In the early days, Indians thrived on the freshwater canyon lakes and the rich coastal lands that comprised the region they named Lagonas, for ‘lake.’

By the late 1800s, tourists were making annual pilgrimages on rutted trails through the canyons to camp at Laguna Beach each summer. By the time painter Norman St. Claire visited from San Francisco in 1903, Laguna had already become a popular tourist spot with its hotel, the Hotel Laguna

When St. Claire returned home with glowing reports and paintings of the gorgeous Laguna Beach landscape, his artist friends decided to follow him south. It wasn't long before California marine artist Frank Cuprien and Plein Air artists like William Wendt relocated to the area

Within a few years, Laguna Beach had a population of around 300, half of whom were artists

In 1918, artist Edgar Payne opened an art gallery which later became the Laguna Art Museum, one of the first art museums in California

The White House Restaurant was established in 1918 and not long after, the Laguna Playhouse opened in the 1920s. Cozy summer cottages dotted the landscape near downtown

Though the early years of the Depression weren't kind to the art community, and in 1932, the Festival of Arts performed its first show near Hotel Laguna, hoping to draw additional business after the Los Angeles Olympic Games

Vaudevillian and artist Lolita Perine also added ‘living pictures' to the Festival of Arts, thus launching the tradition of the Pageant of the Masters

By then, Laguna Beach had caught the eye of Hollywood. Celebrities like Mickey Rooney, Charlie Chaplin, Bette Davis, Mary Pickford, Judy Garland, Rudolph Valentino and Ozzie and Harriet Nelson maintained homes in the area

During World War II, servicemen stationed in and around the area became acquainted with the quaint Orange County town, and many came back to live permanently when their term of service was up

In 1948, the Surf & Sand opened and its restaurant became popular with a long list of notable personalities such as Billy Graham, Peter Ustinov and Joe Namath

By the 1960s, the Main Beach boardwalk was established as an open public beach park. The decade brought other changes as well. A group of artists who felt that the Festival of Arts was too restrictive in accepting exhibitors began the Sawdust Festival, and the Art-A-Fair followed a year after that focusing on traditional arts and new mediums

As a thriving art colony in the 1960s, the city attracted its share of the ‘hippie' culture, but that gave way to a new group of people who officially put the small town on the map: the White House press corps

During the Nixon years, when President Nixon would visit his San Clemente home, the press corps took up residence at the Surf & Sand. Fledgling reporters like Diane Sawyer, Dan Rather and Tom Brokaw were frequent guests. The newscasters would report from the beach in front of the hotel

In the 1980s and beyond, as Orange County continued to grow, environmentalists created a Greenbelt of preserved land around Laguna Beach, purchasing some of it as well as land donated from the Irvine Company

Today, Laguna Beach has become a full-fledged resort town and still draws Hollywood celebrities, including sometime-resident Heather Locklear.