Lifestyle

Redondo Rick dives deep into waterfront community's history

“I want people to know about the history of Redondo,” said Rick Johnson, showing photos from the early 1900s. He will deliver a free presentation about Redondo’s history on Feb. 26 at the Federal Way Community Center.   - Andy Hobbs/The Mirror
“I want people to know about the history of Redondo,” said Rick Johnson, showing photos from the early 1900s. He will deliver a free presentation about Redondo’s history on Feb. 26 at the Federal Way Community Center.
— image credit: Andy Hobbs/The Mirror

As a longtime resident of Redondo Beach, Rick Johnson has become the waterfront community's unofficial historian.

Redondo Rick, as some people call him, first moved to Redondo in 1954 at a time when most residents stayed only in the summer.

"There was only a handful of people who lived here year-round," said Johnson, 63, adding that few families with younger children live in Redondo today. Johnson has stayed in five different Redondo homes over the past 50 years. His current residence, across the street from Redondo's popular boardwalk, once belonged to his parents.

Johnson has amassed a collection of vintage Redondo photos dating back to the early 1900s. He described the community as once being "like a little Coney Island of the west," complete with a merry-go-round and the Redondo Roller Rink, which burned down in 1951. Among his Redondo trinkets are melted coins from the roller rink fire and old menus from Salty's restaurant.

The Historical Society of Federal Way and the Federal Way Community Center invited Johnson to share his photos and knickknacks in a presentation Feb. 26 that pays tribute to Redondo. The society hopes to present similar sessions on Federal Way area history three to four times a year.

"I don't think a lot of people who have lived here less than 20 years really know what happened here," Johnson said. "I've learned a lot and seen a lot. I care about it. I want people to know about the history of Redondo."

Check it out

The free presentation by Johnson, titled “Where Woods and Water Meet,” runs 10 a.m. to noon Feb. 26 at the Federal Way Community Center, 876 S. 333rd St. Refreshments will be provided. To learn more, e-mail redondorick@comcast.net or call (253) 945-7842.

Redondo is located in Des Moines, but falls within the Federal Way School District boundaries. The community of about 1,000 residents is home to a boardwalk, marina, Salty's restaurant and Highline Community College's Marine Science and Technology Center.

Check out a video from the 2010 Polar Bear Plunge at Redondo Beach:

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