How well do you know La Jolla? Take this quiz to find out

Test your trivia IQ about the city that’s considered “the jewel of the crown resort spot of California” — La Jolla. To gain new knowledge of your hometown, answer “True” or “False” to the following nine statements. The correct responses will help you start the new decade off with appreciation and insight for the way things are today!

  1. La Jolla was named after Countess Eva La Jolla from Marbella, Spain, who visited the area in the summer of 1896 and was so enamored with the scenic views, she returned every year until her death in 1936.
False. The origin of the name “La Jolla” is controversial among historians, although some believe it was derived from the Spanish “la joya,” meaning “the jewel.” Other interpretations include an Indian term, “woholle,” meaning “hole in the mountains,” an appropriate name considering the porous, rocky structures located along La Jolla’s shoreline.

In the 1870s, the name LaJoya appeared in random documents, while in 1928, it was found in land grant and mission records. La Jolla has also been called the Marblehead, the Gloucester, the Newport of the Pacific and the Capri of America.

  1. Notable alumni from La Jolla High School include Gregory Peck, Raquel Welch, Cliff Robertson and Robin Wright-Penn.
True. Peck was also the moving force in founding the La Jolla Playhouse in 1947 when he enlisted his friends Dorothy McGuire and Mel Ferrer to convert the La Jolla High auditorium into the original Playhouse.

Currently situated on the campus of UCSD, the La Jolla Playhouse is credited with productions that have delighted audiences from Broadway to Moscow and have merited more than 300 major honors, including 21 Tony Awards. La Jolla Playhouse also offers award-winning educational programs for some 50,000 children and adults each year.

  1. Theodor Geisel, an iconic cartoonist and children’s book author who wrote under the pen name Dr. Seuss, was a longtime La Jolla resident until he died in 1991 at the age of 87.
True. Geisel, known for his whimsical characters, hypnotic rhyme and use of trisyllabic meter as in his best-selling “One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish,” “The Cat in the Hat” and “Green Eggs and Ham,” lived for many years in La Jolla with his wife, Audrey. In fact, his name, phone number and address were publicly listed in the white pages. Theodor “Seuss” Geisel was frequently confused by the U.S. Postal Service among others with his contemporary and fellow La Jollan, Dr. Hans Suess.

In December 1995, the main library at UCSD was renamed the Geisel Library in honor of Theodor and Audrey’s generous donations to the library along with their dedication to improving literacy. Till this day, Audrey Geisel continues to enrich the culture of the San Diego community in many ways, including her partnership with The Old Globe Theatre in the production of her late husband’s “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” a stage extravaganza that delights children of all ages each holiday season.

  1. In the early 1900s, the first homes built in La Jolla were given names of sea creatures instead of street numbers, such as Seahorse Ranch, Red Night Shrimp Estates and Jelly Fish Manor.
False. These new beachfront homes, which were built for what was considered exorbitant amounts at the time (as much as $150,000), were not known by numbers, but rather dendrologous names such as Wisteria, Vine, Fig Tree and Starpine.

  1. Los Apartments de Sevilla, renamed La Valencia Hotel, was originally designed as an apartment hotel when it opened its doors in 1926.
True. La Valencia cost its owners, McArthur Gorton and Roy Wiltsie, $200,000 to build, a great financial risk at the time. The apartment/hotel combo offered room rates at $2.50 per person, including maid service, hot and cold water, steam heat, refrigeration and electricity, telephone and laundry service. It underwent a series of structural changes before becoming the legendary world-class hotel it is today.

  1. Archaeologists uncovered ancient Egyptian artifacts along Black’s Beach, including fragments of a funerary sculpture called “Nedjemu,” a boy wearing an unbleached linen wrap and a wig of real human hair, and holding a scepter in each hand.
False. Along the La Jolla shoreline, archaeologists have found fragments of Indian stone utensils and metates, indicating the presence of Native American settlements nearly 10,000 years ago. Historians, however, are uncertain of the fate of these original inhabitants.

  1. The Bishop’s School in La Jolla was founded in 1909 by the Right Rev. Joseph Horsfall Johnson, bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles, with land and monetary donations by two La Jollan philanthropists — Ellen Browning Scripps and her half-sister, Virginia Scripps.
True. Ellen Browning Scripps, a teacher, copy editor and journalist, the only one of 10 children in her family to receive a college degree, shared the same sensibilities as Bishop Johnson in the importance of a good education, and became the driving force in the development of the world-renowned high school. She was also benevolent in the founding of other landmarks and institutions in La Jolla — the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Ellen Browning Scripps Park.

  1. At the end of the 19th century, Anna Held, wife of composer Max Heinrich, created the Green Dragon Colony of La Jolla, a group of galleries overlooking La Jolla Cove, which provided a sanctuary for famous artists.
True. In 1894, Anna Held Heinrich, former governess to Ulysses S. Grant Jr.'s children, developed a cluster of beachfront cottages she named the “Green Dragon Colony,” where artists including writers, composers and architects honed their crafts while reveling in the serenity of the cove.

  1. Harry’s Coffee Shop, in the heart of downtown La Jolla, is one of the oldest eateries in San Diego. It was founded by Harry Rudolph in 1960.
True. Harry Rudolph bought the restaurant then called Gene’s in 1960 when John F. Kennedy was elected president, Heinz ketchup was 22 cents a bottle and gasoline was 30 cents a gallon. It’s now owned by three of Rudolph’s nine children — John, Harry III and Liz Gotfredson. The retro diner decor hasn’t changed much over the last 50 years; they’re still serving hearty, home-style cuisine, and the prices are still pretty reasonable for La Jolla fare.

— Source: La Jolla Historical Society