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.
CORONADO HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION MUSEUM
1100 Orange Avenue, Coronado
Self guided tour / SAT & SUN 10AM - 3PM
Established in 1969, the Coronado Historical Association (CHA) is one of the largest historical organizations in California relative to the size of its community. Don and Leslie Budinger gifted this iconic Bank of Commerce building in 1999 to serve as the home of CHA’s museum, research library, and collections facility. When the building turned one hundred in 2011, it received historic designation from the City of Coronado. It is historically significant for its association with G. Aubrey Davidson, bank president and "father of the Panama-California Exposition" and as an example of the Neoclassical architectural style. Currently on display in CHA's museum galleries is Open Doors: Vietnam POWs Fifty Years of Freedom.
MacDonald and Applegarth, 1911
CORONADO PUBLIC LIBRARY
640 Orange Avenue, Coronado
Self guided tour / SAT 10AM - 6PM & SUN 1PM - 5PM
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
GLORIETTA BAY INN
1630 Glorietta Boulevard, Coronado
Self–guided tour / SUN 1PM – 4PM
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 boutique 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
1060 Adella Avenue, Coronado
Self guided tour / SAT & SUN 11AM - 3PM
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