Self-guided walking tour features local history


By Matthew Wong

Though many La Jollans have passed through La Jolla’s Village and Cove a number of times, not many can claim that they have seen its finest landmarks and learned the complete history behind them. With the introduction of La Jolla Historical Society’s self-guided walking tour, this is now an easy task.

The tour, which was started on April 1, goes through 15 of La Jolla’s most noteworthy landmarks. Designed to be a casual walk through the sidewalks of La Jolla, the tour requires nothing beyond comfortable clothes and shoes. The walk starts at the La Jolla Historical Society Cottage, then proceeds to the iconic Wisteria Cottage, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Bishop’s School, then on to further historic sites such as the Grand Colonial Hotel, the La Jolla Woman’s Club and the Scripps Children’s Pool.

At each stop on the tour, one can glance at the guide to find out the fascinating history behind the sites, most of which have been around for close to 100 years. The guide includes such facts as when the sites were first erected, the changes that they have endured, as well as their current situations. Furthermore, the tour includes directions to each site and back to the Historical Society. Covering nearly 20 blocks, the walk has an estimated walking time of only one hour and thirty minutes.

The Historic Walking Tour was created mainly due to the high demand and interest for a walking tour in La Jolla. The group’s executive director, John Bolthouse, recalled that visitors used to come in to the cottage asking if there was such a tour that highlighted La Jolla’s main targets of interest.

Indeed, the tour has banked off of a high tourist season and the vested interest that tourists have for La Jolla.

“Many requests have come from out-of-town visitors,” Bolthouse observed. He went on to note that one or two people pass through the cottage every day asking for the tour guide and map. However, the tour is not intended solely for tourists. La Jollans are also encouraged to take part and explore their own historic community.

The success of the self-guided tour can be attributed to a number of a reasons. Bolthouse cites one of them as the guidebook.

“The guidebook is very good. It was very well-researched and has great pictures and descriptions,” he said.

While the guidebook can be purchased for five dollars at the Historical Society Cottage, Bolthouse has plans to branch the tour out even further. “We sell it at Warwick’s now, and by the end of the month, it will be available at the Museum of Contemporary Art gift shop,” he said.

As for the future, Bolthouse hopes to build on the success of the historic walking tour and create different versions of the tour featuring the designs of famous architects or, perhaps, sites associated with famous people. There are also plans in the future for some of the tours to be docent guided. For now though, the historic walking tour will have to do.

The La Jolla Historical Society is the gateway to La Jolla’s history and heritage. It is located at 7846 Eads Ave. Offices and historical archives are open to the public Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information regarding the historical society or walking tour call (858) 459-5335 or visit