Sherman Library has an extensive collection of aerial photographs of Corona del Mar. This photograph from the collection shows just how quiet and undeveloped Corona del Mar was in 1929. Entire blocks were vacant, while others had only a single residence. Even though access to Corona del Mar improved with the completion of Coast Highway, which you can see running across the top of the photo, sales of lots in Corona del Mar were rare.
In the foreground of the photograph is the harbor entrance, which includes some interesting landmarks. The large ship in the channel was the stranded hulk of the Muriel, a cargo ship that also appeared in the movie The Sea Hawk (1924) and later served as a fishing barge. In 1926, it ran aground on a sandbar and remained there until its removal in 1931.
Across from the Muriel is a beach, now known as China Cove. The current name for the beach came from a house with Chinese-inspired architecture that was constructed a year after this photograph was taken. One the left side of China Cove is the Kerckhoff Marine Laboratory owned by Cal Tech, one of the few landmarks remaining today. Directly above the Kerckhoff is Dahlia Ave. Two streets over and higher up on the photograph is the Goldenrod footbridge.
Finally, in what is today called Pirates’ Cove stands the Sparr Bathhouse. Early surfers, such as Duke Kahanamoku, used this bathhouse built by William Sparr, one of a succession of unsuccessful Corona del Mar real estate promoters.