Saturday, July 16, 2016

San Diego, 1956

Here are a few more vintage photos from beautiful San Diego, California. Did you know that it's official nickname is "America's Finest City"? Sorry, lesser cities. 

This first image is a nice slice of Americana, showing a group of women waiting in front of the Hotel del Coronado, a grand old Victorian hotel dating back to 1888. Luggage is organized into neat little groups - I think my grandparents had a set of Scotch plaid luggage! 

Zooming in a little, it's fun to see the ladies in their poofy dresses. Presumably that man is a porter, but he looks like an airline pilot. I would feel the need to salute him (before tipping him of course).

Nearby is the Coronado Boathouse, circa 1887 (so it actually predates the Hotel del Coronado by one year). It is a pretty little structure, built in the Queen Anne Revival style of architecture; one article describes the "bellcast-hipped roof with a widow's walk supported by brackets; a variety of dormers graces all four sides of the roof. Approximately 40 feet square, the Boathouse has three stories, and includes an exterior observatory area at its peak".

Both the hotel and the boathouse still stand today, happily! The boathouse is now a restaurant.


Nanook said...


Oh, those ladies-! Oh, those clothes-! Oh, those hats-!! And oh-! - that fabulous-looking 'gown' over on the far left, hanging on that clothes rack.

"the bellcast-hipped roof with a widow's walk supported by brackets...". After a particularly long night of hard drinking, I was once described in that very same fashion - however, I didn't look nearly as grand - believe me-! And heading towards the Coronado Boathouse we see a 1949 or 1950 Ford. And driving away from it, it appears to be a 1952, '53 or '54 Ford.

Thanks, Major.

TokyoMagic! said...

Where are the ghosts?

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I would say that the description of you after a few drinks is not so bad. No vomit is involved! And really, is there anything else one could want?

TokyoMagic!, uh, what? I see ghosts everywhere.

Chuck said...

There's something special about large, late-19th Century resort hotels. Despite being a product of the Gilded Age, they still manage to maintain a timeless quality, and you have to rely on photographic details to discern the specific somewhere in time that they were taken.

Note the matching, hard-sided luggage, including one covered in destination stickers. No steamer trunks here, reflecting the requirements of shorter stays and the limited luggage capacity of planes, trains, and automobiles. There is some dry cleaning hanging to the left of the valet's chair and umbrella. The front edge of the steps is protected with a rubber covering, and the red paint on the concrete curb as well as a stenciled warning declare this portion of the asphalt-paved street a no parking zone.

Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, opened in 1944, dominates the horizon of the background of the third photo, still largely composed of rapidly-built, WW II-era structures. A white-on-black speed limit sign moderates the safe travel of those Ford automobiles, while other signs proclaim that both a garage and bowling are available in the area.

I could happily spend some time in the 1956 version of America's Finest City. Thanks for sharing it with us, Major.

K. Martinez said...

So does the nickname "America's Finest City" have the same meaning as the sign at a restaurant that says "America's Best Apple Pie"?

Patrick Devlin said...

Ah, 1956 in San Diego. I was freshly arrived from Pico Rivera and the motto at the time was actually: "No, really! The sailors Downtown are fairly well-behaved!" I think that whole "America's Finest City started around the time of the city's bicentennial in 1969.

Anonymous said...

San Diego is well-qualified to be on that list and the Del is part of the reason.

Someday, I'm going to visit for fun instead of work.

Fun old pics, Major. Thank you!