National Geographic : 1952 Dec
La Jolla, a Gem of the California Coast To Its 10,000 Inhabitants and Myriads of Visitors, This Sunny Corner of the Golden State Is Paradise on the Pacific BY DEENA CLARK With Illustrations by National Geographic Photographer J. Baylor Roberts T HE TOWN of La Jolla shimmers like a gem in the sun on the southern Cali fornia coast. No one knows for sure the origin of its name, but the most popular theory holds that it comes from la joya, "the jewel" in Spanish. La Jolla (pronounced "La Hoya") is my home town, but I am not the only one to think there's no place like it. Vacationists from other States say they would like to take it over, and Californians speak of it with all the pride of a parent. Actually, the town lies within the city limits of San Diego, just over 10 scenic miles from the heart of its busy Broadway (see the new Pacific Ocean map, a supplement to this issue). Yet this is a resort and residential community complete within its own turquoise and emerald setting. It has its own distinct personality, its own churches and schools, and a hard fought-for La Jolla postmark that is the prized official seal of its individuality. Sea and Mountain Form Its Setting Because we wanted our 6-year-old daughter, Niki, to savor some of the joys of childhood in this favored spot, my husband Blake and I planned a summer there. After a 3,000 mile cross-continent drive from Washington, D. C., we came upon a panorama of concen trated beauty. Approaching from the north by the winding Scripps Grade, we saw below us miles of cove-indented rocky coast. A ribbon of boule vard, with Spanish-style homes clustered on either side, followed the foamy shore line. From white sandy beaches, dwellings of pale-tinted stucco and burnished redwood swept in two-mile-wide scallops up the slopes of Mount Soledad, 822-foot brownish-green backdrop for the town (page 762). Eucalyp tus trees, peppers, and palms rose in verdant bursts above the colorful tile-topped buildings of the business district. As we looked down on sea and mountain merging in early-morning mist, Niki spoke from the wisdom gained by her first motor trip across America: "Whoever made this piece of the country was certainly an expert!" The 10,000 people who live here perma nently and the myriads of visitors every year agree wholeheartedly. The town not only looks good-it feels good. The thermometer, ranging within near-ideal limits, averages 700 in the year's warmest month (August), 55' in the coolest month (January). Flowers bloom the year round, Easter daf fodils nodding in the shade of Christmas poin settias. Said National Geographic staff pho tographer J. Baylor Roberts, from Virginia: "La Jollans aren't satisfied with any bush that doesn't bloom twice a year for six months at a time!" Because of its consistent climate, this resort is not doomed to summer boom and winter hibernation. From June to October it is host ess to sun-baked refugees from southwestern States. From December to April easterners flock in to escape icy blasts. Many of the visitors own their own homes here, returning year after year to take an active part in community life. A public-spirited Town Council is dedicated to keeping the place free from any tawdriness. Among its neighbors the town has a reputa tion for wealth. One resident told me of going to San Jose to see her daughter. When she drove into a service station, the owner asked, "How about selling you a car?" "Oh," she said, "I'm not from San Jose; I'm from La Jolla." "In that case," replied the garageman, "how about selling you two cars?" Here Many a Traveler Settles Down La Jolla does have more than its share of millionaires. At last count there were 63 per manent residents with an individual net worth of more than $1,000,000. But there is little ostentation. A spirit of neighborliness pervades the village. Cadillacs and broken-down jalopies with surfboards tied on their sagging tops park side by side in happy democracy. La Jollans say their town lacks only two things-snow and snobbish ness. Many who choose the town's leisurely way of life are notably well traveled. A workman replacing an electric switch at one of the lead ing stores was heard to answer a summer visi tor with, "Well, I can't really say. I was never in Bangkok for more than three days." Residents are well read, too. Bookstores outnumber movie theaters four to one.