One hundred years ago today, George E. Hart (Nov 6, 1859-Jun 24, 1920), Corona del Mar’s founder and developer, died in Los Angeles. While details of his historic purchase of Corona del Mar have been widely reported, almost nothing has been written of Hart’s life. We spent some time digging into his past to learn more, even tracking down his granddaughter, Mareta Hart Ellmore. She is still alive today and living in Orange County, having spent a good portion of her life in Newport Beach and in the city her grandfather named The Crown of the Sea.
George Hart was born into a modest farm family in rural New Hampshire. The youngest of six children of Edward and Sally Hart, one older brother died in infancy and his two oldest sisters died of tuberculosis by the time he was 15. Perhaps these early losses forced him to grow up quickly; he got into the lumber business at a young age. By 18, he had built his first lumber mill and by his late 20s, he owned three lumber mills in New Hampshire.