Monday, July 22, 2013


The inspiration for this post is a booklet titled, Coronado'sArchitectural Gems, prepared by the Coronado Historical Association and Coronado Visitor Center. Most of the “gems” were built shortly after 1887. The most famous is the Hotel Del Coronado—completed in 1888.

I have found the best way to explore is by bike, so off I go for another excursion. This circling Coronado bike ride starts on the trail in front of the Ferry Landing and heads east in the direction of the curved, 200-foot-high Coronado Bridge. The trail follows the Bay providing views of the skyline, naval station, and intermittent boats sailing by—ranging from kayaks to US Navy ships. The ride is made even more pleasant by the sound of the waves hitting the rocks below. It also passes Tidelands Park that is very popular for weekend picnics; and a quick stop to do some pushups on the vita course.

The trail continues under the bridge and along the Municipal Golf Course and then to the wide street of Glorietta Boulevard. Glorietta is a great place to enjoy viewing some lovely old homes. I particularly like the Charles W. Amos home, 600 Glorietta Boulevard. It was built in 1921 at a cost of $6,000, the owner was a direct descendant of Sir Francis Drake. Also interesting, is the Thompson-Waggaman Residence, 848 Glorieta Boulevard, an example of Italian Renaissance Revival architecture.This style was popular in the early 1900s. The decorative windows and arches on the first floor; and the more simple second floor, are typical of this style.


Continuing on past the Coronado Yacht Club, there is a modest promenade facing the harbor which is home to a large metal sculptured sailboat by Jon Koehler—titled “Freedom.” The unique 2009 design allows for the three sails to move with the wind.

Further down the harbor is the scenic boathouse which is now home to 1887 on the Bay Restaurant. This is a Queen Ann Revival, designed in the same style as the nearby Hotel Del Coronado. Elements typical of this style include a wrap-around front porch, gables, overhanging eaves, towers, and a second story balcony. Built before the Hotel Del Coronado, it served as a dormitory for the hotel's construction workers.

From here, I like to continue on the sidewalk in front of the City Hall and Recreation Center before crossing highway 75 at the stoplight. Straight across the street is the Pacific Ocean which is a great place for a bench break; looking south you can see Imperial Beach and Mexico.  

After a break, I walk my bike on the sidewalk (biking is not allowed here) following the Ocean and enjoying a great view of the famous Hotel Del Coronado. The sidewalk ends at Ocean Boulevard.
   Biking along Ocean Boulevard provides views of the most impressive old mansions on the island. Built in the early 1900s, many have historic designations. Among them is the famous Claus Spreckels Mansion,1043 Ocean Boulevard, which was built by John D. Spreckels as a beach home in 1907; and later given to his son, Claus, as a wedding gift.  It is another example of the Italian Renaissance Revival style.

The Fitch-Baker Home, 519 Ocean Boulevard, was built in 1915 for Howard Baker—a retired capitalist from Minnesota. It was later purchased by Walter Fitch III, a mining engineer.

I turn right on the last road before Ocean Boulevard leads into the North Island Naval Base (not open to the public). Here I suggest looking at a map because the roads curve and it's easy to get confused. I usually follow Coronado Avenue around until it ends and then cut over to Alameda Boulevard back to First Street.

Turning onto First Street there are some lovely old homes. A number of them are “the Jessop houses.” One of my favorites is the Dutch Colonial Jessop-Israel House at 624 First Street, built in 1907. J.Jessop & Sons was the most successful jewelry business on the West coast for almost a century. Joseph Jessop and his six sons built over 35 homes in Coronado.

I continue my ride down First Street with a stop at Boney's BaysideMarket, 155 Orange Avenue, for coffee and a blueberry scone (the best anywhere). I also pick up some reasonably priced fresh fruits a vegetables. A short ride down Orange Avenue through Centennial Park and I am once again on the paved bike trail and will continue my ride back to the Ferry Landing.

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