At home on Balboa Peninsula for 88 years

There's a recognizable house on Balboa Island that has been inhabited

by a member of the Glassell family since the 1920s.

As a child, Andrew W. Glassell spent summers playing in the sand

just yards from the beachfront property. Brick steps lead to the

one-story house -- one of the only remaining single-level complexes

on the block.

Twenty years ago, Glassell made the Balboa Island home his

full-time residence. He died there of natural causes Aug. 16. He was


Born in Los Angeles, Glassell lived much of his life in La Canada.

He worked for Lohman Bros. Plumbing in Los Angeles before becoming

a salesman who hawked heating and air conditioning units.

"He was outgoing and very friendly," said Andrew Glassell, son of

Andrew W. Glassell. "You could say he ruled conversations."

Later in his career, Andrew W. Glassell built and sold boats and

boating accessories at his store, Inland Dry Dock, in Montrose. It

was one of the only boat businesses to be in inland territory, his

son said.

Andrew W. Glassell took some of his sailboats and powerboats out

on Newport Harbor. A love of the water ran in the family.

"He grew up around it. Everyone got into sailing when they were

little," said John Glassell, Andrew W. Glassell's other son.

George Grupe, a Balboa Island resident familiar with the Glassell

family, said Andrew W. Glassell was an accomplished small-boat racer.

Martha Somers, Andrew W. Glassell's first cousin by marriage,

said, "He was a very active person."

And he took an interest in family history. The Glassells and the

Chapman family built the city of Orange around the turn of the 20th


A plaque outside the Balboa Island home describes the family's

roots. Andrew W. Glassell's father became a local legend when he paid

a fisherman $5 to haul a log that was the lower part of a three-mast

lumber schooner from San Pedro to Newport Harbor.

That log helped support the bottom of the small pier that juts out

from the family home. Five years ago, Andrew W. Glassell redid the

pier for the first time since it was built in 1925.

"He was really a character," Grupe said. "He was a charming,

one-of-a-kind type of guy."

Grupe said he remembers that Andrew W. Glassell spent months

trying to convince a Siamese cat staying underneath the house to come

inside. He finally succeeded and took a liking to his new pet, Grupe


The house is no longer home to a Glassell. Another family is

scheduled to move in soon.

* ELIA POWERS is the enterprise and general assignment reporter.

He may be reached at (714) 966-4623 or by e-mail at


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