Monday, June 19, 2017

Crystal Cove Historic District - Laguna Beach Ca

The Crystal Cove Historic District is a small part (12 acres) of Crystal Cove State Park. It consists of 46 beach cottages built mostly in the early part of the last century.  They were built primarily from wood made available when a lumber ship capsized in the area. It is one of the only remaining Southern California beach developments from early last century. It is located on a beautiful stretch of SoCal coastline, and several silent movies were filmed here in the 1920's.

This was private property until the state purchased it in 1979. People were in a bit of an uproar, because they thought the state was going to demolish all the cottages. They didn't though! In fact, the state, along with the Crystal Cove Conservancy, began a restoration project of the cottages. So far, 21 cottages are now available for overnight rental. There is a lot more information available, but I think what I just said, is just about all you need.  I apologize in advance for the poor quality of some of these photos. It was the middle of a very hazy day and the light was brutal. I would have been better off using the camera on my phone.

Judging by the cars. I'd say this photo (which I found on the CA State Parks website) was taken in the early 1940's. Even though most of the structures you see here are not in good shape today...

...most of them still stand.  The cottages in the foreground have been restored to original. This photo is from the same place as the previous one. 

The following photos are just a small part of what is left. There is also a second tier of cottages.










 There has to be at least one B&W


This is one of the restored cottages






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51 comments:

Should Fish More said...

L. says reservations are hard to come by.....her daughter and SIL spent a weekend there not too long ago.
Nice pics, Pat

Tom said...

...this looks like sections along the Erie Canal in New York State.

Betsy Adams said...

An area in the Smokies (Elkmont) looks like that --after the park bought out the little mountain community.. People were allowed to stay until the last member of the original family was gone. Then their property went to the National Park... Of course the Nat. Park didn't have money to keep the houses in good shape --so they all are in horrible shape now... We hiked there a few times ---and I almost cry every time I see those old homes...

Has the area you pictured never had a hurricane or big tropical storm? IF those houses were on the East Coast, they would have been washed out to see due to storms.... Homes along the beach on the east coast are built on stilts --and not too close to the water.

Interesting post... Thanks for sharing.

Hugs,
Betsy

Jimmy said...

I loved the contrast between the picture from the 40s to the current one.

As always very good shots Pat, I always enjoy seeing your work.

Pat Tillett said...

Should Fish More - Thanks Mike! After reading your comment I just went to the reservation website. Apparently, you have to reserve several months in advance.

Tom - I've not seen the ones along the Erie Canal, but I"m sure it's a nice place.

Betsy Adams - That is a crying shame about those old houses. The National Park Service seems to ignore a lot of things in some places. If somebody would champion that old community for historical recognition, maybe that would change. The BLM on the other hand, allow old places to be adopted, and maintained by people.

As to the storms, the weather in this part of the country is very MILD. Any kind of severe weather is extremely rare. Thanks Betsy!

Jimmy - Thanks so much Jimmy! I'm not so sure about the photos though. I'm glad you like this stuff.


Al said...

What a great place to have saved - I'd love to spend a few days so close to the beautiful ocean.

Brian said...

Some of those places look nice, but anybeac place with a beach is pretty cool!

bettyl-NZ said...

It did my heart good to read that they are being restored! There's so much wonderful history there--if only the walls could talk :)

Pat Tillett said...

Al - I agree! I would like to stay there also. I only live a few miles away and although it doesn't cost too much to stay there, it still ain't cheap...

Brian - I totally agree with you! Any beach is a good beach.

betty-NZ - I feel the same way! It kills me to see historic places bulldozed.

Shammickite said...

I see a painter there doing her thing among those lovely old cottages. I'd love to be there too. The cottages are gorgeous, even in a dilapidated state, and oh I would so much like to be by the sea.

Pat Tillett said...

Shammickite - I believe that a couple of the cottages are set up like studios. Every time I've been there, I've always seen people painting.

DEZMOND said...

I've often thought about it but I never came to any conclusion as to whether I'd like living on a beach or not given that I'm a continental coon. I'd constantly be scared of a Biblical flood :)

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful shots, and the Godwits, I think so!

Ron said...

Pat, I love the "then" and "now" comparison photographs at the start of this post! I'm fascinated with past and present images.

"and several silent movies were filmed here in the 1920's."
That is SO cool!!!!

Glad to hear that they are restoring these cottages instead of tearing them down and building modern condos. Great shot of the restored cottage with the woman painting.

Thanks for so much sharing. REALLY enjoyed this post!

Btw, I think your photographs are awesome because they give the images a wonderful misty "feel!"

visualnorway said...

That was a very nice piece of social history. It was a very clear difference between the 40s and now, but it was good to hear that a restoration project is under way. No need for excuses concerning the picture quality - I have seen (and posted) far worse. Loved the bird!

Diane AZ said...

How interesting that the cottages were made from lumber from a capsized ship. I enjoyed seeing the old photo along with the new and the artist at work.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I may have lived close to there for a few months. Aunt invited my mom and her two kids to stay when my Navy dad went overseas during WWII. Aunt and Uncle lived in Naples Canal, Long Beach ... Uncle didn't like having babies again and ended up renting a cottage in Laguna Beach for his SIL and her two kids ...my earliest clear memory is watching blimps fly along the beach (while my mother tried to quiet my colicky baby brother.). She moved us back home to Washington State after six months. My Aunt lived to be 105 in the same Long Beach home. We visited her often over the years but I never thought to ask her to show us where that cottage actually was.

jeannettestgermain said...

Haha, what hubs had heard was that it was private property! Am glad you rectified that. But do you need a certain card giving you access, or also not anymore? The city/state has their work cut out for them having to fix up all these dilapidated ones:)
Great post, Patrick!

Pat Tillett said...

DEZMOND - I totally understand that. I live very close to the coast, but I wouldn't want to live on the beach. The salty air eventually ruins everything that is metal and I wouldn't want to get washed away.

Bob Bushell - Godwits! Thanks Bob, I couldn't remember what they were.

Ron - Thanks Ron. I appreciate the nice words. This whole area is now a state park, so it will never be developed. Yay!

visualnorway - Thanks Rune! I wish I could time travel and experience different time periods in person.

Diane AZ - I really got a kick out of the lumber source also. Thanks for the comment Diane!

Sallie (fullTime-Life) - There aren't any other "colonies" like this on the coast around here, so it you probably are right about live close by. We moved to Long Beach (from Kentucky) because my dad was in the Navy. I spent much of my life in/or near Long Beach and am very familiar with the Naples area. That is some pricey real estate.

William Kendall said...

The restored version looks like the entire idea will be a good one.

sage said...

Looks like a lovely place to live or hang out

Pat Tillett said...

jeannettestgermain - You park in a lot that's the other side of PCH. Then you walk through a tunnel that goes under PCH. No card needed. A lot of people don't know that there are ZERO private beaches in California. Everything from the ocean to the high tide line, is public and accessible.
Thanks Jeannette!

William Kendall - I agree! A lot of work, but a great idea.

sage - Both would be great! All I can afford is the "hang out" option.

Nevine Sultan said...

Beautifully done photos, Pat. Superbly nostalgic, too! Sitting with them, one senses oneself in a time warp...

Nevine

Ida said...

Those are wonderful shots of the old cottages. I hope more of them get restored. It would be fun to live in one.

Pat Tillett said...

Nevine Sultan - Thanks Nevine! When I was walking around there, it did feel like a time warp. Nice to see your comment.

Ida - Thanks Ida! It would be nice if they can save most, or all of them.

Lady Fi said...

What lovely cottages! And on Laguna Beach too! Shame they haven't been restored.

Rajesh said...

Wonderful tour of the place.

Kaya said...

Pat, the contrast between how this place was before and what it's now is huge. How sad that this beautiful place turned into something that needs a lot of restoration. The restored cottage looks great.

A very interesting post! It's curious to look at your pictures and sad at the same time.

Best wishes to you from me.

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

I love this final picture. You're a great photographer.
I'm baffled, Pat. These cottages withstood all the floods and harsh rains for so many decades? How is that possible? Whenever I see home that close to the water, I'm envious for half a second. My next thought is that I'd be too scared to enjoy living there.
Thanks for the wonderfully telling perspective, as always.

Pat Tillett said...

Lady Fi - They are in what they call, the "first phase" of restorations. It appears that they are going to try and restore almost all of them.

Rajesh - Thanks Rajesh!

Kaya - The moisture and salty air destroys almost everything at the beach. It takes a lot of maintenance to new buildings, the older ones take a lot more. I agree with you about a mixture of feelings.

Rawknrobyn - Thanks so much Robyn! It is only possible because it's in south Orange County. We have some of the mildest weather in the world. There really aren't any storms or floods here. In fact, when there is any chance of rain at all (even a tiny bit) all of the news channels go into "Storm Watch!" It's pretty pathetic. The only thing I would worry about are Tsunamis. Even those probably wouldn't here, because the beach actually faces more south than west, and Catalina island (which is very large) is due west from here, and wouldn't probably stop any huge waves from hitting the shoreline in this spot. I hope anyway.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Beautiful shots Pat - and so sad that the buildings have gone to ruin.
Are they empty? Who owns them? Why have they been left like that? I honestly don't believe we have anything like that here. Not on beautiful coastline like that.

Fascinating place though. And thanks for tracking down the original shot for comparison.

Love your passion my friend.

robin andrea said...

Love seeing that beach there and the historical photo and comparison. In my dreams, I live in a house perched above the beach just like these photos. Beautiful there.

Pat Tillett said...

Anthony J. Langford - Thanks Anthony! They may be ruins now, but that is happily changing. Except for 21 of them that are restored as nightly rentals, the others are in bad shape. The state of California owns them now, and they are renovating as many as they can.

robin andrea - I'm right there with you about a house perched ABOVE the beach. Although it doesn't rain much there, fog rolls in with the marine layer on many days.

NatureFootstep said...

I thought the image of today was the better one. Until I dscrolled down. Seemed to need more work to look good.

Pat Tillett said...

NatureFootstep - I agree with you about the older version. I would love to have seen it in person back then.

Anthony J. Langford said...

Cheers for the update Pat. It would be cool to rent one of those. A writer's dream!

Sharon Wagner said...

Prime real estate indeed! It is nice to see rustic cottages instead of mega mansions. Did you stay in one?

Stewart M said...

Nice shots - and I like the obligatory black and white.

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Pat Tillett said...

Anthony J. Langford - Thanks Anthony! I would also like to rent one, but wouldn't want to live there full-time.

Sharon Wagner - Oh yes, VERY prime! I agree about the mansions. I haven't stayed there.

Stewart M - Thanks Stewart! I like it also. Cheers!

bill burke said...

It is wonderful that the area is being restored. Looking at the photos, you can tell the area was popular in the 40s and it still is. More people and generations will be able to enjoy the beauty of the area. Excellent project!
Thanks for posting about this lovely area and have a wonderful week, Pat.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

I've heard of Laguna beach Pat, must have been in a movie ☺ I hope they do restore more of the cottages in Crystal Cove, they look like they would have been really pretty in their hay day, and it's such a beautiful spot! Your last image is gorgeous!

Pat Tillett said...

bill burke - I agree! It makes me feel good when things like this take place. Thanks so much Bill! You have a great week also.

PerthDailyPhoto - I agree about them really being something in their hay day. Thanks Grace!

Nat said...

What a fascinating place, Pat- a shame that so many of the cottages are in disrepair! I wonder if there are plans to restore them? The one that has been refurbished looks amazing - I would love to spend time there!

eileeninmd said...

Hello, Pat! What a great post. I am happy to see the cottages are being restored. The finished cottage looks very nice. I am sure it is a popular area to visit and spend the night. Have a happy day!

msmariah said...

Another beautiful photo series. I love beautiful dillapidated things. It's so strange to see these photos in comparison (especiallly the shoreline).

I have been on hiatus so I haven't seen your blog in a while. I hope you're doing well (and feeling well!). I don't know your belief system, but I continue to pray for your health. Best wishes.

Pat Tillett said...

Nat - It is a shame, but better late than never! There are plans to restore all but the total wrecks. It is a very nice place to visit. Tons of hiking trails around there also. On the beach, in canyons, and in the mountains.

eileeninmd - Thanks Eileen! It is popular, in fact reservations have to be made several months in advance.

msmariah - Thank you! I agree with you about loving old things. I am doing well (despite having another little chunk whacked out of my face today). I am most appreciative for your prayers. Nice to see you out and about.

M Pax said...

Looks like a lovely, quiet place. I like old cottages, but maybe because it reminds me of my youth on the shores of Lake Erie.

Pat Tillett said...

M Pax - It really is a great place. Speaking of your youth on the shores of Lake Erie. I also spent some of my time on the shores of Lake Erie. We lived in Port Clinton and Gypsum.

Shammickite said...

Happy 4th of July!!!!

Sandy said...

Hi Pat. Always love to come by and see what you've been up to. I learn something new everytime! Very interesting part of american history you have captured. Love the pictures as well. Especially the birdies at the end. I wish I was there at that moment. =)

Pat Tillett said...

Shammickite - Thanks! I hope you had a great one also.

Sandy - Hi Sandy! Very nice to see you here. Thanks for all the nice words. I wish I was there right now also. Thanks again!