The Journal of San Diego History
SAN DIEGO HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY
Summer 1985, Volume 31, Number 3
Thomas Scharf, Managing Editor
By Thomas A. Jamison
San Diego History Center 1985 Institute of History
On May 21, 1923 La Jolla Properties, Inc. filed Articles of Incorporation with the State of California. The company owned $220,000 in capital stock. Eleven local businessmen and developers became members of the Board of Directors.1 Each director purchased one share of stock at $100, totalling $1100, and proceeded to buy, develop, and sell real estate in La Jolla, California.
On June 17, 1923 La Jolla Properties, Inc. announced the opening of a new subdivision named La Jolla Hermosa.2 The Balfour Company3 became the exclusive sales firm for the tract, and the owners designated Frank Turnbull4 President and Tract Manager.
In October, 1923 Tract Engineer, Clarence P. Day,5 filed a map which outlined the locations of the lots for La Jolla Hermosa. The back of the map listed eight restrictions placed upon the buyer of a Hermosa lot.
In the six months following incorporation, La Jolla Properties, Inc. had already begun to develop and improve land purchased along the shoreline bordered by Bird Rock at the south, Via Del Norte to the north, and La Jolla Boulevard to the east. Land development throughout San Diego maintained a rapid pace. Encouraged by the success of the 1923 Mission Beach development plan of John D. Spreckels,6 and the resurgence of real estate sales, business interests throughout San Diego wanted a share of the profits. The eleven owners of La Jolla Hermosa harbored similar notions.
La Jolla Hermosa lots ranged from 75 to 80 front feet, extending some 150 feet in depth. The ocean-front lots sold for approximately $2,000. All lot prices included public utility access, paved streets, curbs, sidewalks, and alleys.
Hermosa lot owners had to comply with building restrictions.7 There would be only one house per lot. The residence could not cost less than $8,000 to construct. The building had to face the street. The property could not contain fowl, goats, cows, or other farm animals. All occupants other than servants or employees had to be Caucasian. The restrictions prohibited walls, fences, or hedges exceeding five feet. Construction would be done using only new materials, and the dwelling had to remain unoccupied until completion. All plans had to be approved by the tract architect.
Many responsibilities lay ahead for Tract Architect, Edgar V. Ullrich8 in 1924. The critical success of the Casa de Manana resort hotel9 advanced his reputation as an architect among those who lived in or visited the San Diego area. The hotel became a prototype for Ullrich designs. Ullrich designed the first homes built in Hermosa and landscaped much of the tract development.
Frank Turnbull had duties of his own. As Tract Manager, Turnbull oversaw the improvement installation plan.10 In April, 1924 a contract for 416,000 square feet of 4-inch concrete made headlines as the largest paving contract of one job in San Diego history. As a final touch, Turnbull planted palm trees along the newly paved streets of Hermosa.11Tract improvements reached completion in November, 1924 and totalled $250,000.
La Jolla Hermosa hosted many visitors on October 4, 1924. One of several open houses sponsored by Balfour Company took place on this day. Visitors received color prints of the subdivision, suitable for framing. Public curiosity and knowledge of Hermosa heightened. Local newspapers reported the $25,000 purchase of 275 front feet of ocean-front property by a man from Long Beach, the largest individual sale of seaside property in the history of San Diego.12
The newspapers also announced the construction of a San Diego Electric Railway substation near the Hermosa tract. Located at Mira Monte Avenue, the $50,000 terminal would be the first of many substations throughout San Diego patterned after California missions. The railway would stop at the San Carlos Station13 before completing the northbound journey at the downtown La Jolla terminal.14 When finished, a thirty minute ride separated the Hermosa tract from downtown San Diego.
The passengers left the rail car at San Carlos Station in September of 1925, walked from the platform through the freshly decorated waiting room, and stepped into the sunlight. The startled group saw little else than the Pacific Ocean. Granted, the gathering heard the distant echoes of hammers upon nails, and shouts of construction workers. But for a small cluster of homes on the distant waterfront, or for the palm tree-lined, sparkling concrete roads, they could have mistaken the Hermosa tract for wasteland. Only the planners would have known what lay on the drawing boards of some of the most prolific and sought after architects in California during the next decade. When homes designed by Edgar Ullrich, Thomas Shepherd,15 Clifford May,16 and Herbert Palmer17 appeared on the La Jolla Hermosa landscape, few people, including the same group of rail car passengers, could not help but take notice.
Edgar Ullrich designed more than fifteen homes in La Jolla Hermosa. Ullrich homes followed the Spanish Mediterranean and French Normandy style or a combination of both. He favored the Normandy influence and successfully “sold” this style to clients, according to early Ullrich draftsman, Robert Wilson.18 An artist by nature, Edgar emphasized color coordination in his designs. Ullrich designed the MacArthur Gorton19 home in the Normandy style and utilized red tile roofing and white adobe walls for the Mediterranean style home of Frank Turnbull. In July, 1925 a publication on California architecture labelled Ullrich work as the “purest and most representative in California.”20
Thomas Shepherd arrived in La Jolla in 1926, formed a short-lived partnership with Herbert Mann,21 and designed homes in La Jolla which followed a unique pattern. Shepherd claimed to prefer no singular style, but rather designed for the particular needs and tastes of the owner. He disavowed any regard for architectural conformity. Extensive travel throughout Japan and Europe allowed Shepherd further design possibilities. Many Hermosa designs incorporated these nuances.
Clifford May homes began to line the streets of Hermosa in the 1930s. May utilized the Spanish Hacienda and his own California Ranch House style in the Hermosa tract. His designs contributed to the Spanish Revival of the 1930s, proffering low, rambling dwellings, red tile roofs, and completely walled-in courtyards.22
Herbert Palmer designed the Casa de los Amigos in 1927 for the Pilcher23 family, a home which typified the Spanish Mediterranean style. In July, 1926 Palmer remarked, “During the last three years there has been a marked improvement in the quality and stability of the community’s architectural development. Although at present there is no co-operative plan that is truly La Jollan, or Californian …”24
Hermosa lots appealed to the original owners for many reasons, some more tangible than others. The Balfour Company sales agents dealt with a variety of people looking for year-round living accommodations.25 Originally from New York, the William Jackson26 family planned to settle in Santa Monica but found the ocean-front property overpriced.27 Greeted by Balfour sales agent E.D. Brooks,28 the Jacksons selected an ocean-front lot, commissioned Edgar Ullrich, and lived in Hermosa for approximately twenty years. James J. Podesta,29 owner of the Golden Lion Tavern in San Diego, purchased a lot on Avenida Cresta and forged ahead to build what Ullrich considered his least favorite home. Podesta dictated every stage of construction despite Ullrich suggestions. The result remains a rather striking example of Spanish Colonial Renaissance. Several owners of La Jolla Properties, Inc. built homes in Hermosa if only to reassure the prospective buyers of the imminent beauty of the tract.30
The financial success of the subdivision became apparent as early as March, 1926. The first eight homes on the tract represented an average investment of $20,000.31 This figure did not include the railway station, tract office or the four homes in final stages of design. In May, 1926 the subdivision represented the largest finished residential project in San Diego. By the end of the year Hermosa had few lots available for sale.
From the outset, Balfour Company advertised La Jolla Hermosa in local papers.32 The number and scope of the advertisements grew dramatically in 1926. These proclamations varied in tone and perspective but strayed little from two themes. A La Jolla Hermosa lot offered a sound investment. And Hermosa furnished an exclusive living environment. The San Diego Union presented its readers with lavish information about the future popularity of owning a home in the San Diego area, the all-inclusive improvements, and the fact that property comparable to La Jolla Hermosa had already risen in value.
The appeal to wealth prevailed in Hermosa advertising. “A fine residential district, to remain fine. . . . should constitute a part of a larger distinctive residential section, so that its dwellers need not traverse unkemptness to reach it,”33 said one ad. Other advertisements in 1926 referred to La Jolla Hermosa as “San Diego’s socially correct spot to live,” whose natural value 11 will materially be heightened by a social prestige lacking outside the district …”34 In a March, 1926 issue of The San Diego Union, La Jolla Properties discussed a few accomplishments.
During the three years, the developers of La Jolla-Hermosa have seen their vision amply justified. They have seen San Diego reach out to the inimitable splendor of La Jolla as a creator leaps to art, as a strong man leaps to action, as a flower leaps to the sun. They have seen the most fastidious of earth’s dwellers come to complacent har borage at La Jolla-Hermosa.35
Theater played a role in the ad campaigns but the developers continued to offer somewhat more down to earth enticements.
In November, 1926 La Jolla Properties announced a business and community center for La Jolla Hermosa. The plans for La Jolla Hermosa Centro illustrated a mall-like shopping area located just off La Jolla Boulevard, on both sides of the San Carlos Station. La Jolla Properties proposed an increase in capital stock by $1,000,000 to fund the project. The community center sketch included an administration and fine arts building but a more significant and successful venture for Hermosa unfolded as the tract entered its fourth year of existence.
On January 16, 1927 La Jolla Properties announced the opening of the second Hermosa unit. Located across La Jolla Boulevard and bordered by Via Del Norte to the north, Camino De La Costa to the south, and the base of Mount Soledad to the cast, Hermosa Unit Two boasted 70 to 80 foot ocean view lots priced from $2,000 to $8,000, building restrictions, and increased design possibility because of the irregular-shaped lot designations. Hermosa Unit One and Unit Two now comprised 400 acres.
Once again Hermosa developers included improvements in all lot prices. The hilly terrain of Unit Two provided a challenge for Tract Engineer, Frank E. Dodge.36 Centered at the new community center site, Dodge designed a double horseshoe-shaped drive which circled the area along the foothills. The carefully contoured roads allowed for easy driving and accessibility. Along with the construction of a water and sewer system and the placement of 400,000 square feet of concrete paving, contractor L.B. Butterfield37 installed underground telephone and fire alarm service in April of 1927. Telephone poles lined the streets of the original Hermosa tract. The improvement totalled $300,000.
Construction of the $60,000 Administration and Fine Arts Building began in February, 1927, and it opened to the public in April, 1928.38 The Center planners envisioned the Spanish style building as the hub of activity for tract visitors and residents, an attraction for passing motorists, a public representation of the Hermosa community, and the beginning of a $500,000 assortment of retail shops, professional offices, and studios.
By January, 1929 Hermosa Unit One and Unit Two professed over $1,000,000 in public utility improvements. A rough sketch of a tennis and racquet club sat on the tract office drawing boards. An 80 foot Unit Two homesite sold for $3,000. The local newspapers tagged La Jolla Hermosa as the “Riviera District” in an apparent effort to distinguish the legion of new subdivisions now appearing on the San Diego landscape.
San Diego offered a variety of homesite locations in the late 1920s. The hills above La Jolla became the location of the Muirlands39 development. La Jolla Shores took to the coastline north of La Jolla. The Rolando40 tract sold lots in the flatlands of East San Diego. Lot sizes, prices, improvements, and restrictions varied. Hermosa celebrated its sixth anniversary in the company of several competitors.42
While keen competition prevailed during 1928 and 1929, La Jolla Hermosa held its own. The quality and extent of the improvements paid off. In 1928 Ullrich designed, and contractors completed, the homes of Hollywood artist, Norman Kennedy,43 Major J.W. Peyton, 44 and local businessman, Karl Kenyon.45 The community-like atmosphere contributed to neighborhood sociability; dinner parties proved popular among residents during this period.46 The Hermosa region, between the rapidly expanding community of La Jolla and the City of San Diego, assured property value increases.
La Jolla Hermosa managed to remain solvent and profitable because the tract followed, and perhaps set, the rules governing subdivision success. James W. Muir47 spoke of an architectural pattern which defined the La Jolla community. “There is little display and people usually keep the magnificence of their homes inside. Many a wonderful inner court is there in La Jolla concealed by straight-sided exterior walls.48 A stroll past the Hermosa designs of Ullrich, Shepherd, May, and Palmer left little doubt of such a pattern. Restraint struck a common chord among real estate analysts. The San Diego Union attributed the success of the “comprehensive development and home building program” of La Jolla Properties, Inc. to the restrictions established in 1923. Muir said that limitation establishes property value. Frank Turnbull maintained in February, 1928 that financial and architectural restrictions guaranteed high investment value. In June, 1928 a large number of La Jolla residents appeared in social registers; the community boasted the highest “notability rate” per capita of any place in the nation.49 From the outset Hermosa advertisements focused on this sector of the public.
These tenets, established by the founders of La Jolla Hermosa, remained intact as the subdivision moved into the 1930s and beyond. Initiated by the triumph of the original Hermosa and the certainty of a profitable Unit Two, La Jolla Properties had valid reason in its attempt to enhance the stately reputation of Hermosa with a business and community center. The project never materialized beyond the Administration and Fine Arts Building for lack of funding.50 In October, 1929 the financial hardships wrought by the Depression greatly affected real estate in San Diego and La Jolla Hermosa.51
La Jolla Hermosa generated profits for La Jolla Properties, Inc. The tract was and remains a textbook example of business acumen and understanding. Rapidly developed in 1923, Hermosa established an early lead in the competitive subdivision battles to follow. From the beginning, La Jolla Hermosa proved viable. The extensive improvement program, the building restrictions, the availability of the finest architects provided for a sound and feasible investment. La Jolla Properties targeted its audience. The advertisements appealed to a distinct class of people and higher lot prices virtually guaranteed purchase by upper income families. And finally, the development furnished only first class amenities. The seaside location, the 4-inch concrete paved roads and alleys, the carefully planted palm trees contributed to the excellent reputation acquired by the tract. La Jolla Herrnosa proved to those in its wake the ability of a subdivision to establish community identity and reap financial rewards in the process.
I . The original Board of Directors included Sam S. Porter, owner of Whitney’s Department Store; E.B. Gould; Thomas A. Rife, real estate developer in East San Diego and Mission Beach; Claus Spreckels, San Diego developer and son of John D. Spreckels; Harry Folsom, Manager of Brunswig Drug Company; B.W. Sinclair, Wellton Mesa developer; I.L. Leszynsky; H.H. Jones; Frank Turnbull, President of Balfour Company and expert on high-class residential development; R.D. Spicer, Vice-President of Stephens and Company, Investment Bankers. See Articles of Incorporation of La Jolla Properties, Inc., California State Archives; The San Diego Union, March 7, 1926. Sect. XR, pp. 8-9.
2. Thorough research of the origin of the subdivision name uncovered little more than its English translation, “The Beautiful Jewel.”
3. Research of the origin of the Balfour name uncovered nothing. Well known by many La Jolla residents at the time, Balfour Company established an office at 1144 Prospect Street, next to the La Valencia Hotel in downtown La Jolla. The 1924 Scui Diego City and County Directory shows the company sold real estate as well as insurance and investment securities.
4. Frank Turnbull, a native of England, came to La Jolla after a very distinguished duty in World War 1. His performance earned him the Decoration for Gallantry. Turnbull is supposed to have conceived of La Jolla Hermosa from residential areas he saw in France. According to those who knew him or knew of him, Turnbull had a certain “sense” about real estate development and sales. A resident of La Jolla for 40 years, Turnbull died at the age of 73 on March 11, 1957. See the San Diego Union, April 10, 1927, Sect. XR, p. 4; La Jolla Light, March 14, 1957, p. 1; conversations with Robert Wilson and Mrs. William Jackson.
5. One of the original tract engineers, based on the map date of October, 1923, Day had offices in both San Diego and Pasadena.
6. John D. Spreckels, eldest of thirteen children of Claus Spreckels, the “Sugar King” of San Francisco and monied San Diego developer, presided over J.D. and A.B. Spreckels Securities Company. John D. formed the subsidiary, Mission Bay Company in 1923. His successful resort community served summertime residents. President of the San Diego Electric Railway, Spreckels developed a coastal line running from Ocean Beach through Mission Beach and Pacific Beach. In 1924 the line would extend northward to La Jolla. See Diane Twomey, The Mission Beach Amusement Center: San Diego’s Oceari Playground; “John D. Spreckels,” Dictionary of American Biography Volume XVII, 1935.
7. All grant deeds for real property include building restrictions. Called “Conditions, Covenants, and Restrictions” or “C, C & R’s”, the Hermosa subdivision listed eight. A study of other subdivision restrictions revealed that some are more extensive and detailed than others. These restrictions are updated by the San Diego City Planning Department in order to comply with legal and contemporary conditions. For instance, a grant deed for a home in La Jolla Hermosa today would not include a reference to farm animals. See grant deeds for map numbers 1810, 2055, 1947 at Ticor Title Insurance, San Diego, California.
8. The duties of a tract architect included presenting the lot buyer with possible designs, attempting to satisfy the architectural demands of the tract owners and whims of the lot owners, and approving all designs of other architects prior to construction in the tract.
Ullrich designed many homes throughout La Jolla and San Diego in a 30 year career. His attention to detail-the random tile roofing with noticeable mortar, distinctive chimneys, grilled windows, wooden shutters with pegs-is apparent on many Hermosa homes. Examples of his work and their original owners include the Turnbull home, 62 10 Avenida Cresta; the Rubicarn home, 203 Via Del Norte; the Gorton home, 6109 Avenida Cresta; the Jackson home, 6025 Camino De La Costa; the Atkinson home, 6101 Via De La Mesa; the Hayes home, 6045 Waverly.
Ullrich also designed six churches in the La Jolla and San Diego area. These included the St. Charles Borromeo and Holy Family Church. The University of San Diego contains five Ullrich designs. See Biographical Notes on Local Architects file, Graduate Office, University of San Diego; conversation and tour of the area with Robert Wilson.
9. La Jolla socialite, Isabel Morrison Hopkins extended an invitation to Colorado Springs resident, Ullrich, to come to La Jolla and design the Casa de Manana. Completed in 1924, the Spanish style hotel won the Arnerican Institute of Architects award as the outstanding structure of its type in Southern California. The success garnered him the position of Hermosa tract architect and according to original Hermosa resident, Mrs. William Jackson, Edgar was “the” architect to build one’s home during this period. See Charles A. Braun House, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nornination Form.
10. The term “improvements” is real estate jargon for what the subdivision owner includes in the lot price. The owner considered paved streets, sidewalks, and hook-ups for public utilities to be benefits. The importance of improvements could be witnessed in tract advertisements. Hermosa claimed superiority because instead of using 2-inch macadam at 6 cents per square foot, 4-inch concrete was installed at 18 cents per square foot. Hermosa also stressed paved alleys, another indication that the tract went a step beyond the competition. See La Jolla Light, April 11, 1924, p. I and January 14, 1927, p. 3.
11. According to a conversation with Mrs. William Jackson, Turnbull uprooted these infant palm trees from land he owned in East San Diego. Turnbull maintained that the palm trees had not been mentioned in advertisements or in contracts and planted at the expense of the owners. See La Jolla Light, January 14, 1927, p. 3.
12. The purchaser, whose name was not revealed, originally built an ocean-front home in Long Beach only to witness the construction of a fourteen story apartment complex next door. The single dwelling restriction of Hermosa influenced his decision to move south. See the San Diego Union, November 2, 1924, Sect. XR, p. 4.
13. Architect Eugene M. Hoffman designed the San Carlos Station. See La Jolla Light, September 26, 1924, p. 1.
14. Construction of the San Carlos substation and main La Jolla terminal began simultaneously in October, 1924. Located at the corner of Prospect and Fay, the $100,000 investment contained an elliptical-shaped central waiting room, designed in Spanish Mission style. The building offered the turnaround for this last leg of the San Diego Electric Railway northern expansion. Touted as “one of the finest interurban terminals in America” by Traffic Manager of the San Diego Electric Railway Company, Fay R. Smalley, the building was thought by frequent visitor, Zelma Bays Locker to be “. . . a dank, cold, gloomy place . . . no one waited at the Terminal longer than could be helped. It was too deserted and spooky.” Abandoned in September, 1940, the railway could not compete with the comfort and convenience of the more popular buses and automobiles. See the San Diego Union, October 26, 1924, Sect. XR, p. 1; Zelma Bays Locker, “Remember Old Number Sixteen? Recollections of the La Jolla Street Car Line,” The Journal of San Diego History, XXIII (Fall 1977), pp. 25-34.
15. After completing the Columbia School of Architecture program and internship with Santa Barbara architect, George Washington Smith, Shepherd moved to La Jolla. Examples of Shepherd homes in Hermosa and the names of the original owners include the Turner home, 391 Via Del Norte; the Searle home, 6209 Avenida Cresta; the original home of Ruth Shepherd, 301 La Canada.
Shepherd designed commercial buildings in downtown La Jolla including the award winning two story store and office building on Wall Street between Herschell and Ivanhoe, in November of 1928. Other contributions include the John Scripps residence, the Marine Room at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club. In 1947 Shepherd designed his own home for himself and his wife, Ruth. A tour of the Italianate structure clearly illustrates the Shepherd trademark of utilizing a variety of aesthetically pleasing features, among them the inset shuttered windows and floorplan that faces a walled-in garden courtyard. See Biographical Notes on Local Architects file, Graduate Office, University of San Diego; conversations with Robert Wilson and Mrs. Ruth Shepherd.
16. A native San Diegan and graduate of San Diego State College, May successfully established his own architectural style. Hermosa contains many examples of the Hacienda and Ranch House style. The best known example is at 6126 Avenida Cresta. Other May designs are at 6004, 6116, and 6117 Avenida Cresta. The similarities are striking and lend support to the conscious effort of May to follow this style to the letter. See Biographical Notes on Local Architects file, Graduate Office, University of San Diego; conversation with Robert Wilson.
17. The most travelled and cosmopolitan of Hermosa architects, Herbert Palmer, trained in architecture at Buckingham Palace and lived in India, New York, and Maryland. Palmer worked with Frank Lloyd Wright for a time yet found the “innovative concepts” wanting. His La Jolla residential and commercial buildings followed the Mediterranean style. From 1926 to 1930 Palmer designed the Arcade Building at 7908 Girard. He also designed the “Pink House,” “House of Legends,” the Janis home, the Bulgar home, and the Murphy home, all located in La Jolla. The Casa de los Arnigos represents the only Hermosa home designed by Palmer. See Biographical Notes on Local Architects file, Graduate Office, University of San Diego.
18. A young draftsman in the 1920s and 1930s, Robert Wilson worked as an apprentice in the Ullrich office. He initially lettered blueprints and moved on to draw many plans and construct models of Ullrich designs. Mr. Wilson maintained a close friendship with the Ullrich family and has fond memories of his Ullrich association. He also worked with Thomas Shepherd and Herbert Palmer in the early Hermosa years.
19. MacArthur Gorton and Roy B. Wiltsie, another La Jolla Hermosa resident, co-owned and managed La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. Conversation with Robert Wilson.
20. Ironically, the University of Illinois authored the publication. In July, 1925 the University requested sketches of the Casa de Manana and several Ullrich homes in La Jolla Hermosa. See the San Diego Union, July 12, 1925, Sect. XR, p. 5.
21. Herbert Mann arrived in San Diego in 1925. Although the Mann-Shepherd partnership proved a short one, during the course of the association Mann dealt with the actual construction of Shepherd designs. Mann did not design in Hermosa but gained recognition for the design of the Spanish Tower addition to La Valencia Hotel in 1928 and the La Jolla Branch of the First National Trust and Savings Bank in 1929. See Biographical Notes on Local Architects file, Graduate Office, University of San Diego.
22. The popularity of this style continued throughout California following World War Il. See Biographical Notes on Local Architects file, Graduate Office, University of San Diego.
23. R.E. Pilcher manufactured pipe organs in St. Louis, Missouri. The Casa de los Amigos provided a summer home for his family. Pilcher installed four pipe organs in La Jolla and San Diego churches. St. James-By-The Sea Church at 743 Prospect housed one of these organs.
The present owners of Casa de los Amigos are Herbert and Sybil York. They purchased the home at 6110 Camino De La Costa in 1964 for $144,000. The dwelling, which includes a separate wing and inner courtyard fountain, is now estimated at 1.9 million dollars. Conversations with the Yorks, Robert Wilson, and tour of Casa de los Amigos.
24. See La Jolla Light, July 23, 1926, p. 4, 11.
While Palmer pointed toward a community plan, Thomas Shepherd heralded the call for individuality and non-conformity. “Each house … is an individual solution in providing a home that reflects the way the owners live.” See the San Diego Union, April 11, 1927, Sect. D, p. 2.
25. La Jolla Hermosa stood alone as one of the first residential communities in San Diego oriented toward the year-round resident. Resort communities, Mission Beach and Pacific Beach catered to summer vacationers, According to original resident, Mrs. Ruth Shepherd, the Hermosa community largely housed local businessmen and families, the elderly and retired.
26. Mr. William Jackson, a real estate developer, worked primarily in the Girard Avenue district of La Jolla. Conversation with Mrs. Jackson.
27. Ocean-front property in Santa Monica went for $2,000 a front foot. The Jacksons paid $8,000 in total for their lot. Conversation with Mrs. William Jackson.
28. F.D. Brooks Jr. held the title of Secretary of Balfour Company in 1924. Original resident, Mrs. Jackson thought E.D, “a nice young man” whose sales pitch for their oceanfront lot impressed her.
29. Proprietor of the Golden Lion Tavern in 1915, James Podesta may have been thought by many to have a checkered past. His waterfront saloon which catered to the sailor trade in 1905 must have raised a few eyebrows. Podesta most likely aided in “future redlight district and saloon cleanups.” See Pat Schaelchlin, ed., La Jolla: A Historical Inventory, 1977.
30. These La Jolla Properties, Inc. owners included Balfour Company President, Frank Turnbull and President of the First National Trust and Savings Bank, Karl Kenyon. Not an owner but Secretary of Balfour Company, E.D, Brooks Jr. also owned a home in La Jolla Hermosa. See San Diego City and County Directory, 1924-1928.
31. From the outset lot owners ignored the $8,000 minimum building restriction. These eight owners each invested at least $20,000 in home construction costs. Adjoining property values multiplied as a result which greatly pleased La Jolla Properties, Inc. See the San Diego Union, April 4, 1926, Sect. XR, p. 7.
32. Other subdivisions advertised as well. La Jolla Shores offered free bus tours of San Diego. Kensington Heights beckoned the reader with information surrounded by attractive drawings. Bold headlines and graphics dominated the pages of “The Real Estate and Development Section” of the Sunday editions of the San Diego Union. See the San Diego Union, January 9, 1927, Sect. XR, p. 2.
33. See the San Diego Union, March 28, 1926, Sect. XR, p. 6.
34. See the San Diego Union, June 20, 1926, Sect. XR, p. 8.
35. See the San Diego Union, March 7, 1926, Sect. XR, pp. 8-9.
36. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Dodge served as President of the American Civil Engineering Association for several years. In July, 1927 construction began on his home on La Canada in Hermosa Unit Two. See La Jolla Light, July 29, 1927, p. 1.
37. Fifteen Southern California contractors participated in Unit Two improvements bidding. Butterfield submitted the lowest bid due to the fact he had contracted a $289,000 job at the nearby Monte Costa tract. This concentration of work allowed for lower labor and equipment costs. See the San Diego Union, April 24, 1927, Sect. XR, p. 10.
38. The opening of the La Jolla Hermosa civic center art gallery featured the marine and desert paintings of R. Clarkson Colman and The La Jolla Hermosa School of Painting accepted applications for night class. See La Jolla Light, April 15, 1928, p. 1.
39. The Muirlands development totalled $165,000 in March, 1929 and construction of the first nine homes cost $225,000. Muirlands offered its dwellers a private airplane landing field which reportedly averaged ten landings a day. The responsibilities of the Muirlands tract layout fell to Edgar Ullrich. See San Diego Union, March 24, 1929, Sect. XR, p. 1; Charles A. Braun House, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form. 40. La Jolla Shores owners George Rose, Joseph Nash, and the Union-Title Company started development in 1924 of what was considered one of the finer residential areas. The subdivision contained a beach section and the Highlands area. See La Jolla, California, pamphlet, 1956; “The Great La Jolla Land Boom: 70 Years Old and Still Bullish,” San Diego and Point Magazine. January, 1958, Vol. 10, No. 2, pp. 25-27, 68-70.
41. Rolando, 20 minutes from downtown San Diego, claimed the shortest and most direct route to La Mesa and constituted 505 acres along El Cajon Boulevard. See The Sall Diego Union, July 4, 1926, Sect. XR, P. 11.
42. The competition took many shapes and forms in the late 1920’s and many names as well: La Jolla Shores, Muirlands, Monte Costa, Palisades, Point Loma, North Shore Highlands, Braemar, Chesterton, Rolando, Kensington Heights, Windsor Hills, and Talmadge Park.
43. Research of Hollywood artist, Norman Kennedy revealed little more than the fact he spent much of his time commuting back and forth from Hollywood. Conversations with Mrs. William Jackson, Mrs. Ruth Shepherd, and Robert Wilson.
44. Major I.W. Peyton was a staff member of the Army and Navy academy in Pacific Beach which eventually relocated to Carlsbad. Conversation with Robert Wilson.
45. Karl Kenyon figured prominently in La Jolla real estate and financial circles as a member of the La Jolla Properties, Inc. Board of Directors in 1927, and President of the First National Trust and Savings Bank. The Kenyon residence cost $25,000. See The Sall Diego Union, April 10, 1927, Sect. XR, p. 5 and July 15, 1928, Sect. XR, p. 10.
46. Social gatherings among the original residents of Hermosa seemed a common and popular means of meeting and visiting with neighbors. The small number of homeowners allowed for this social atmosphere although both Mrs. Jackson and Mrs. Shepherd commented that aside from these social functions, one rarely saw other Hermosa residents.
47. Muir developed the exclusive Muirlands subdivision in 1927. Edgar Ullrich designed the Muir house, known as the “Versaille of La Jolla.” See Charles A. Braun House, National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination Form.
48. See H.J. Muir, The San Diego Union, July 24, 1927, Sect. XR, pp. 1-2.
49. Based on the fact that La Jolla contained 75 notable personalities in a population of 6,000, this somewhat intriguing claim requires further study. The method by which the authors arrived at such a conclusion would be a story in itself. See the San Diego Union, June 17, 1928, Sect. XR, p. 10.
50. The Fine Arts and Administration Building and San Carlos Station met with an interesting fate. Although briefly converted into a school for aviators during World War II, the Administration Building housed the La Plaza restaurant and El Toro Bar for nearly ten years. Following the 1940 electric railway closure, the San Carlos terminal remained in disuse until 1954 when the La Jolla United Methodist Church bought the dwelling. The church initially used the waiting room as its chapel, seating 125 members. Membership growth necessitated the purchase of the La Plaza and El Toro Bar facilities, adjoining the chapel,
The El Toro Bar lease ran for three more years and placed the church in the precarious position of owning an establishment that dispensed alcohol. The Methodist Church maintained the lease agreement but, according to Assistant to the Pastor, Mrs. Jessie Brubaker, the income funded no church related activities. Remodeled by church members and architect, Thomas Shepherd, La Plaza housed the Methodist congregation for the next ten years.
Completed in 1970, the current chapel stands south of the old San Carlos Station, now used as a storage room. The terminal platform has been enclosed and is a meeting hall. The original Fine Arts and Administration Building is now a reception hall.
51. Subdivisions throughout San Diego and La Jolla suffered through the Depression. Lot prices dropped from $1500 to $300. Architects Shepherd and Ullrich found little work. Ullrich pursued his artistic talent and sold drawings and sketches on a custom basis. See “The Great La Jolla Land Boom: 70 Years Old and Still Bullish,” San Diego and Point Magazine. January, 1958: conversation with Robert Wilson.
THE PHOTOGRAPHS are from the San Diego History Center’s Title Insurance and Trust Collection.