Hotel del Coronado’s Ice House Museum.

Last summer a new museum opened at the world-famous Hotel del Coronado.

Located in the hotel’s historic ice house, between the old power plant and laundry building, the Ice House Museum tells the story of the world-famous Victorian beach resort.

Fascinating displays filling several walls pay tribute to those who’ve worked at the Hotel del Coronado over the decades, and the numerous celebrities who’ve visited.

I headed to the museum a couple weekends ago to check it out!

It was an overcast day–not the ideal weather for sunbathing on the nearby beach–so quite a few hotel guests were enjoying this free museum, too!

The grand entrance to the iconic Hotel del Coronado can be viewed north of the Ice House Museum. The late 19th century beach resort is in the Queen Anne architectural style.
The old ice house was built for hotel founders Babcock and Story’s Coronado Ice Company. The enterprise provided ice to the entire island. The ice house now contains a fascinating historical museum.
Prominent display inside the museum shows timeline of the Hotel del Coronado’s history. Elisha Babcock, Jr. and Hampton L. Story, founders of the Coronado Beach Company and developers of Coronado, built the hotel in 1888. The hotel was purchased by San Diego entrepreneur John D. Spreckels about a year later.
One wall features photos of many celebrities who’ve stayed at the famous hotel.
Legendary guests are remembered. Names I saw include American presidents Harrison, Taft, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and Bush. Sports and entertainment celebrities include Frank Sinatra, Walt Disney, Carol Burnett, Cary Grant, Milton Berle, John Wayne, Peter O’Toole, Esther Williams, Babe Ruth, Kirk Douglas, Charlie Chaplin, Mickey Rooney, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe…
Artifacts recall unique aspects of the hotel’s rich history.
The beach near the hotel once featured an ostrich farm! A year before the Hotel del Coronado opened, fourteen ostriches were on permanent exhibition near Tenth and D Streets. In 1905, the greatly expanded ostrich farm moved to Mission Cliffs.
Six copies of this Orientalist style painting, titled On the March, by Germain artist Adolf Schreyer, were ordered in 1905 to decorate the elegant hotel’s walls.
Commemorative dinnerware. Bone china with a gold-embossed rim made for the Hotel del Coronado’s centennial celebration in 1988.
Some of the faces of dedicated hotel employees over the decades. Heart of the House. People who deliver the Del experience.
Just south of the Ice House Museum is the Hotel del Coronado Laundry building.
One walking path, leading back to the Hotel del Coronado’s main entrance, passes near the old power plant, with its prominent smokestack.

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Richard Schulte

Downtown San Diego has been my home for many years. My online activities reflect my love for writing, blogging, walking and photography.

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