History of La Jolla, California

Native Americans inhabited La Jolla as long as 10,000 years ago, and there’s some debate over whether the city’s name derives from an Indian word meaning “holes” or the Spanish word “la joya” meaning “jewel.” In any case, the gorgeous coastline and seven mysterious sea caves favor both origins. Let’s take a look at the area’s history.

Prospect La Jolla

Famous Residents Love La Jolla Oceanside Views

La Jolla became part of San Diego in 1850. Nineteen years later, two brothers became the area’s first permanent settlers. Daniel and Samuel Sizer bought 80-acre plots at $1.25 per acre, a far cry from today’s $2 million asking price for land between Fay Street and La Jolla Boulevard.

Proximity to jaw-dropping oceanside views has attracted many celebrities to the area. Actors Raquel Welsh, Gregory Peck, and Cliff Robertson lived here, and musician Michael Franks also called La Jolla home.

La Jolla Cove
La Jolla Cove

The Hearst family and heiress Ellen Browning Scripps lived in La Jolla, and their names are still found on many buildings and institutions such as the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and Scripps College. Nobel Prize winner Clive Granger also lived in the city.

Resort Town and Artist Colony

In the 1890s, the railroad came to La Jolla, and interest in the area’s real estate value peaked. Oceanside resorts sprang up to attract San Diegans and residents from the interior. In 1893, La Jolla Park Hotel welcomed its first guests, and wealthy residents began building vacation cottages on Prospect Street and Girard Avenue.

An artist colony hosted creatives drawn to drawing different aspects of the Pacific.

La Jolla Childrens Pool
La Jolla Childrens Pool – La Jolla California – San Diego

Notable Firsts for La Jolla

  • In 1899, the first telephone lines connected La Jolla to voices across America, and seven years later the first newspaper went to print.
  • In 1918 Scripps Memorial Hospital opens in La Jolla and the town gets its first paved streets.
  • In 1931, the Children’s Pool breakwater broke ground and it’s now a popular haven for area sea lions.
  • In 1944 the first stop signs challenged motorists along Girard and Torrey Pines Road
  • In 1987 the city celebrated its centennial.

La Jolla Today

Modern La Jolla is a bustling oceanside city that has its own identity beyond its association with San Diego. Historic remnants include key institutions and streets named after early settlers and philanthropists. World-class beaches, art galleries and research bump eaves with top restaurants.

The rich and famous, including the Kardashians, have been spotted enjoying the ambiance in this small Southern California city. Before you go to Mexico, make sure to secure MexInsurance® online. Fast convenient and without human contact so that you can secure quality insurance without getting sick. Point click and print your Mexican Insurance policy in minutes. Click here to get started with a quick quote.

Click here for Things to do in La Jolla.

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