1953 photo of China Cove from the OC Archives – the Kerckhoff Marine Lab is prominent and upon closer inspection a few other surviving homes can be found as well.
The Sherman Library recently came across a collection of photos taken of different houses throughout the Village in 1979. Many of them are gone now, but a few caught my eye as interesting photos of houses that have survived today. Pictured above is
427 Fernleaf, built in 1944, which is definitely one of CdM’s most unique homes.
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.
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?
609 Jasmine was demolished today. We featured it a few months back as it was one of only four homes in CdM that were over 100 years old and the oldest remaining home on the inland side of PCH. It was likely one of the first houses built on that side of PCH as much of the early development in the area centered around the Bluffs and was not that far back.
In his column ‘The Verdict’, Judge Robert Gardner called Rossi’s Cafe “the finest Italian restaurant I have ever patronized.” He added, “Mama Rossi featured her pickled mushrooms, which had to be tasted to be believed. I have always thought that her pickled mushrooms were particularly good because Mama Rossi used wild mushrooms she picked on the hills surrounding the present Fashion Island.”
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.
The perfect cottage for this weekend – is a cottage with a pool! Not too many cottages have a pool but 512 Larkspur, which was built in 1928, had a pool added in 1959.
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.
The 1979 photo of this week’s cottage is courtesy of the Sherman Library. The Sherman Library is partnering with CdMRA and CdM Historical Society to collect information and photos on the cottages of CdM for an upcoming exhibit. If you have any photos or information on a current or former cottage please fill out this form and share whatever info you can: https://bit.ly/2xEVQsf