Excerpted from Jeremy Hollins’ “Until Kingdom Come, The Design and Construction of La Jolla Children’s Pool”
This week marks the 80th anniversary of the Children's Pool in La Jolla, which was created in 1931 through a trust by Ellen Browning Scripps, a prominent La Jolla benefactress, to build a breakwater so children could safely swim at the beach.
Scripps devoted much of her time to the welfare and safety of children. In 1930, she commissioned Hiram Newton Savage, a hydraulic engineer, to finish design work on the breakwater project he’d begun studies on nearly a decade earlier. Architect William Templeton Johnson designed the breakwater’s walls.
On May 31, a celebration occurred at the breakwater to celebrate the accomplishment. Scripps was too ill to attend, but Savage spoke in her place, reminding the audience of the difficulties involved in constructing the structure as well as stressing its importance to the community. The ceremony featured speeches, a pantomime performance by La Jolla schoolchildren and a concert by the San Diego YMCA band.
The breakwater received tremendous support from the community including Judge John Kean, who described the project as “the most valuable of all Miss Scripps’ benefits to La Jolla.” La Jolla Journal, the community weekly paper at that time, referred to the project as “a wonderful and valuable improvement” and “a great asset to the community.”