The Laguna Beach that "Mr. Laguna," Harry Lawrence, remembers isn't the Laguna Beach of today.
"It was pretty run-down, especially during the war," Lawrence said. "We made most of what it is today."
By "we," he means the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and Civic Assn., of which he is undoubtedly the oldest member, and other community-minded activists.
In 1947, when Lawrence arrived in Laguna and bought Warren Imports with his late wife, the city was only 20 years old and, while famous as an art colony, was overgrown with weeds and vines.
Lawrence, who had studied architecture, and five other community members joined together to form a Beautification Committee, which is still active. One of their first projects was to get out and remove the overgrowth, pulling it out by hand.
He had definite ideas about how to improve things, and his attention to detail was legendary, as his wife, Zahide, and Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rose Hancock can attest.