On February 19, 1933 when Dana Lamb and Virgina “Ginger” Bishop married, Orange County was a quiet place compared to today. The couple had grown up in Orange County, both having graduated from Santa Ana High School. But for Dana and Ginger Lamb, civilization had encroached too far into Orange County. They yearned for adventure – and perhaps a bit of fame. So, in August 1933, they embarked on what became a three-year,16,000-mile honeymoon in their homemade, sixteen-foot canoe, the Vagabunda.
Merle’s Coffee shop opened in 1951 at the corner of Coast Highway and MacArthur Blvd., a space now occupied by the Corona del Mar Plaza. Merle’s, which billed itself as a drive-in, offered a typical menu of coffee shop staples. In the early 1960s, the restaurant changed ownership and Merle’s became The Zoo drive-in. Perhaps the most memorable feature of The Zoo was the gorilla-costumed employee who stood on the corner to attract customers.
If George Hart, the original developer of Corona del Mar, had his way Sherman Library would be on 32nd Street instead of the much more pleasing Dahlia Avenue. So, how were the flower streets of Corona del Mar named? Why does an alphabetical scheme include three sets of duplicates: Avocado and Acacia, Marguerite and Marigold, and Poinsettia and Poppy? How did Hazel get included, after Poppy? And for good measure, do Avocado, Acacia, Fernleaf and Hazel qualify as flowers?
Affordable Motels in Corona del Mar? Can you believe Corona del Mar used to have motels along Coast Highway? The first motel in Corona del Mar, the Bay-Ocean Motel, is listed in a 1941 local city directory. By 1955, six more motels sprung up along coast highway: Crown of the Sea Motel, Del Mar Hotel, Farmhouse Motel, Motel Corona del Mar, Motel Kirkwood, and Sea Crest Hotel. The last addition was the Jamaica Inn Motor Hotel, that boasted two heated pools and opened around 1960.