Vail Avenue

Nathan Randolph “N.R.” Vail (1825-1888) literally gave his life to Redondo Beach. Born and raised in Essex County, NJ, Vail worked as a shipmaster and merchant in his early days. He married Newfoundland native Anna Walker (1830-1913) in 1857 and they had five children. Vail eventually became an all-around capitalist, running a petroleum company in New Jersey, a tramway in Liverpool (while living in London), and the “Total Wreck” mine outside of Tucson. The family settled in L.A. by 1875 and Vail bought 20 acres southwest of downtown for his estate. He later sold the house and land to Charles Silent, who turned it into Chester Place. Vail and Silent were close friends and business partners and on November 4th, 1887, along with Dan McFarland and others, they incorporated the Redondo Beach Co. and the Centinela-Inglewood Land Co., effectively founding both Redondo Beach and Inglewood on the same day. Four months later, Vail perished in the waves along the Redondo shore: piloting a skiff across stormy waters, his boat capsized and the 63-year-old town builder drowned.