OH! San Diego 2022 Tour

Hotel del Coronado lobby with wood walls and ceiling and a vibrant green sofa

About Coronado

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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.

Address: 1500 Orange Avenue  Architect: Reid Brothers   Completed: 1888

A living legend for more than 130 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.

The Hotel del Coronado Master Plan, to be completed this fall, will add a new conference center along with 142 guest accommodations. Several key elements of the Master Plan have been completed, including a new main entry which restores the historic sense of arrival and the restoration and adaptive reuse of industrial buildings including the Laundry Building (winner of a 2021 Orchid Award), Power Plant and Ice House (which now serves as a history museum). The crown jewel is the partial restoration and re-creation of the hotel’s historic front porch, which involved painstakingly “peeling back the layers” that had been added on over time and installing 25 stained glass windows.

For a sneak peek at the newest resort offering, Shore House, click here and press the arrow to play video.

Try your hand at sketching the legendary Hotel del Coronado.  View the BEEP KidSketch video tutorial here.

Try your hand at sketching the Hotel del Coronado.

View the Hotel del Coronado video tutorial here.






Address: 1630 Glorietta Blvd  Architect: Harrison Albright   Completed: 1908

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.


Address: 1060 Adella Avenue  Architect: Irving Gill and William S. Hebbard   Completed: 1906 - Renovation 2008

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.


Address: 1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado  Architect: McDonald and Applegarth  Completed: 1911

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.


Address: 820 Orange Ave, Coronado  Architect: N/A  Completed: Built 1947 - Renovated 2011

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 facade, 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.  The Village Theater won an Orchid Award in 2013.


Address: 640 Orange Ave, Coronado  Architect: Harrison Albright, 1909 | Homer Delawie, 1974 | M.W. Steele, 2005

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.

Adjacent to the Library is the John D. Spreckels Center & Bowling Green, a 9,000 square foot, LEED-certified facility constructed in 2016 to serve Coronado seniors.


Address: 655 C Street, Coronado  Architect: Irving Gill, 1920 | domusstudio architecture, 2020

The sanctuary of Sacred Heart Chapel and Parish Hall, designed by architect Irving Gill, was dedicated in 1920.  One hundred years later, by domusstudio architecture sought to improve the rest of the campus facilities while respecting the historic church. The project added a new parish hall, chapel, and renovated parish offices, all fronting onto an arcade-wrapped central courtyard on a very tight site. It was paramount that the fabric of the historic church be preserved, and the new facilities took cues from its color, materials, and subtle ornamentation. Moreover, the improvements maintained the visual hierarchy of Gill’s church. The courtyard is purposefully clean, simple, and unadorned to respect its context. It embraces the southern California climate and serves as an unencumbered outdoor gathering space that families often enjoy during outdoor worship experiences.

This respectful addition to the Sacred Heart Church won an award from the Partners for Sacred Places.


Address: 655 C Street, Coronado  Architect: Irving Gill  Completed: 1927

The congregation of Coronado’s First Church of Christ commissioned Irving J. Gill to design and build this beautiful church in 1927. It clearly showcases Gill’s signature use of the straight line, cube, and arch as well as his desire to bring the outside in. The courtyard is an example of Gill’s use of flowers and nature to highlight to lines of the building and to use nature to paint the walls.


Address: 1114 9th Street, Coronado  Architect: William S. Hebbard  Completed: 1897

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.


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Thank you to our Coronado sponsors

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Del Coronado Realty is a full-service boutique brokerage specializing in concierge-level real estate in Coronado and the surrounding Coastal San Diego Areas. Del Coronado Realty enjoys a prized location on-site at the iconic Hotel del Coronado. Located in the retail corridor of The Del, just steps away from the main lobby, Del Coronado Realty is accessible seven days a week to the hotel's visitors and guests.

Ruth Ann Fisher, Del Coronado Realty's team leader, brings over 30 years of real estate experience and a wealth of in-depth knowledge to every client relationship.  A Coronado resident since 1999, Ruth Ann has a broad knowledge of the Southern California real estate market and understands the special allure of a coastal lifestyle. She is active in the Coronado community and has the distinction of being voted Coronado’s Best Real Estate Agent ten years in a row, by Coronado Lifestyles magazine.

In addition to representing buyers and sellers, Del Coronado Realty also specializes in property management services. With a luxury hospitality focus, Del Coronado Realty provides solid asset management while providing an elevated rental experience for tenants and guests. As Coronado agents, the team's experience and local market knowledge is unsurpassed.

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