In 1906, what is now Lido Isle (then a sandbar) was incorporated as part of the City of Newport Beach. The Pacific Electric Railway Company’s "Red Car Line" from Los Angeles to Balboa was completed at that time, as well, helping make Newport Bay a popular vacation spot. The railway sold off surplus right-of-way land in 1923, and what was to become Lido Isle (then Huntington Island, before that Electric Island) was sold for $45,000 to oilman W.K. Parkinson for development as a commercial shipyard. After dredging the island up to about 11 feet above the mean high tide line, his commercial project never materialized, and in 1928, the land was purchased by an investment group headed by developer William Clarke Crittenden. Crittenden, along with Swiss architect Franz Herding, envisioned a plan for developing Lido as a Mediterranean-themed residential resort area, patterned—and named—after the famous Lido of Venice, a beautiful (and one of Europe’s most fashionable at the time) resort on Italy’s Adriatic coast.
One of the first master planned communities in Southern California, Lido Isle’s bridge, streets, seawalls and the country’s first underground utilities were built in 1930, helped by a California bond issue that provided about $1.2 million for construction (serious money at the time). Italian, French and Spanish names were attached to the streets (or “vias”) that evoked images of picturesque and historic French, Italian and Spanish locales. Lido Isle’s parallel vias were separated by “stradas,” walkways that were also envisioned as linear gardens. A shopping plaza was even planned (but never built) for Lido’s centrally located “Piazza Lido.” A clubhouse and five model homes were constructed, but sales were slow due to the Great Depression, and by World War II, only about 50 homes were completed. However, with the post-war boom and increasing popularity of Newport Bay as a resort destination, Lido Isle’s lot sales, development and values skyrocketed as buyers were attracted to this very special place.
Today, Lido Isle is an exclusive residential community of approximately 850 homes, residents of which enjoy its unique design, relaxing environment and vibrant, outdoor-oriented lifestyle.