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Eiler Larson, the Laguna Beach Greeter July 6, 2010

Posted by ucisca in Early UCI Campus.
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Eiler Larson, aka the Laguna Beach greeter, was well known for waving to and welcoming motorists as they drove on Pacific Coast Highway into Laguna Beach from the 1940s through the 1960s. A statue of Mr. Larson now stands in front of the Greeter’s Corner Restaurant in his honor, and another statue is in front of the Pottery Shack. Both are on PCH in Laguna.  Below is a photo of Mr. Larson attending the UCI Site Dedication ceremony on June 20, 1964. Larsen lived in a room at the Laguna Hotel, and made his living as a gardener. He died at age 84 in a Capistrano Beach nursing home in 1975.

AS-061.  University Communications Photographs. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.

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Comments»

1. Paul Lynch - September 5, 2010

As a child I fondly remember the Greeter waving to passing motorists along Pacific Coast Highway. That was 40 years ago and I still remember him! It seemed he was always there whenever we drove by. Cars were not air conditioned then and everyone drove with their windows down, especially at the beach. You could see him up close and personal and he would say things to you. We looked forward to spotting him and were rarely disappointed. He must have spent every weekend standing out on the street. I have no idea what could have motivated him to do this. As a child I thought of him as a magical being, like Santa Claus or Johnny Appleseed. With his long flowing hair and full beard he stood out as someone from another era in white bread orange county. Like a time traveler caught in another time. It’s remarkable how someone who apparently did nothing but wave at people could have such a lasting impact on others.

2. Anonymous - April 4, 2012

great article..I also remember him on our visits to Laguna Beach. Just recently, I was telling some youngsters (40yr olds) about him.Those were truly good old days.

Kevin Nutt - June 16, 2012

I remember Eiler back in 1966 when I was 6 yrs old and we would vacation in Laguna Beach, and when it was time to go back to Claremont CA, I was saddened, but even when i visit Laguna Beach today in my mind I see him, even though he isn’t with us today standing on a street corner waving and saying HEEEEELLLLLLLOOOOOOOOOO.

3. Laguna Beach Photos | Birdtracks - October 16, 2012

[…] at the “Greeter’s Corner Restaurant“, the greeter referring to a man named Eiler Larsen who used to stand on the traffic island at the entrance to Laguna Beach town, and greet everyone. […]

4. Tom in Dana Point - January 4, 2013

My father worked in Laguna and I used to go to work with him, to me growing up The Greeter was laguna. To this day I cant go thru Laguna without thinking of him.

5. albert - November 13, 2013

In empathy to Mr. Lynch comments, I remember the same images in the late 50’s visiting my Nana in South Laguna Beach. Mr. Larsen was a kind, sensitive soul, liked everyone. When he came around to do gardening at
our house, we sat, had tea, and had lots of interesting yarns and funny stories.

Anonymous - May 6, 2016

You were so blessed


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