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Historical Society celebrates exhibit, Wisteria Cottage donation

Guests at the opening reception for La Jolla Historical Society’s “By the Beautiful Sea” exhibit got quite the surprise at the July 25 event, which was held at the Wisteria Cottage.

Ellen Clark Revelle, widow of UCSD founder Roger Revelle and namesake of her great-aunt, Ellen Browning Scripps, announced that she and her daughter, Mary Revelle Paci, were donating the historic cottage and its surrounding grounds to the Society.

Ellen, however, half-joked that she and Mary would be retaining the rights to the figs that grow on the property.

“Keep your fingers off,” Ellen said to the crowd.

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Wisteria Cottage, which was named for the wisteria-covered pergola in front of the entry, was built in 1904. In 2005, the Society signed a 10-year lease on the property with the Revelle family. The Society has been developing plans to restore Wisteria Cottage and the property’s two structures for use as a museum, education center, storage for archives, gift shop and event venue.

The July 25 event unveiled black-and-white photographic reproductions of images and video footage depicting summers in La Jolla from 1870 to 1930. Tourists and residents from that era took most of the photographs. Bathing suits on loan from the Coronado Historical Association were also displayed.

Among the evening’s attendees: Roger Craig, board president; Judy Haxo, board vice president; John Bolthouse, executive director; Bill and Eleanor Revelle; Nico and Caroline Nierenberg; Don and Janet Allison; Christina and Chris Freundt; Arthur and Jeannie Rivkin; Betsy and Scott McClendon; Mark Collins; Donna Tripi; and George and Beverly Coles.