Revelle family donates Wisteria Cottage to the La Jolla Historical Society

During a reception for the opening of the La Jolla Historical Society’s “By the Beautiful Sea” exhibition Friday, Ellen Clark Revelle, widow of UCSD founder Roger Revelle and namesake of her great-aunt, Ellen Browning Scripps, announced that she and daughter, Mary Revelle Paci were donating the historic 1904 Wisteria Cottage and its surrounding grounds to the La Jolla Historical Society and the community.

“I would venture to say that this gift is just about the most important development in the Society’s history since our founding in 1963. Owning this great historic property knowing that the Society will be here in perpetuity means the possibilities for our future as an organization dedicated to the community’s heritage are endless,” the Society’s executive director John Bolthouse said.

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 other two historic structures for use as a museum of La Jolla history, modern storage for the Society’s archives collection, education center, gift shop and event venue.

The Society’s ongoing $2 million capital campaign is moving along with the help of donors. With the incoming donations, initial renovation of the Cottage is underway. The interior of the main floor has undergone repainting to allow for exhibit spaces and the original hardwood floors have been sanded and refinished.

Wisteria Cottage

Named for the iconic wisteria-covered pergola in front of the entry, Wisteria Cottage was built in 1904 by George B. and Edith M. Seaman, who owned the property only briefly before deeding it to a son. It was then sold to E. Virginia Scripps, half-sister of La Jolla philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, and the cottage remained in the ownership of Scripps family descendants until today’s historic announcement.

About the La Jolla Historical Society

La Jolla Historical Society’s offices and archives are located at 7846 Eads Ave., La Jolla and are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The exhibit, “By the Beautiful Sea: A Photographic History of Summers in La Jolla,” and the gift store, Wisteria Cottage, 780 Prospect St., are open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily from July 26 to August 10 with free admission. Call (858) 459-5335 or log onto

for more information.