We recently came across this photo of President Franklin D. Roosevelt driving through CdM in July 1938 on his way from LA to San Diego. The Sherman Library has an excellent blog posts that tells the backstory of this trip which you can find here.
Looking at this photo, we were left wondering where exactly the ‘Corona Del Mar Civic Center’ was located. The photo says it was taken at Marguerite and Coast Highway but we wanted to pin down the exact location. Some of our group thinks it was just south of Marguerite, near the building with BofA and UPS while others think it was just north of Marguerite between Papa’s Liquors and Zinc.
What do you think? Does anyone remember this building that held the Civic Center in the 1930s and may have had other uses later on?
Tucked away in the back of China Cove, you can still find a piece of the historic China House. Long-time China Cove resident, John Hamilton, had the foresight to work out a deal to keep pieces of the historic structure when it was torn down by Jim & Martha Beauchamp and Ernie & Donna Schroeder to make room for their two rather unremarkable ‘luxury’ homes in 1987. Hamilton told the LA Times that he was storing the pieces in a warehouse and that they would “someday, somewhere, some way” reappear as a reminder of the house that was.
While the stretch of PCH that runs through CdM today is essentially a row of banks and real estate offices with a few restaurants and bars mixed in, there was a time when there were motels all along Coast highway starting in the 1940’s, peaking in the 1960’s, and ending in the 1980’s. In an article written for CdM Village Living, the Sherman Library explained this trend, “As more people could afford automobiles, motels sprang up near California’s national parks, amusement parks, and state beaches, especially along Pacific Coast Highway. While hotels were often out of middle America’s budget, motels were budget friendly and offered people a place to stay near prime tourist designations.”
Let’s look at nine motels that formerly lined PCH, from the north end of the Village heading south. In some cases, the motel building is still there but has been re-purposed, in most instances, it was replaced.
Did you know Corona del Mar used to have 2 piers? When George Hart bought all of CdM from James Irvine II in 1904 and was trying to attract buyers for the lots he advertised that CdM would have 2 piers – one on the bay and one on the ocean. In laying out the streets at the time, one of our Flower Streets was called Pier Ave. as it led down to the ocean pier on Big Corona Beach. Later it would be re-named Marguerite.