In 1923, Huntington Island was purchased from Pacific Electric by W. K. Parkinson for $45,000. Parkinson, a former conductor on the Pacific Electric, made his fortune from land investments when oil was discovered near Bakersfield. Parkinson spent more than a quarter-million dollars dredging the harbor and using the fill to raise the isle more than ten feet above the high tide line. The Griffith Company was hired to build seawalls, a bridge, piers and roads.
The new development was one of the first master planned communities in California and was conceived to resemble a European resort. Parkinson envisioned the space as a resort similar to those in the Mediterranean. After dredging the island was renamed Lido Isle in homage to Lido near Venice. As a master-planned development, the community was one of the first in Southern California to be built with underground utilities.
As part of the Mediterranean-theme the development was built with streets named after many Mediterranean cities, including Barcelona, Genoa, Nice and Ithaca. The names of the two main streets, Via Lido Nord and Via Lido Soud, also reflect this theme. Most homes are built in a Mediterranean Revival Style architecture, but there are some Cape Cod and modern style homes as well.
The geographic and social center of this "semi-private" community is the Lido Isle Club House,, which hosts many community clubs and organizations, including the Lido Isle Yacht Club, and includes a snack bar and bay beach. All property owners must pay an annual assessment, and all residents are Community Association members. The island plays a big part in the annual Newport Christmas Boat Parade.