Coronado’s Spreckels Mansion: then and now.

John D. Spreckels and his family owned the Hotel del Coronado during the first half of the 20th century.

In 1906 Spreckels began construction of a palatial home in Coronado. His mansion would stand at 1630 Glorietta Boulevard, across from his extraordinarily elegant Hotel del Coronado.

The Italian Renaissance style Spreckels Mansion, designed by renowned architect Harrison Albright (who also designed the Spreckels Organ Pavilion in Balboa Park), would be completed in 1908.

The above photograph was taken in 1915. The description of this public domain photo on Wikimedia Commons is: Promotional image of John D. Spreckels’ home on Coronado for marketing the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, San Diego, California.

If the building appears familiar, that’s because much of it was incorporated into today’s Glorietta Bay Inn

Coronado Historical Landmark – J.D. Spreckels House – 1908. Dedicated 1977 Coronado Historical Association.

When I visited Coronado a couple months ago, the friendly Glorietta Bay Inn receptionists behind the front counter allowed me to take a few interior photos. What I found most interesting was one framed image on a wall.

The following is described as: a photograph of an original 1911 postcard of the Spreckels home, just after completion and before the addition of the music room in 1913…

Here are two more outside photos taken by my camera for comparison…

To learn more about John D. Spreckels, one of early San Diego’s most influential entrepreneurs, developers and philanthropists, read his Wikipedia article here.

You’ll learn his Coronado mansion included six bedrooms, three baths, a parlor, dining room and library at the cost of $35,000. At that time, Spreckels’ Mansion featured a brass cage elevator, a marble staircase with leather-padded handrails, skylights, marble floors and some of the Island’s most spectacular gardens. The home was built with reinforced steel and concrete, an earthquake precaution Spreckels insisted upon after living through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Spreckels lived in the Glorietta Boulevard mansion until his death in 1926.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

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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A secret place for High Flight in Coronado.

In Coronado, in a secret place overlooking the Coronado Yacht Club, there’s a shady nook where the human spirit can find High Flight.

High Flight

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there,
I’ve chased the shouting wind along and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high, untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

–John Gillespie Magee, Jr.

John Gillespie Magee, Jr. was an American serving with the Royal Canadian Air Force in England during World War II. On December 11, 1941, at the age of 19, his Spitfire accidentally collided with another plane and he crashed to his death. Learn more about him here.

If you’d like to sit on this special bench in Coronado, and gaze quietly out at the world’s beauty, make your way to the corner of Glorietta Boulevard and Ynez Place.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Exhibit shows history of Japanese Americans in Coronado.

The Coronado Historical Association’s Museum of History and Art presently features an exhibit titled Uprooted: The Story of the Japanese Americans of Coronado.

I visited the museum yesterday. The kind lady at the entrance allowed me to take a few photos when she learned I’m a blogger.

As I stepped into the first gallery, I was immediately pleased to see that the Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park had contributed objects for display, including beautiful kimonos. I’m a member of the garden.

Then, as I looked at old photographs and read descriptions, I was stunned to learn that Coronado once had its own Japanese garden! Actually two tea gardens! And the second would be the setting for four motion pictures from 1913 to 1919!

Looking at the exhibit’s many historical photographs, I tried to imagine what life on the island might have been like years ago, particularly for Japanese Americans. The years covered are from the mid-1800’s when immigrants came to California seeking opportunity, to the forced detention of Japanese American citizens during World War II, to more recent and optimistic times.

Many of the displays are made possible by the Japanese American Historical Society of San Diego.

Anyone interested in local history absolutely should visit this exhibit. I was surprised to learn so much!

More information can be found on the Coronado Historical Association website here.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Fun mural in Coronado that few people see!

Check out this fun mural in Coronado that’s painted in an alley and not easily seen from any street. I only happened to see it because my eyes were on a swivel as I enjoyed a long walk around the island yesterday!

The mural, created in 2015, has a street graffiti vibe. It depicts the Hotel del Coronado, historic Tent City, a helicopter flying from North Island, the Coronado Bay Bridge under construction, and the Cabrillo ferryboat! (Which I happened to ride yesterday from downtown.)

If you’d like a firsthand look at the mural, it’s located roughly behind Village Ace Hardware. The alley runs between Orange Avenue and C Avenue, between 9th Street and 10th Street.

Perhaps you know the artist. I can’t exactly figure out the signature, so I’ve included a pic. Leave a comment if you know more!

My walk yesterday resulted in numerous photos. Among other places, I visited two very cool Coronado museums. Stay tuned!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

Kicking off the 2022 Coronado Community READ!

An awesome month-long event kicked off today in the grassy park beside the Coronado Public Library. The 2022 Coronado Community READ is underway!

The event, in its sixth year, encourages residents of Coronado to read one particular book, which is selected by vote-casting members of the community. After two years of isolation and strain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be more important and satisfying than ever for neighbors to come together with a shared experience.

For 2022 the Coronado Community READ book is West with Giraffes by Lynda Rutledge. West with Giraffes, according to its description, is about “two giraffes who made headlines and won the hearts of Depression-era America as they traveled across the country to our very own San Diego Zoo.” (Wow! I think I need to read it, too, even though I don’t live in Coronado!)

You can learn more about the book here!

There are two additional books for Coronado’s young readers to enjoy together: Turtle in Paradise: The Graphic Novel by Jennifer L. Holm, and Ty the Quiet Giraffe by Carrie Hasler.

When I heard about this unique “community read” I had to go check out its kick-off today at Coronado Library Park. Following a small speech, the gathered audience listened to the great jazzy music of the Coronado Big Band!

There are various special happenings coming up in April that are part of the big reading event. This coming Thursday, April 7, the author of West with Giraffes will be speaking and autographing her book!

You can find all the dates, times and details by clicking here!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

A magical little garden in Coronado!

In Coronado, a few steps from Orange Avenue, there’s a magical little garden.

If you’ve ever visited Spreckels Park, you might have seen the June Miller Garden surrounding the trunk of a tall palm tree. I took a good look at it yesterday as I wandered down the sidewalk, waiting for the big 4th of July Parade to begin.

Not only did I discover several interesting plaques, but I spied a young boy who was retrieving a baseball kneeling with wonder above a small turtle.

The sculpture represents a magical moment of discovery.

To learn more about the history of Spreckels Park, you can visit this Coronado Historical Association web page.

JUNE MILLER GARDEN

Maintained by

CROWN GARDEN CLUB OF CORONADO

CDR. PHILIP HENRY DENNLER, JR.

WHOSE LOYALTY TO THE CORONADO FLOWER SHOW INSPIRED US ALL.

CORONADO FLORAL ASSOCIATION

APRIL 1975

Happy Birthday Coronado

1890-2015

The Crown Garden Club of Coronado

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Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

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Coronado 4th of July parade honors American heroes.

Coronado’s huge Independence Day parade returned this year! The parade’s theme for 2021 was A Salute To America’s Heroes.

Late this morning I walked along Orange Avenue and took photographs of the patriotic spectacle.

The 4th of July Parade was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The heroes honored in this year’s parade included healthcare workers, essential workers and ordinary Americans–all those who sacrificed to help our nation through a very difficult period.

I’ve blogged about this epic annual parade several times in the past, with photo captions that provide detailed information. Today I’ll simply offer a glimpse of what I experienced.

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

You can easily explore Cool San Diego Sights by using the search box on my blog’s sidebar. Or click a tag! There are thousands upon thousands of photos for you to enjoy!

A special song celebrates beautiful Coronado.

There’s a special, very beautifully written song that celebrates Coronado. The song, which has become beloved by many over the years, was written by composer and Coronado resident Joan Brown Goldberg, who passed away in early 2020.

I learned about The Coronado Song yesterday in Encinitas of all places. I was outside the old 19th century schoolhouse, lingering after a historical walking tour of Encinitas, when I approached a pianist who was playing among nearby vendors at a small crafts event.

The musician, whom you can see in my photos, is Famous Frank. He told me about Joan Brown Goldberg and how he’d played The Coronado Song during a music festival at the Emerald C Gallery a couple years ago. He described The Coronado Song as the unofficial theme song of Coronado.

I did a little searching, and discovered here that “…For a time the song with piano accompaniment was sold around town and at the Hotel del Coronado.”

I also found here that Joan Brown Goldberg “…was a talented composer, writing over 40 songs. Her most recognized work was ‘The Coronado Song,’ which won several international contests. The song was played before the annual Coronado July 4th Parade at the grandstand for 20 years.”

You can see some of the sheet music here.

I love the poetry and feeling in her lyrics. I’ve transcribed the words for the enjoyment of all.

THE CORONADO SONG

Music and Lyrics by Joan Brown Goldberg

Coronado, where the sun shines
Where the grand Hotel meets the sea
And the crashing waves
Will set you ablaze
And launch you into a dream.

Coronado, little island,
With skies as blue as can be
I long to walk on your tanned
California sand
And sit by your sparkling sea.

I miss your cold windy days
That grey winter haze
And fog horns blowin’ all night

Your summer perfume
Of jasmine in bloom
Your seaside seagulls in flight.

Coronado, on a sea breeze,
You know you’re haunting me so.
You are the Queen of the Coast
You’re the mariner’s host
And the most lovely Lady I know!

I live in downtown San Diego and love to walk around with my camera! You can follow Cool San Diego Sights via Facebook or Twitter!

Riding the ferry from Coronado to downtown.

What do you see when you ride the ferry across San Diego Bay, from Coronado to downtown’s Broadway Pier? Well, come along and I’ll show you!

Early this afternoon I stepped aboard Flagship’s venerable ship Cabrillo, which for many years has served as a Coronado ferry. We got underway from the Coronado Ferry Landing at 12:30. (The ferry that goes to the Broadway Pier departs every bottom of the hour.)

It’s winter. Even though it was mostly overcast today, and a bit chilly, this is San Diego after all, so of course the trip was pleasant. But I’m glad I wore a jacket out on the bay in the brisk sea breeze.

Passengers begin to board Cabrillo from the pier at the Coronado Ferry Landing. My one way ticket was only five dollars. Slowly crossing San Diego Bay is like a scenic harbor tour, without the narration.
Lots of passengers bring bicycles. Coronado is a fine place for biking. Many enjoy the dedicated bike lane which leads down the Silver Strand to Imperial Beach. It’s part of the 24-mile Bayshore Bikeway, which loops around the South Bay.
The pier at the Coronado Ferry Landing is a perfect place for fishing or simply relaxing. You don’t need a saltwater fishing license when you’re on a pier in San Diego!
A couple leans against the rail and looks toward the small beach by the Coronado Ferry Landing.
Here we go!
Across the bay you can see downtown San Diego’s beautiful skyline. This photo shows the Embarcadero, from the USS Midway Museum to the San Diego Convention Center!
I was surprised at all the boating activity today. The COVID-19 pandemic has been going on for about a year, and I think more and more people want to be outside in the fresh air enjoying life.
There they go.
I see three very different sets of white sails. The sails of a passing sailboat, the sails of The Shell–the San Diego Symphony’s new outdoor concert venue, and the distinctive sails of the San Diego Convention Center.
Here comes the ferry that runs between the convention center and Coronado. That small vessel is the Silvergate, which I love to ride!
This guy was out on the water on a stand up paddle board.
Here comes Pilot, one of the many historic vessels in the collection of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. If you want a great narrated tour of San Diego Bay, I definitely recommend buying a ticket. Better yet, become a member of the Maritime Museum and you get a couple complimentary tickets for their harbor tour!
A wave as they pass by!
That blue building over the water is the San Diego Pier Cafe at Seaport Village.
Here come two small U.S. Navy patrol boats at a high rate of speed!
Guarding naval ships and bases in San Diego Bay.
A couple passes by in a little boat. I believe that’s the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier docked at North Island in the distance.
She steers as he prepares the fishing gear.
If the Pier Cafe appears odd to you, that’s probably because it was brown for decades. Many of Seaport Village’s buildings have recently been repainted under new ownership.
What’s all that activity on the pier by Seaport Village? People are eyeing fresh fish at the Tuna Harbor Dockside Market. That means today must be Saturday. Meanwhile, a couple of kayakers paddle by…
I see four blue seiners docked at the G Street Pier. These vessels use nets to catch live bait for boats heading out to the Pacific Ocean on sportfishing trips.
Beyond the seiners and the pier I see the USS Midway aircraft carrier, a very popular museum and San Diego attraction.
On the G Street Pier you can see stacked lobster traps. I love to photograph them from time to time.
A tiny yellow boat zips past a very, very large boat! An absolutely immense boat with numerous aircraft on its flight deck!
Here comes a whole line of tiny boats! Looks like a fun, guided harbor tour.
As we pass by the horns of the USS Midway aircraft carrier, museum visitors look down at us from the flight deck.
A zoom photo of more sailboats out on San Diego Bay. I see Harbor Island in the distance. We’re almost to the Broadway Pier now.
Downtown straight ahead!
Our ferry trip across San Diego Bay is almost over. It’s always a lot of fun.
Tying up at the dock.
Disembarking.
A line of people is waiting to catch the ferry back to Coronado!

This blog now features thousands of photos around San Diego! Are you curious? There’s lots of cool stuff to check out!

Here’s the Cool San Diego Sights main page, where you can read the most current blog posts.  If you’re using a phone or small mobile device, click those three parallel lines up at the top–that opens up my website’s sidebar, where you’ll see the most popular posts, a search box, and more!

To enjoy future posts, you can also “like” Cool San Diego Sights on Facebook or follow me on Twitter.