OH! San Diego 2020
Celebrating architecture, urban design & the built environment
One weekend. Free access. Iconic architecture. The doors are open for you to explore.




The start of modern-day Coronado can be traced back to 1885 when Elisha Babcock and Hampton Story purchased a one-time Spanish rancho that spanned Coronado, North Island, and the Silver Strand. Their vision was to establish “The grandest hotel on the Pacific coast” nestled within a master-planned community of wide avenues, parklands, handsome public buildings, and attractive beachside residences. Coronado’s history is a rich one. In the early 1900s, Coronado’s balmy weather and remote location helped cement its fame as both a world-renowned resort and the birthplace of Naval aviation. In 1911, famed aviator, Glenn Curtiss, leased North Island and in order to experiment with his newly developed seaplane. He eventually convinced the U.S. Navy to establish its first aircraft squadron there. Even today, Coronado is the destination of presidents and kings, Hollywood stars, and visitors from every corner of the world. Still, at its core, Coronado is an easy-going welcoming community.


1100 Orange Avenue

Self–guided tour / SAT & SUN 10AM – 4PM

Established in 1969, CHA is one of the largest historical organizations in California relative to the size of its community. The former Bank of Commerce & Trust’s neoclassical style building was gifted by Don and Leslie Budinger in 1999. It houses the museum, research library, and collection archives. When the building turned 100 in 2011, it received historic designation from the City of Coronado. G. Aubrey Davidson, the bank president responsible for the building, was also the force behind the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park, for which he served as President.

MacDonald and Applegarth, 1911


640 Orange Avenue

Self guided tour / Guided tour every 30 min / SAT 10AM – 4PM & SUN 1PM – 4PM
Architect-led tour / SAT 11AM & 12PM / Reservation required / Walk-ups accepted

The Coronado Public Library, founded in 1890, was sustained for years by gifts and rent-free locations. John D. Spreckels, then owner of the Hotel del Coronado, finally endowed and built the permanent library building. The original 1909 building in the classical revival style, now serves as the Spreckels Reading Room. It is the centerpiece of the 40,000 square feet remodeled and expanded library. The library has a robust public art program with several significant works on display within the building. The monumental 48 foot long, 1930’s mural by Alfredo Ramos Martinez was added to the new light-filled, travertine tiled lobby above the circulation desk. The entry portal to the Children’s Library features illustrations by artist Brenda Smith, from The Wizard of Oz, as an homage to its author L. Frank Baum, who lived in Coronado.

Harrison Albright, 1909 / Homer Delawie, 1974 / MW Steele, 2005 


1019 Seventh Street

Self–guided tour / SAT & SUN 10AM – 4PM
Architect-led tour / SAT 10AM & 1PM / Reservation required / Walk-ups accepted

This 9,000 square foot, LEED Silver-certified building reflects an intensive public planning process to determine the elements of a facility that would serve Coronado’s vibrant 50 year-old+ citizens well into the future. The “Pavilion in the Park” engages Spreckels Park on one side and the lawn bowling green on the other. Both areas relate to the facility via its open floor plan with large, operable glass walls connecting to covered porches and patios. The large multipurpose room features a dramatic exposed timber roof and accommodates large gatherings. Smaller spaces are dedicated to specific programs, such as art classes. Finally, a catering kitchen and two outdoor living and patio areas help make this new home for Coronado residents the perfect gathering spot. Local artists will be live painting and sketching throughout the day at this location.

Robert R. Coffee + Associates, 2016


820 Orange Avenue

Self–guided tour / SAT & SUN 10AM – 12:30PM

During the post-war era, this original single-screen theatre with its Art Deco interior was a roaring success. After falling into disrepair, it was given new life with a $3.5 million renovation through a cooperative effort between the City of Coronado and Los Angeles based Vintage Cinemas. The façade, marquee and lobby terrazzo were restored to their original glory and the interior re-configured into a three screen venue. The theatre interiors, with hand painted murals featuring local landmarks, sumptuous stage curtains, atmospheric lighting and custom architectural details, were conceived by Joseph Musil, designer of the restoration of the El Capitan Theater in Los Angeles. Visitors are swept back to the golden age of movies.

Built, 1947 / Renovation 2011


1114 Ninth Street

Self-guided tour / SAT 10AM – 4PM / SUN 1PM – 4PM

The congregation began its life as St. Peter’s Mission in 1888 when meetings were held in private homes, a schoolhouse tent, and hotel parlors. The cornerstone of the Romanesque-style, hand-hewn granite building was laid in 1894. It originally cost $10,000 to construct. The stained-glass windows, designed by San Francisco Arts & Crafts artist Bruce Porter, were crafted at Tiffany Studios in New York using glass from Scotland. Porter’s Benediction Window at the back of the church is an Art Nouveau inspired design, featuring two angels, capped off with a rose window above.

William S. Hebbard, 1897


89 1906 LODGE
1060 Adella Avenue

Guided tours / SAT & SUN 10AM – 4PM

Originally operated as a boarding house for students at the nearby School of Aviation run by aviation pioneer Glenn Curtiss, the structure fell into disrepair for decades. In 2005, the new owners embarked on an extensive renovation transforming this eyesore into a luxury bed and breakfast inn. Its historic character was maintained, with iconic architectural elements such as the hipped roof with dormers and the Craftsman interior with Mission-style fireplace with inglenook seating and coffered ceiling. The building, its verandas and porches surround a beautifully landscaped courtyard with reflecting pool.

Irving Gill and William S. Hebbard, 1906 / Renovated 2008


1630 Glorietta Boulevard

Self–guided tour / SAT & SUN 10AM – 1PM

Built as the home of sugar baron John D. Spreckels, this Italian Renaissance style mansion was built for $35,000. Unique features included a brass cage elevator and a marble staircase with leather-padded handrails. The home was built with reinforced steel and concrete, an earthquake precaution Spreckels insisted upon after living through the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Today, it is a hotel with 11 historic rooms in the mansion and 89 contemporary suites in adjacent buildings. Guests enjoy Spreckels’ additions to the original structure, including the horseshoe-shaped Music Room and adjacent patio, now restored to their original 1920s glory.

Harrison Albright, 1908


1351 Orange Avenue

Self–guided tour / SAT & SUN 10AM – 4PM

Originally built as a retirement home for Hotel Del Coronado’s founder, Elisha Babcock, it was converted into a hotel in the 1930s. The Spanish hacienda-style architecture, lush landscaped courtyards and tile fountains, lend a charming atmosphere to the property, which has been recently upgraded throughout.

Built 1902


1500 Orange Avenue

Self–guided tour / SAT & SUN 10AM – 4PM / Hotel self-guided tour materials will not be available
Guided history tour / SAT & SUN 10:30AM, 12:30PM & 2:30PM / Reservation required (all tours FULL)
Guided master plan tour / SAT 12PM, 1PM & 2PM / Reservation Required (all tours FULL)

A living legend for 132 years, The Del has hosted celebrities, royalty, U.S. Presidents, and beach-loving guests for generations. Original owners of the Coronado peninsula, Elisha Babcock, Jr., and Hampton L. Story, had a vision of a grand resort hotel to attract and anchor further development. Built of wood in the Queen Anne Victorian architectural style, it was the largest resort hotel in the world when it opened and one of the first to use electric lighting. This Coronado treasure is recognized nationally as a designated National Historic Landmark. It was also ranked number 18 in the American Institute of Architects’ 2007 public opinion survey of America’s Favorite Architecture – the only San Diego building to make the list of 150.

The Hotel del Coronado Master Plan, currently underway, adds a new conference center, 142 guest accommodations and main entry improvements. Architecture designed for the new additions will be compatible with the historic hotel. Join Kathy Breedlove, the Master Plan Communications Director and SDAF Vice President, and OBR Architecture for a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic preservation efforts completed and underway, along with a preview of what’s to come.

James Reid, 1888


1985 Strand Way

Self–guided tour / SAT & SUN 10AM – 4PM
Architect-led tour / SAT 10:30AM & 11:30AM / Reservation required / Walk-ups accepted

This modestly-sized 5,000-square-foot, LEED Silver-certified facility makes a large community impact by providing storage and direct coastal access for non-motorized watercraft onto Glorietta Bay. Classes in kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, rowing and sculling are offered. The expressive wood roof structure celebrates the art and beauty of traditional boat-making. Public art by sculptor Kim Ogburn, titled “Sea Level”, depicts an enchanting underwater view of a kelp forest.

Architects Hanna Gabriel Wells, 2013



Guided tour / SUN 2PM / Reservation required (Tour FULL)

Join us on a walk of Coronado, where you will learn how it began as a popular travel destination, then evolved into the bustling town it is today. As you hear intimate stories of famous residents, growing businesses, and historic homes, you will gain perspective on why Coronado is so unique. This docent-led stroll includes stops at the Coronado Museum of History & Art, Wizard of Oz author, L. Frank Baum’s home, and ends at the Hotel del Coronado.


640 Orange Avenue

Guided tour / SAT & SUN 10:30AM & 3PM / Reservation required / Meet 10 min before tour in front of library / Walk-ups accepted

Coronado cares about its trees! Famed horticulturist and “Mother of Balboa Park”, Kate Sessions, established her first nursery in Coronado. With more than 8,000 trees in the city, they were one of the first in the region to enact a heritage tree program. Coronado’s urban forest is a critical part of their climate action plan and other sustainable programs. Join landscape architect and Coronado resident, Leslie Ryan, to learn about the origins of Coronado’s unique parks, trees, and gardens.







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San Diego Architectural Foundation



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