wharf located on the Peninsula with great success.
Hwy 1 – Pacific Cost Hwy connects the Peninsula with Balboa Blvd. using the Newport Blvd. bridge from Via Lido and PCH, connecting to Lido Isle by a bridge. In addition, one can catch a Ferry Boat at Balboa Boulevard and Palm Street and ride to the island. The island is connected by a bridge from Hwy 1 and Jamboree Rd.
Balboa Island’s west end is connected by a bridge to Collins Isle, while another bridge connects in the east to Little Island going over Grand Canal. Balboa Village is at the Peninsula’s center, while the Peninsula’s end is referred to as Balboa Peninsula Point, or just ‘the Point’.
The Balboa Pier is located close to Balboa Ferry roughly 2 miles in the direction of PCH is the location of Newport Pier as the McFadden Square in Balboa Village. A bridge from Hwy 1 and Bayside Dr. connect Harbor island with Linda Isle. The Peninsula encloses the Newport Beach’s eight islands and Newport Harbor.
There are many landmarks, some include:
Balboa Island Visitor’s Guide, www.balboa-island.net, 2002.