Last week, we published an article about a town outside Paris that was abandoned after it ended up under the flight path of Charles de Gaulle Airport. We compared it to Surfridge, a town taken by eminent domain to enable expansion of LAX Airport. Alexandra Thorne, an Untapped Cities reader, contacted us with more information on why Surfridge hasn’t been included on the master plan for the LAX Airport area. Turns out it’s the habitat of the El Segundo Blue Butterfly, an endangered species. The city-run butterfly preserve at Surfridge has enabled a “remarkable comeback” of the species and is now the home for 125,000 of the butterflies.

Our own subsequent research yielded plans by the California Coastal Commission to restore 48 acres of Surfridge to its natural state, “part of a settlement of a lawsuit between LAX and surrounding cities over the airport’s expansion plans,” according to the LA Times.

Alexandra told us:

In the ’80s, all plans to develop that land, which were passed by both city and airport officials, were voted down by the California Coastal Commission, whose estimates had the butterfly population at a mere 500 due to LAX development overtaking its only natural habitat. Concerns about the dwindling population of the rare butterfly were considered paramount.

Another fact Alexandra informed us about: Surfridge was established as a pure ethnicity, Caucasian-only community in the 1930’s.

Want us to track down an obscure piece of history? Write to us at info@untappedcities.com or through our contact page

Leave a Comment