Perhaps the most iconic building in the Newport Beach neighborhood of Corona del Mar is the tutor-style Five Crowns. Thanks to one woman’s remarkable foresight and intuition, Corona del Mar hosts a traditional English inn. Matilda MacCulloch was a woman with vision. After traveling throughout Europe, marrying a Scottish nobleman, and living for many years in England, she wanted to have a taste of England to Southern California. Through her determination and love of architecture, Corona del Mar has its very own English inn.
A century ago, America went to war. Men from Orange County and across the nation heeded the call to service during World War I. By the end of the war, 4 million men served, half of those going abroad to fight. More than 100,000 American “doughboys” lost their lives in World War I.
In 1917, Corona del Mar was a peaceful rural enclave, — as far from the battlefields in France as one could imagine. So, it might seem ironic that a decade after the end of the “War to End All Wars,” movie makers arrived in Corona del Mar to recreate World War I. In fact, the Academy Award winning All Quiet on the Western Front, included battle scenes filmed in Corona del Mar.
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.
Recently, both Huntington Beach and Santa Cruz have claimed the moniker, Surf City, USA. While today nobody considers Corona del Mar the center of surf culture in California, in 1928 it might well have claimed the title Surf City, USA. In that year, Corona del Mar had the only surf club on the Pacific Coast (with twelve members) and was the site of the first Pacific Coast Surf Board Championship. One of the most popular photographs in Sherman Library’s collection shows contestants in this race posing next to their redwood longboards.
At first glance, this photograph may seem uninteresting. It is after all, a shot of a nearly empty street with a few buildings. If you look closely, you will see a number of clues to the location and date. To the left, you can see the Goldenrod footbridge and to the right a grocery store, which also served as a post office. The store was Scott’s Grocery, which city directories indicate was on the corner of Coast Highway and Marigold Ave. In the distance toward the center of the photo, you will notice two additional buildings. The nearer of the two, on the left, was Brigg’s Service Station, and the smaller building in the distance was the K. I. Fulton real estate office.