The Journal of San Diego History
Spring 1980, Volume 26, Number 2
Thomas L. Scharf, Managing Editor

By Nan Cuthbert

“Say the French, ‘See Paris and die!’
Make your home at La Jolla and Live, say I.”

The San Diego Union
May 5, 1887

La Jollans do have a tendency to “wax rhapsodic” about their lovely environment. Well they should, for the area was truly blessed by the Creator with an abundance of natural beauty. But, to those accustomed to the chic allure of today’s avenues, it is difficult to envision its early collection of tiny cottages on the dusty chapparal.

Civic pride is readily apparent as one peruses the newspaper articles of one hundred and some odd years ago. Are there, perhaps, current lessons to be learned from the admonition published in The San Diego Union on December 8, 1902?

Saturday next was the day set apart as ‘clearing up’ day, when every able-bodied La Jollaite is expected to be abroad in pursuit of stray paper and cans, and woe to those who thereafter disfigure the village green with such articles.

Future problems of a different nature may have been forecast on November 6, 1890 when a daring Union reporter noted that some individuals were using the caves as “bath houses without doors!” Or, possibly today’s energy consciousness might be stirred by the promise of April 26, 1887, when the Union advertised that,

Beyond all doubt La Jolla Park will be the most independent town in Southern California on the fuel question, as it has been fully demonstrated that there is (sic) large quantities of the finest coal on the tract.

When contemporary readers scan the social columns for a glimpse of La Jolla’s sophisticated entertainment, it might be interesting to make a contrast with The San Diego Union‘s report of June 16, 1894, which tells us that,

The managers of this favorite resort have prepared another performance for Sunday afternoon, which the public takes delight in witnessing, in the shape of a balloon ascension. Miss Hazel Keyes, with her trained monkey Yan Yan, accompanied by Professor Romeo, the accomplished aeronaut, will make the ascension and each will drop in different parachutes, making the perilous descent separately.

And one can only puzzle at the changes in adverbial meaning when we read in the pages of the same paper on October 8, 1873 that,

Fessenden, the artist, was there and took fifteen different views of the magnificent scenery with the party scattered about promiscuously.

It is to these artist-photographers and the many unknown journalists that this article is dedicated. They have truly chronicled La Jolla’s legacy and their pictures and words need no further embellishment.

The following photographs are all taken from the San Diego Historical Society’s Title Insurance and Trust Collection. The accompanying quotations from The San Diego Union will not be further identified except by date.

La Jolla visitor

Page 90. A photograph of a turn-of-the-century La Jolla beach visitor seems to capture the spirit of a November 1900 San Diego Union article: “These are glorious days at La Jolla. Sun, sky, sea and air seem vying with each other in an attempt to make perfect the passing month. Surging high tides and marvelously low tides, have given variety in the week just closed.”

La Jolla, c. 1900

Page 92. La Jolla, c. 1900
La Jolla Park is the finest seaside resort on the American Continent, having all that heart can wish to amuse one’s-self. April 26, 1887

Wooden steps down Devil's Slide

Page 93. Wooden steps down “Devil’s Slide” at La Jolla Cove, 1902

Mammoth Arch

Page 94. Mammoth Arch, c. 1900

“By the expenditure of a few hundred dollars visitors could go into the caves and under the Mammoth Arch, which are now accessible only at extremely low tide” October 17, 1873

The White Lady, 1902

Page 94. The White Lady, 1902

Cathedral Rock

Page 95. Cathedral Rock, 1903

“Cathedral Rock, one of the distinguishing features of the popular suburb, La Jolla, is now but a mass of broken rocks, rumbled and jumbled together much like the debris which results from an explosion in a great quarry . . . . The end came suddenly, as it often does to aged and well known members of the community. Between 3 and 4 o’clock yesterday morning, as near as the residents of La Jolla can tell, there resounded through the suburb a great roar . . . . There seemed to be a distinct tremor accompanying the sound, but its true import was not known until early risers looked over the brow of the bluff, due west of the station, and there saw that their beloved Cathedral Rock had collapsed.” January 20, 1906

La Jolla Park Hotel

Page 96. Reception Room, La Jolla Park Hotel, c. 1895

“About fifteen miles up the coast from San Diego is one of the most charming and romantic spots on this side of the continent and it is destined soon to be a noted place of resort for pleasure seekers and invalids from the city . . . . with a good hotel, La Jolla would become a very attractive place of resort.” October 17, 1873

La Jolla Park Hotel

Page 97. La Jolla Park Hotel, c. 1888

“The new hotel that is being built occupies a magnificent site on an eminence overlooking the ocean.” February 21, 1888

“The La Jolla hotel was opened with great eclat yesterday.”
January 2, 1893

“At 8:45 o’clock last night Frank Gordon, watchman at La Jolla Hotel, discovered the building to be on fire . . . . The supposition is that an incendiary is responsible for the loss. For some time the hotel has been unoccupied . . . . (it) was one of the finest buildings for its purpose in this part of the state, and was erected during the activity of several years ago at a cost of $33,000.00 . . . . (it) was insured for $10,000.” June 15, 1896

Page 98. Cottage at Green Dragon Colony, 1908. “Miss Held spends Friday and Saturday of each week at the Green Dragon of some one of her pretty cottages here.” November 26, 1899

Page 98. Boat Swing Hammock built by Anna Held, c. 1908. “Miss Held is putting up another cottage near the ‘Studio’ of the Green Dragon.” November 19, 1900

Boat Swing Hammock

Page 99. “In the Green Dragon Colony “Noah’s Ark” is being built, whether in anticipation of the prophesied flood or of an inrush of tourists, one may decide for himself.” February 16, 1903

La Valencia Hotel

Page 100. La Valencia Hotel, 1927 “La Jolla’s new apartment building, the Valencia, on Prospect Street, will be opened to the public for the first time Wednesday! During the afternoon and evening a reception will be held and employees will guide guests through the rooms and apartments.” December 12, 1926

La Valencia Hotel, 1937

Page 101. La Valencia Hotel, 1937.
“The largest project now underway in the business section is a new unit and tower on Valencia Hotel.” September 2, 1928

“In addition to the new hotel rooms and apartments the new unit contains a galleria, decorated in Spanish style, social room and reading room.” December 29, 1928

The Botsford Cottage, Ivanhoe and Prospect, c. 1888

Page 102. The Botsford Cottage, Ivanhoe and Prospect, c. 1888

(Pronounced Lah Hoeyah)
The Queen of Sea-Side Resorts

To those who have not visited La Jolla Park we simply say, “You have missed seeing one of Natures’s Masterpieces.”
To those in search of a home in “A Cottage By the Sea” We invite their most critical investigation.

We offer you a Pleasant Climate, Balmy and Invigorating Sea-Air, Beautiful Wild Flowers, Curious Shells, Smooth Beaches, Wonderful Caves, Sea Mosses and Ferns of Rare Beaches, Ocean Gold Fish visible every day of the year, and occasional views of whales and vessels on the ocean.
February 21, 1888

Burnwell Cottage, c. 1888

Page 103. Burnwell Cottage, c. 1888


For the rise is real — earnest;
Higher yet will prices be;
And the best of all investments
Lies in lots beside the sea.
So wake and call me early — call me early, husband dear;
The 30th is the happiest day of all the gladsome year.
Of all the gladsome year, husband — the brightest, happiest day,
For you’ll buy me a lot at La Jolla — Queen of the Sunlit Bay. February 9, 1888

La Jolla Cove, 1894

Page 104. La Jolla Cove, 1894

“Where shall I go for my vacation and rest? is the question that is often asked. Then, go out to San Diego’s ideal resort at La Jolla and you will get your heart’s desire.” July 19, 1894

The new bath house

Page 106. “The new bath house opened most successfully this week and the opening was attended by a large crowd of people in quiet holiday humor, who kept the new pool, alleys, cafe and verandah covered.” March 26, 1906

Ladies in Waiting

Page 106. Arrangements to handle more than 25,000 persons at La Jolla July 4, during the ‘Jolla-fication’ celebrating the opening of the new San Diego Electric railway between San Diego and La Jolla were being made yesterday.” “Ladies in Waiting,” 1924

La Jolla Park bathers

Page 107. “La Jolla Park citizens are aroused over the immodesty — real or imagined — shown by men and women bathers appearing on the streets on that seaside resort; their costumes have shocked the sensibilities of pedestrians because of their scentiness.” June 27, 1909

Page 108. Thousands of happy men and boys go swimming industriously every year and hundreds of them are fished out of the water later by their sorrowing relatives. July 6, 1914
“The past has been a thoroughly delightful and pretty gay week at La Jolla. Bathing, fishing, golf and tennis by day, with moonlight parties, music and dancing as attractions at evening time . . . . It’s safe to say if people have not had a good time at La Jolla these summer days and evenings they have entered upon a condition past pleasure.” July 14, 1900


Page 108. “We call your attention to our renting wheels, all new and high grade. Lessons given by competent instructors. Wheels by the hour, 25¢, day $1.50. F.R. Pitnor Cycle Co. January 1, 1894

La Jolla Spring Board

Page 109. La Jolla “Spring Board”, 1914

Prospect Street

Page 110. Prospect Street, 1900. “The trainload of cottages recently taken to La Jolla have been distributed to their respective sites, and in the hands of carpenters, painters and decorators, will soon be ready for occupancy,” July 4, 1900

Page 110. “The tract (Hermosa) was contoured by airplane, in accordance with aerial surveying as mastered on the western front in the World War.”
July 1,1924

Page 111. “The La Jolla Terminal Building and the new Sub Station were designed by Eugene Hoffman.”
July 1, 1924

La Jolla Shores

Page 112. La Jolla Shores, 1925

La Jolla Wakes
  by Walt Mason

La Jolla lay sleeping
Long years by the sea;
No watch was she keeping,
And heedless was she
Of Progress’s motion,
Its rush and its roar;
She dreamed by the ocean,
She slept on the shore.

Her neighbor’s expanding,
Astonished the West;
But she was demanding
No blessing but rest;
She basked on her pillows,
Her couch by the waves;
She snored by the billows,
She yawned by the caves.

But see her awaken
Refreshed by her snooze,
Her languor forsaken,
With wings on her shoes:
All throbbing with vigor,
Inspired by the will
To grow till she’s bigger
Yet beautiful still.

La Jolla is beaming
There’s vim in her step,
She’s done with her dreaming,
She’s brimming with pep;
With old time devotion
To beautiful things,
She wakes by the ocean
And flutters her wings.
July 3, 1924

Page 114. “One of the most popular floats in the parade, (was) the entry of the U.S. Naval Reserve Force of the 1st sub-district, 11th Naval district. It was a Navy whaleboat manned by a crew of reservists with their oars aloft, the whole mounted on a truck, the body and running gear of which was a clever arrangement of signal flags.”
July 5, 1924

Page 115. “Another entry popular with the crowd was the Kentucky Riding Academy troop of horses . . . . (they) were perfectly groomed for the occasion, and the same thing could be said for at least the feminine contingent of riders.” July 5, 1924

Page 116. One of La Jolla’s first automobiles, 1907

Page 117. First Baptist Church Tally-Ho Party, 1905

“Driving in an open carriage and behind a smart team is a real pleasure.” January 1, 1903

“Harking back through the many intervening years, Widrin recalled yesterday the incidents of the first automobile sale in San Diego, and the forecasts made at that time ‘that the dern thing would never run.'”
December 1, 1912

Page 117. Ralph Hamlin, Soledad Mountain Climb, 1918

Can you find the same satisfaction in open touring after once taking a trip in a Franklin Sedan . . . . RALPH HAMLIN
November 3, 1918


Page 118. “Always be on the lookout for lazy hands… weak hands for this golf business… will quit on the job every time if you don’t lash them to their work.”

La Jolla Yacht Club, 1927

Page 118. La Jolla Yacht Club, 1927

“We feel confident that in another seven weeks, the La Jolla Beach and Yacht Club will be in actual operation. No other Club project in San Diego can show such a record of speed in fulfillment of its promises. We shall strive to keep the record undimmed in future.”
“On All the Coast No Club Like This!”

Tennis players

Page 119. “Here are some of the feminine . . . . racquet wielders who have been playing stellar tennis in the eighth annual tournament on the La Jolla playground and Bishop School courts . . . . left to right: Miss Dorothy Bielefeldt, Miss Iona Bielefeldt, Miss Jean McGill, Miss Josephine Crookshank and Miss Frances Concroft.”
July 22, 1924

Ellen Scripps Home

Page 120. Ellen Scripps Home c. 1900

“Miss Scripps contemplates extensive improvements to South Moulton Villa, and the grounds, this summer.” May 20, 1902

Billiard Room at La Jolla Playground

Page 120. Billiard Room at La Jolla Playground, 1915

“La Jolla aroused itself from its usual complacency yesterday, and, amid enthusiasm, one of the most complete community house and playgrounds in America was dedicated and turned over to the city . . . . Miss Ellen B. Scripps gave the deed . . . .” July 4, 1915

Garden at Moulton Villa

Page 121. Garden at Moulton Villa, 1938

“Miss Scripps’ former home, fronting on Prospect street, recently was purchased by a group of La Jolla citizens who were desirous of preserving and developing the building as a center for artistic and cultural interest. The gardens, fronting 581 feet on Prospect St; 645 feet on Coast Blvd., 288 feet on Cuvier St. and 142 feet on Eads St. are to be sold separately in individual tracts. . . . September 28, 1941

Scripps Oceanographic Institute

Page 122. Scripps Oceanographic Institute, 1911

“The annual meeting and election of officers and directors of the Marine Biological Society was held yesterday afternoon in La Jolla . . . . Professor Ritter submitted a report . . . . (he stated) another matter on which I wish to speak is that of the new laboratory. As most of you undoubtedly know, this is now practically complete and is already occupied in part . . . .” July 13, 1910

Scripps Clinic, 1924

Page 123.

Scripps Clinic, 1924

“The metabolic clinic, which will be conducted in connection with the Scripps Memorial hospital, was opened formally yesterday with two receptions to which the public was invited, one in the afternoon and one in the evening . . . . The clinic is in the building formerly known as the La Jolla sanitarium and was made possible through funds supplied by Miss Ellen B. Scripps . . . . The clinic was established for the study and treatment of the diseases classed under metabolism, such as high blood pressure, nephritis, arthritis, diabetes, Bright’s disease and arterio-sclerosis.” December 13, 1924

La Jolla Shores, 1897

Page 124. La Jolla Shores, 1897

La Jolla, 1947

Page 124. La Jolla, 1947

La Jolla, 1910

Page 125. La Jolla, 1910

“With a plain statement of growth and good prospects, the resort of La Jolla welcomes new and old Friends to its picturesque shores . . . . When one is once acclimated, return is sure and imperative.” January 1, 1903