Merle’s Drive-in

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Merle’s Drive-in

Merle’s Drive-in at MacArthur and Coast Highway, May 9th, 1952. Beckner Collection, Sherman Library. 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… Read More »

Kay Finch: Corona del Mar Artist

For more than twenty years, the ceramicist Kay Finch produced artful porcelain figurines in a studio near the corner of Coast Highway and Hazel Ave.  Kay, along with her staff, created whimsical figurines glazed in pastel colors.    She employed a meticulous, multiple-step process, which included multiple firings and hand decorating. She was best known… Read More »

Corona del Mar’s Motels

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,… Read More »

Just Passing Through…FDR in Orange County

In May of 1935 Harry Welsh, Secretary of the Newport Harbor Chamber of Commerce, was working with community leaders to plan a celebration to mark the opening of Newport Harbor. So, when a local newspaper ran a small item announcing President Franklin D. Roosevelt was planning a trip to California in July 1935, he took… Read More »

Big Corona Beach – Then and Now

On March 18, 1914 someone stood on the Corona del Mar bluffs to snap a picture of the beach, now known as Big Corona. This photograph is interesting, both for what it includes and what it does not include. There are no people and no homes. The only sign that the beach was ever used… Read More »