La Jolla Historical Society

La Jolla Historical Society The La Jolla Historical Society inspires and empowers the community to make La Jolla's diverse past a relevant part of contemporary life. Office: 7846 Eads Avenue - 10am to 4pm Monday - Friday.

Gallery: 780 Prospect Street Open Noon to 4pm Thursday – Sunday. Free Admission

Research appointments can be made by calling Deputy Director Dana Hicks at 858-459-5335 ext. 3 or emailing us at [email protected].

Operating as usual

The Windansea Surf Shack is one of the oldest and most prominent beach landmarks in San Diego. The palm-covered hut, whi...
09/12/2021

The Windansea Surf Shack is one of the oldest and most prominent beach landmarks in San Diego. The palm-covered hut, which has been historically designated as Historical Landmark 358, was built in 1947 by returning World War II soldiers including Woody Ekstrom, Fred Kenyon and Don Okey, who were also surfers, for shade and aloha. According to the Historical Landmarks Designated by the San Diego Historical Resources Board, the Surf Shack at WindanSea Beach (6800 Neptune Place) is the “oldest continuously used shelter of its kind on the West Coast.”

Melinda Merryweather, one of those responsible for the designation and later the plaque, said The Shack needed the protection that comes with designation, in case it were ever destroyed. “It was built by surfers, not a formal construction company, and we thought, ‘we need some assurance in case it comes down.’ Lo and behold, it did come down during a storm and we were able to rebuild it as it was,” she said.

Merryweather said, “When these guys would go surfing, their wives would say they needed to take the children with them. Then they would get here and realize there was no shady, protected place for their kids.” Tony Ciani, also part of the team that got the Shack designated, said he heard it was because their board wax would melt, and a shady place was needed to keep their equipment cool. “Maybe it’s both — the kids needed shade and their boards needed shade,” he said. Regardless of the impetus, The Shack’s synonymy with surfing at WindanSea makes it arguably relevant to the history of La Jolla. Ciani added, “It’s just legendary, part of the legend of surfing. It’s one of those landmarks you want to be able to touch over time.

The Shack has been moved twice. Both times, its orientation was kept the same — a crucial factor in maintaining its connection to surfing. The first time, at a date unknown, The Shack was moved directly inland because its sandstone base was deteriorating. In 2015, a storm destroyed The Shack and it was rebuilt by Friends of WindanSea. For more background see https://www.lajollalight.com/news/local-news/sd-windansea-shack-plaque-installed-20170301-story.html

Saturday from the Collections Manager's Corner...My name is Dana and I'm the Collections Manager at the LJHS. I look for...
09/04/2021

Saturday from the Collections Manager's Corner...My name is Dana and I'm the Collections Manager at the LJHS. I look forward to sharing images from our Collections with you every month. Currently, I'm working with the Leopold Hugo Postcard Collection. Hugo was a famous photographer and La Jolla resident who's later work emulated the Pictorialists. These images were taken by Hugo c1907-1917. Here are three postcards from the Collection of 78 postcards. The first one is of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and La Jolla Shores, the second is from the corner of Prospect Street and Torrey Pines Road and the third is of the conjunction of Prospect Street, Exchange Place and Cave Street with Mt. Soledad in the background. I especially like the street lights! For more information about Leopold Hugo and this Collection, visit our page at the Online Archive of California. Enjoy!
https://oac.cdlib.org/findaid/ark:/13030/c8xs62qb/

Sunday September 5th is the last day of our exhibition "Our Ocean's Edge". It's a wonderful exhibit featuring black and ...
09/03/2021

Sunday September 5th is the last day of our exhibition "Our Ocean's Edge". It's a wonderful exhibit featuring black and white images from LA photographer Jasmine Swope’s quest to capture the essence of California’s marine parks. This photographic project celebrates these fragile seascapes, from Southern to Northern California, while increasing awareness about their natural benefits and promoting ecological conservation. We're open Thursday - Sunday, 12noon - 4pm at 780 Prospect Street in La Jolla. Admission is free.

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of historian Sarai Goebel Johnson. Sarai was an expert in genealogy an...
09/02/2021
In Memoriam: Sarai Goebel Johnson (1970-2021)

It is with great sadness that we note the passing of historian Sarai Goebel Johnson. Sarai was an expert in genealogy and historical research and generously shared her knowledge, including during our La Jolla Landmarks webinar series earlier this year, where she played a pivotal role. https://youtu.be/E_krOblcC_o

Please see this article from Save Our Heritage Organisation on Sarai's life and legacy. http://www.sohosandiego.org/enews/0921inmemoriamsaraijohnson.htm

The preservation and history communities have taken a blow with the enormous loss of historian Sarai Johnson, who died August 5, 2021 at age 50 of cancer. Sarai was an expert in genealogy and historical research and generously shared her knowledge. She wrote more than 100 in-depth city and county hi...

La Jolla Historical Society’s Landmark Group is launching the 3rd annual Jewel Awards, and we’d love your help identifyi...
09/01/2021

La Jolla Historical Society’s Landmark Group is launching the 3rd annual Jewel Awards, and we’d love your help identifying potential candidates. Homeowners, architects, builders, historians, and the public can submit nominations for recently rehabilitated or restored homes that preserve the rich character and charm of La Jolla. Each Award celebrates the patience, perseverance, and talent required from La Jolla property owners who successfully and faithfully restore and rehabilitate their properties.

To nominate a property for a 2022 Jewel Award, please contact Meredith Baratz, Co-Chair of the Awards at [email protected]. Alternatively, nomination forms, more information, and past winners can be found at the La Jolla Historical Society website, under the Historic La Jolla tab (https://lajollahistory.org/historic-la-jolla/la-jolla-landmark-group). Deadline for nominations is January 14, 2022, with winners announced in March.

There have been some interesting and creative adaptive re-use of buildings in La Jolla over the years. For example, the ...
08/28/2021

There have been some interesting and creative adaptive re-use of buildings in La Jolla over the years. For example, the old Firehouse is now used by Shepherd YMCA Firehouse for virtual programs. The original Scripps Hospital became condos. Casa de Mañana Retirement Community started life as a resort hotel. And the Ellen Browning Scripps home became Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. What's your favorite adaptive re-use of a building in La Jolla?

We're excited to announce that the La Jolla Historical Society Board has selected Lauren Lockhart as our new executive d...
08/21/2021
La Jolla Historical Society appoints Lauren Lockhart as new executive director

We're excited to announce that the La Jolla Historical Society Board has selected Lauren Lockhart as our new executive director starting Monday August 30. Learn more about Lauren & her background in this great interview with La Jolla Light's Ashley Mackin-Solomon. https://www.lajollalight.com/news/story/2021-08-20/la-jolla-historical-society-appoints-lauren-lockhart-as-new-executive-director

Ahead of La Jolla Historical Society Executive Director Heath Fox’s retirement, the organization's board of directors has appointed Lauren Lockhart as his successor.

Join us August 26th for Pechakucha Night under the stars at Wisteria Cottage. PechaKucha (Japanese for "chit-chat") is a...
08/10/2021

Join us August 26th for Pechakucha Night under the stars at Wisteria Cottage. PechaKucha (Japanese for "chit-chat") is a storytelling format where a presenter shows 20 slides for 20 seconds of commentary, giving 6 minutes and 40 seconds of floor time and expression before the next presenter. Brought to San Diego by San Diego Architectural Foundation PechaKucha Night will be held on the front lawn at La Jolla Historical Society. Come early, see the current exhibition, Our Oceans Edge https://lajollahistory.org/exhibitions/current-exhibitions/ & stake out your space on the lawn before the presentations begin! The lawn opens at 6:30pm and presentations begin at 8:00pm. Bring a low beach chair or blanket, and a picnic dinner. ADMISSION IS FREE

We recently received a donation of a couple of posters from The Unicorn Theater. We often get requests for information a...
08/07/2021

We recently received a donation of a couple of posters from The Unicorn Theater. We often get requests for information about the Unicorn and decided to take a look back at this unique institution. La Jolla’s only independent art-house movie theater opened in December 1964 in a large commercial space on La Jolla Boulevard by Pearl Street. In early 1966, it was joined by Mithras Books.
With fewer than 100 seats, the Unicorn screened films that couldn’t be seen anywhere else in San Diego: avant-garde, foreign, silent, forgotten classics. The theater developed a cult following early on, especially among younger residents.
Harold Darling and Harold Leigh, co-owners of the Unicorn Cinema and the adjacent Mithras Bookstore, said in an interview in The Reader in 1974 "We like to think of this like the animal, unique and beautiful. The only one of its kind."
The Unicorn closed on March 21, 1982, with the same two movies it opened with: Adolfas Mekas’ “Hallelujah the Hills” and Francois Truffaut’s “Shoot the Piano Player.” Mithras Books closed the following day.

The La Jolla Recreation Center, one of La Jolla’s most beloved icons,  was commissioned by philanthropist Ellen Browning...
07/31/2021

The La Jolla Recreation Center, one of La Jolla’s most beloved icons, was commissioned by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps and constructed by master architect Irving Gill. The Rec Center was completed in July of 1915 as the "La Jolla Community House and Playground". When it began operation, it was the most completely equipped playground and community center in the U.S.

Construction began in August 1914, with the concrete house built to accommodate many interior spaces, such as locker rooms for boys and girls, a large assembly room, and smaller club rooms. The community space also included a basement with kitchen, training areas for boys and girls, storerooms and a first aid room.

Scripps had the idea to found a playground and community house following nationwide movements to reform child labor practices and encourage play and recreation, as well as efforts to create recreational facilities that would replace local saloons. Scripps said that she hoped it would be a place where ordinary people could meet and speak their minds without fear of harassment from civil authorities. Until then, the public could only gather in La Jolla at the La Jolla Woman's Club.

A great way to view La Jolla is from the air. Over the years there have been a number of aerial photographs taken which ...
07/24/2021

A great way to view La Jolla is from the air. Over the years there have been a number of aerial photographs taken which show the changes to the village over time. Which one is your favorite?

La Jolla beaches have been popular with locals and visitors since La Jolla was first founded, but the way people enjoy t...
07/18/2021

La Jolla beaches have been popular with locals and visitors since La Jolla was first founded, but the way people enjoy the beaches has changed over time. As early as 1890, Scripps Park became home to a “Tent City” that housed vacationers, guests, and people from inland areas eager to escape the summer heat. The tents, pictured here in 1899, were raised each year around Memorial Day and taken down at the end of the summer. The bathhouse and swings seen above the Cove were built in 1894 by the San Diego, Pacific Beach, and La Jolla Railway. The company also built a dance pavilion and belvederes to encourage visitors to the area.

Taking a look back at this 4th of July parade from 1924 (don't you love the cars?). From all of us at La Jolla Historica...
07/04/2021

Taking a look back at this 4th of July parade from 1924 (don't you love the cars?). From all of us at La Jolla Historical Society, we wish you a Happy 4th of July!

Taking a look back at this 4th of July parade from 1924 (don't you love the cars?). From all of us at La Jolla Historical Society, we wish you a Happy 4th of July!

From 1958, La Jolla's Rachel Tejada wins title at County Fair: "San Diego's beauties sometimes are hard to beat. As a ma...
07/01/2021
Raquel Tejada (Welch) wins Maid of California 1958

From 1958, La Jolla's Rachel Tejada wins title at County Fair: "San Diego's beauties sometimes are hard to beat. As a matter of fact, sometimes it's impossible. Such was the case this week with San Diego's Fairest of the Fair, 18 year old Raquel Tejada. Raquel was named the Fairest and Miss Contour in June and reigned over the county fair." Thanks to Barb Johnson Nielsen and CBS 8 San Diego for this throwback post!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se8N_bkF3JM

Original script August 27, 1958San Diego's beauties sometimes are hard to beat. As a matter of fact, sometimes it's impossible . Such was the case this week ...

"La Jolla Then and Now: Architecture of 1920s vs. 2020s" provides perspectives and stories on La Jolla in the 1920s from...
06/30/2021
La Jolla Then and Now: Architecture of 1920s vs. 2020s

"La Jolla Then and Now: Architecture of 1920s vs. 2020s" provides perspectives and stories on La Jolla in the 1920s from local experts including La Jolla Historical Society historian Carol Olten, Seonaid McArthur, chairwoman of the La Jolla Historical Society Landmarks Committee, architects Ione Stiegler of IS Architecture and Brian Will and Tim Golba. It's a great read! https://www.lajollalight.com/news/story/2021-06-30/la-jolla-then-and-now-architecture-of-1920s-vs-2020s

As the world emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic and ventures into this century’s decade of the '20s, the La Jolla Light takes a look back at what the '20s looked like the last time around in La Jolla and what they look like now.

Happy Father's Day to all! We hope you are enjoying your day!
06/20/2021

Happy Father's Day to all! We hope you are enjoying your day!

Happy Father's Day to all! We hope you are enjoying your day!

Looking for something new to do this weekend? Come visit our new exhibit, Our Ocean’s Edge, which features black and whi...
06/18/2021

Looking for something new to do this weekend? Come visit our new exhibit, Our Ocean’s Edge, which features black and white images from photographer Jasmine Swope’s quest to capture the essence of California’s marine parks. Accompanying the images, author Dwight Holing's prose contributes narrative interpretations of these important seascapes. Our Ocean’s Edge is a photographic documentary project that celebrates our fragile seascapes, from Southern to Northern California, while increasing awareness about their natural benefits and promoting ecological conservation. The exhibition runs June 5 to Sept. 5 at Wisteria Cottage Gallery, 780 Prospect St. We are open from noon to 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is free.

Congratulations to our Historian Carol Olten for being honored by Save Our Heritage Organisation with the "Town Crier" a...
06/15/2021
La Jolla historian honored for her preservation efforts - She lives in a historic home has worked nearly 30 years for a historical society writes for a historic publication and does historical research on properties. It s therefore no surprise or ...

Congratulations to our Historian Carol Olten for being honored by Save Our Heritage Organisation with the "Town Crier" award for her work in historic preservation. In presenting her award, SOHO said of Olten: “You will be hard pressed to find another writer who has a better way with words for sharing San Diego and La Jolla history than Carol Olten. The breadth of topics she has written about include discussions of popular architectural styles and building types." To read more about Carol and her body of work view
http://www.sdnews.com/bookmark/27805553

She lives in a historic home, has worked nearly 30 years for a historical society, writes for a historic publication, and does historical research on properties. It s, therefore, no surprise or coincidence that Carol Olten of La Jolla Historical Society was honored recently with the Town Crier award...

From the Fall 2020 Timekeeper, a great snapshot of the past by guest writer Bill Canning. Growing up in Point Loma in th...
06/08/2021

From the Fall 2020 Timekeeper, a great snapshot of the past by guest writer Bill Canning. Growing up in Point Loma in the 1950’s, I thought live lobsters crawling in the kitchen sink and fresh caught abalone being cleaned and pounded in the back yard was a normal occurrence. For my stepfather, Ben Stone and other members of the Bottom Scratchers Diving Club, it was just another day in the ocean. The club was founded in 1933 by Glen Orr, Jack Prodanovich, and Stone with the clear waters and abundant sea life off La Jolla as their hunting ground. It was started in part to put dinner on the table during the great depression. Club membership was limited and reached a peak of less than 20. Initiation required prospective members to capture three abalones on a single breath, catch a 10-pound lobster, and wrestle a horn shark to the surface bare handed. Many of the club members were also renowned in the outside world. Dr. Carl Hubbs was professor emeritus at Scripps Institution of Oceanography and founder of the Hubbs Research Institute at Sea World. Lamar Boren innovated one of the first underwater camera housings and was cinematographer for the popular Sea Hunt TV series, Flipper, and the James Bond film Thunderball. Jimmy Stewart was the chief diving officer at Scripps for many years and taught many of its scientists to dive. Accompanying photographs by the late underwater photographer Lamar Boren are recent additions to the La Jolla Historical Society Archives.

Address

780 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA
92037

Opening Hours

Thursday 12pm - 4pm
Friday 12pm - 4pm
Saturday 12pm - 4pm
Sunday 12pm - 4pm

Telephone

(858) 459-5335

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The La Jolla Historical Society Wisteria Cottage Gallery is open as of October 15, Thursday through Sunday, 12noon to 4:00pm. The Office & Research Center is open as of October 1 by appointment only. All visitors are required to wear face masks and observe social distancing guidelines.

Office: 7846 Eads Avenue Open 10am to 4pm Monday - Friday Gallery: 780 Prospect Street Open Noon to 4pm Thursday – Sunday Free Admission!

The La Jolla Historical Society is a 501c3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire and empower the community to make La Jolla’s diverse past a relevant part of contemporary life, encouraging exploration of the past in ways that inform the present and shape the future. The Society preserves and shares La Jolla’s distinctive sense of place, and serves as a community resource and gathering place where residents and visitors explore history, art, ideas and culture.

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Comments

1947 my mom and dad on a romantic date.
La Jolla window decorating contest and much more!
Are there any photos / videos / articles inspired by the Tijuana 1964: The Photography of Harry Crosby exhibit? Can't make it in person but would love to see what is possible to see online.
On Sunday, we went to see the Harry Crosby exhibit at the La Jolla Historical Society. I always love going there. Most folks don’t remember that it was Coles Book Store, back when I was growing up. I would often take the walk from my home, down on Coast Blvd. to Coles, as a change from the Unicorn, where I spent most of my free time, reading, for free, anything I wanted. I spent many, many hours draped over one of the sofas or chairs littered everywhere. It was better than arguing with my mother all afternoon. Anyway, Crosby was one of the teachers at La Jolla High School, and I knew him there. I also grew up with his kids. (Some of you locals might recall that Robinn Crosby was in the rock band Ratt, and he subsequently died of an overdose.) ANYWAY, Crosby was famous for his travels throughout Baja, and his photography of both Tijuana and his travels. His exhibition at the Society is of his TJ work in 1964, and it is exquisite. It is definitely worth a trip. Isaac was there, along with part of his family, and also Caro Olten, who was the film critic at the Union Tribune, back when it was still a real newspaper. (Conservative, but still a real one.) Go see thevshow.
Happy 4th of July La Jolla. Don and Bob Okey mid 1920s.
#ljsgt2019
#ljsgt2019
We are the Allisons from La Jolla! Lots of photos from the 1920s and 30s to share.
The Allison Family in La Jolla, 1926
Hi. I worked at the Mobile Gas Station (Owned by Harold Kramer and then "Steve") on the corner of Fay and Prospect in 1976 and 1977 while I was attending SDSU. While working there, I found old automobile license plate frames that read: "British Motors - La Jolla". Do you have any information on that automobile dealership? My internet search came up empty. I have one of the frames.
i wonder if you have anything on the mithras bookstore and unicorn theater.
I am Soo-Ling Quon Chan..the eldest daughter of King Quon who owned Quon Manes. it was touching to read these stories of my families business and it brought back fond memories. As children we used to play in the store, and as teens we worked in the shop. The apartment behind the shop was decorated as a showroom for the shops antiques. Dad had customers from all over the US. J Edgar Hoover would come in with his Body Guard Clyde Tolson and buy a years supply of Mumtaz incense. Dr Salks wife purchased a Japanese Chest. Architect Frank Lloyd Wrights son and wife visited the shop when in town. My Dad also owned a Restaurant on Silverado Avenue called King Quon plus a bamboo Shop on Prospect. He had 3 businesses to raise 5 children. As a teen, I worked in the Restaurant and served J Edgar Hoover. He gave me a $9 tip. He heard I had a stamp collection and from then on...he would send me letters and stamps from all over the world. I discovered a Menu he autographed to my Dad thanking him for the special dinners he cooked. J Edgar would vacation every summer in La Jolla at the Del Charro Hotel. 1975 my sister Shar-ling died of cancer, 1977, we lost my father to cancer, and 1998 we lost my mother from a stroke. Prior to that she tried to maintain the love of our shop where she could keep in touch with all the shops friends, but it was too much responsibility at her age. I moved after college, married and now live in Palo Alto for over 45 years. The store has always been in my blood. I went to my 60th LJHS Reunion Class of 1955, (our last 2012) and would always do a nostalgic tour where QM used to be. Sadly...My brother died in the family home in Mt Soledad in Dec 2017. Us 3 surviving sisters had to clear the home of my Mom and Dads treasures...many from the store after closing. My Dad had an eye for fine Chinese Art. I now cherish some of his artistic talents in my home. I surely appreciate those who wrote their memories of QM. I would love to hear more of your stories. Thank you, Soo-Ling Quon Chan [email protected]