Historical Society acquires old deed to St. James by-the-Sea

By Ashley Mackin

The La Jolla Historical Society is now home to the original deed to St. James by-the-Sea Episcopal Church, 743 Prospect St. The deed presentation took place Monday afternoon, Sept. 24.

The original legal deed of transfer from Virginia Scripps to the Church is just one of many documents found during a recent cleanup of Church records.

“It’s a link to La Jolla’s past and it’s a very important part of La Jolla’s past,” said Michael Mishler, archivist and curator of the La Jolla Historical Society.

Mishler said in the 1900s, sisters Virginia and Ellen Scripps owned much of the land on which the Historical Society and Saint James Church now reside.

“Virginia [Scripps] was active in the Episcopal Church, so she helped provide the funds, as I understand it, to build the church and she allowed them to use the land – or she deed- ed them the land they’re on,” Mishler said.

He added that the Wisteria Cottage, which now serves as a venue for the Historical Society, formerly housed the Church offices.

Rev. Eleanor Ellsworth presented the file to the Historical Society, which included several deeds of transfer to and from the Scripps sisters, as well as original blueprints from architect Irving Gill. She said some of the deeds date back to 1903.

The Historical Society will make copies of these docu- ments for the Church to keep, while they archive the origi- nals to preserve them.

“One of our goals is collect the history of La Jolla and this is a significant part of the history,” Mishler said. “We’re al- ways looking to have the organizations [and] groups that are active, that are part of La Jolla, preserve their histories. Our job, what we provide, is a place for those things to be pre- served; we’d like to be the archive for the community.”