Seal Beach’s coastal location made it the perfect choice for the construction of first planned, active senior retirement community in the nation. 
Construction on what was originally named Rossmoor Leisure World began in 1961. The community’s two particularly innovative concepts—guard-gated security and on-site medical services—fostered national press coverage. 
Leisure World’s original bold vision? Residents could visit the on-site medical center’s 10 doctors for free, and get no-cost prescriptions, tests, and X-rays. However, unexpectedly high usage and Medicare’s implementation in 1966 ended the GRF health plan. Since that time, the Health Care Center has been administered by Medicare-approved professional companies.
The original units were single-story, cooperative, attached garden apartments, with grab bars in the bathroom, raised electrical outlets, wide hallways and other features to make life easier for older shareholders. The first residents, who had to be at least 52 years old, arrived June 8, 1962. All 6,476 original units were sold by December 1964. 
In June 1962, the first residents were in an active construction zone. But within a single year, the community opened an amphitheater; a nine-hole golf course; swimming pool; therapy pool; three clubhouses; two woodworking shops; pool and billiard rooms; art, ceramic and lapidary studios; as well as shuffleboard, horseshoe and roque courts.
Leisure World transformed the City of Seal Beach. When Leisure World was completed, its 9,400 shareholders and residents represented nearly 60% of Seal Beach’s population. Leisure World now comprises about 40% of the city’s residents and elects two of the city’s five council members.
After 60 years of California’s housing inflation, Leisure World is still a bargain. In 1962, monthly assessments averaged $125. In 2022 dollars, that equals nearly $1,300 a month. This year’s average assessment? About $504, which includes property taxes.