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Where we call home

As La Jolla grew, new residents expanded out from central La Jolla toward Pacific Beach, up into the hills and to La Jolla Shores. Today, more than 30,000 people call the area bounded by UCSD on the north, the Pacific Ocean on the West, Pacific Beach on the south and Interstate 5 on the east, home.

This week, The Light continues with its survey of La Jolla’s preeminent neighborhoods and its citizens.Country Club

The Country Club neighborhood grew up around the La Jolla Country Club Golf Course, perched atop a bluff on High Avenue in the Mount Soledad foothills. The country club itself offers spectacular, panoramic views of the Village below and the dazzling coastline.

The golf course’s 130 acres of immaculately landscaped grounds are in an amphitheater setting ringed by million-dollar homes. La Jolla Country Club had humble beginnings, starting out as a six-hole golf course that meandered from Prospect Street and Exchange Avenue to Torrey Pines Road, Virginia Way, High Avenue and back to Prospect Street.

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In 1900, La Jolla’s first golf club was organized. In 1913, club members obtained land for a nine-hole course on the site of the present golf course. In 1926, an ambitious program was undertaken to expand and modernize the golf course, with additional land acquired to increase the course to 18 holes providing all grass greens.

From these plans emerged a scenic golf course that inspired one writer to note, “The views to be enjoyed from every tee, fairway and green are so entrancing that the game almost becomes secondary to the scenery.”

In 1996, a $6.9 million remodel of the clubhouse at La Jolla Country Club was completed. The clubhouse was restored to its traditional Monterey Spanish colonial architecture of the mid-1920s. Inside the clubhouse, the Grill Room, pro shop, kitchen and locker rooms were allsignificantly expanded and upgraded.

Carol Chang, who moved into her Country Club home on Fairway Road in 1998, said the views are to die for.

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“Fairway Road is extraordinarily friendly,” Chang said. “We all know each other and look out for each other. We have welcoming parties for people when they come and farewell parties for people when they leave.”

Chang also likes the fact that the neighborhood is somewhat secluded. “It’s a very quiet street, a cul-de-sac. The golf course is right across the street, and they’re very good neighbors. With the lovely, green expanse of the golf course, it’s like living in a park with the ocean right behind it.”

Cindy Wollaeger has lived in the neighborhood for 13 years. “I like the unique style of the houses. We were just looking for Spanish style and being able to walk to the Cove and have a view, and we got it. It’s a friendly atmosphere, not a let’s-get-together-on-weekends atmosphere. Most of the people who live here in here have lived someplace else in La Jolla before.”

Jane Trevor Fetter, who lives on Country Club Drive, lived across the way on Hillside Drive when she was 2 years old. She said the grass is greener on this side of the hill.

“I moved so I would have a different view the rest of my life,” she said. “I just think all of us, wherever we live in La Jolla, are so fortunate. The air is wonderful. We’re five to 10 minutes away from the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. People are friendly. It’s quiet. It’s secluded, yet we are half an hour away from anyplace in San Diego.”

There is one downside though to the Country Club neighborhood, but it’s a temporary inconvenience.

“There is a lot of construction lately,” said Trevor Fetter, “one can hardly get home. But I don’t blame anybody for wanting to live here.”

The Muirlands

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The hills above La Jolla became the location of the Muirlands 39 development. Construction of the first nine homes cost $225,000. Harold James Muir, who came from Colorado, purchased 257 acres of Soledad Mountain with plans to build a prestigious subdivision that he began construction of in 1926.

His vision was to create a landscape “as clear cut as a picture.”

But the logistics of building and subdividing the Muirlands area bounded by La Jolla Country Club on the north, La Jolla Scenic Drive South on the east and La Jolla Mesa Drive on the south, was easier conceived than accomplished. No roads traversed the steep hillside then, and there was no water or electricity to the area in the 1920s.

Muir hired famed La Jolla architect Edgar Ullrich to design his own hacienda-style home, which became known as the Versaille of La Jolla, with a huge magnolia tree in the front yard.

Muirlands Drive provided the first automotive access up the hill. Along the old Muirlands Drive route, you can still see the original street gutter built of ocean pebble rock. Nautilus Street was not built until later.

Though not related to John Muir of Sierra Club fame, Harold Muir was also something of a naturalist. He believed in marrying landscape with architecture. Consequently, he kept the size of his lots large, assuring each home would be surrounded by gardens. His sites were plotted so that views of “the eternal blue of the sea, both changeless and changeable,” would not be blocked.

Muir’s prime original lots of moresignificantly expanded and upgraded.

Carol Chang, who moved into her Country Club home on Fairway Road in 1998, said the views are to die for.

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“Fairway Road is extraordinarily friendly,” Chang said. “We all know each other and look out for each other. We have welcoming parties for people when they come and farewell parties for people when they leave.”

Chang also likes the fact that the neighborhood is somewhat secluded. “It’s a very quiet street, a cul-de-sac. The golf course is right across the street, and they’re very good neighbors. With the lovely, green expanse of the golf course, it’s like living in a park with the ocean right behind it.”

Cindy Wollaeger has lived in the neighborhood for 13 years. “I like the unique style of the houses. We were just looking for Spanish style and being able to walk to the Cove and have a view, and we got it. It’s a friendly atmosphere, not a let’s-get-together-on-weekends atmosphere. Most of the people who live here in here have lived someplace else in La Jolla before.”

Jane Trevor Fetter, who lives on Country Club Drive, lived across the way on Hillside Drive when she was 2 years old. She said the grass is greener on this side of the hill.

“I moved so I would have a different view the rest of my life,” she said. “I just think all of us, wherever we live in La Jolla, are so fortunate. The air is wonderful. We’re five to 10 minutes away from the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. People are friendly. It’s quiet. It’s secluded, yet we are half an hour away from anyplace in San Diego.”

There is one downside though to the Country Club neighborhood, but it’s a temporary inconvenience.

“There is a lot of construction lately,” said Trevor Fetter, “one can hardly get home. But I don’t blame anybody for wanting to live here.”

The Muirlands

The hills above La Jolla became the location of the Muirlands 39 development. Construction of the first nine homes cost $225,000. Harold James Muir, who came from Colorado, purchased 257 acres of Soledad Mountain with plans to build a prestigious subdivision that he began construction of in 1926.

His vision was to create a landscape “as clear cut as a picture.”

But the logistics of building and subdividing the Muirlands area bounded by La Jolla Country Club on the north, La Jolla Scenic Drive South on the east and La Jolla Mesa Drive on the south, was easier conceived than accomplished. No roads traversed the steep hillside then, and there was no water or electricity to the area in the 1920s.

Muir hired famed La Jolla architect Edgar Ullrich to design his own hacienda-style home, which became known as the Versaille of La Jolla, with a huge magnolia tree in the front yard.

Muirlands Drive provided the first automotive access up the hill. Along the old Muirlands Drive route, you can still see the original street gutter built of ocean pebble rock. Nautilus Street was not built until later.

Though not related to John Muir of Sierra Club fame, Harold Muir was also something of a naturalist. He believed in marrying landscape with architecture. Consequently, he kept the size of his lots large, assuring each home would be surrounded by gardens. His sites were plotted so that views of “the eternal blue of the sea, both changeless and changeable,” would not be blocked.

Muir’s prime original lots of moresignificantly expanded and upgraded.

Carol Chang, who moved into her Country Club home on Fairway Road in 1998, said the views are to die for.

“Fairway Road is extraordinarily friendly,” Chang said. “We all know each other and look out for each other. We have welcoming parties for people when they come and farewell parties for people when they leave.”

Chang also likes the fact that the neighborhood is somewhat secluded. “It’s a very quiet street, a cul-de-sac. The golf course is right across the street, and they’re very good neighbors. With the lovely, green expanse of the golf course, it’s like living in a park with the ocean right behind it.”

Cindy Wollaeger has lived in the neighborhood for 13 years. “I like the unique style of the houses. We were just looking for Spanish style and being able to walk to the Cove and have a view, and we got it. It’s a friendly atmosphere, not a let’s-get-together-on-weekends atmosphere. Most of the people who live here in here have lived someplace else in La Jolla before.”

Jane Trevor Fetter, who lives on Country Club Drive, lived across the way on Hillside Drive when she was 2 years old. She said the grass is greener on this side of the hill.

“I moved so I would have a different view the rest of my life,” she said. “I just think all of us, wherever we live in La Jolla, are so fortunate. The air is wonderful. We’re five to 10 minutes away from the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. People are friendly. It’s quiet. It’s secluded, yet we are half an hour away from anyplace in San Diego.”

There is one downside though to the Country Club neighborhood, but it’s a temporary inconvenience.

“There is a lot of construction lately,” said Trevor Fetter, “one can hardly get home. But I don’t blame anybody for wanting to live here.”

The Muirlands

The hills above La Jolla became the location of the Muirlands 39 development. Construction of the first nine homes cost $225,000. Harold James Muir, who came from Colorado, purchased 257 acres of Soledad Mountain with plans to build a prestigious subdivision that he began construction of in 1926.

His vision was to create a landscape “as clear cut as a picture.”

But the logistics of building and subdividing the Muirlands area bounded by La Jolla Country Club on the north, La Jolla Scenic Drive South on the east and La Jolla Mesa Drive on the south, was easier conceived than accomplished. No roads traversed the steep hillside then, and there was no water or electricity to the area in the 1920s.

Muir hired famed La Jolla architect Edgar Ullrich to design his own hacienda-style home, which became known as the Versaille of La Jolla, with a huge magnolia tree in the front yard.

Muirlands Drive provided the first automotive access up the hill. Along the old Muirlands Drive route, you can still see the original street gutter built of ocean pebble rock. Nautilus Street was not built until later.

Though not related to John Muir of Sierra Club fame, Harold Muir was also something of a naturalist. He believed in marrying landscape with architecture. Consequently, he kept the size of his lots large, assuring each home would be surrounded by gardens. His sites were plotted so that views of “the eternal blue of the sea, both changeless and changeable,” would not be blocked.

Muir’s prime original lots of moresignificantly expanded and upgraded.

Carol Chang, who moved into her Country Club home on Fairway Road in 1998, said the views are to die for.

“Fairway Road is extraordinarily friendly,” Chang said. “We all know each other and look out for each other. We have welcoming parties for people when they come and farewell parties for people when they leave.”

Chang also likes the fact that the neighborhood is somewhat secluded. “It’s a very quiet street, a cul-de-sac. The golf course is right across the street, and they’re very good neighbors. With the lovely, green expanse of the golf course, it’s like living in a park with the ocean right behind it.”

Cindy Wollaeger has lived in the neighborhood for 13 years. “I like the unique style of the houses. We were just looking for Spanish style and being able to walk to the Cove and have a view, and we got it. It’s a friendly atmosphere, not a let’s-get-together-on-weekends atmosphere. Most of the people who live here in here have lived someplace else in La Jolla before.”

Jane Trevor Fetter, who lives on Country Club Drive, lived across the way on Hillside Drive when she was 2 years old. She said the grass is greener on this side of the hill.

“I moved so I would have a different view the rest of my life,” she said. “I just think all of us, wherever we live in La Jolla, are so fortunate. The air is wonderful. We’re five to 10 minutes away from the most beautiful water I’ve ever seen. People are friendly. It’s quiet. It’s secluded, yet we are half an hour away from anyplace in San Diego.”

There is one downside though to the Country Club neighborhood, but it’s a temporary inconvenience.

“There is a lot of construction lately,” said Trevor Fetter, “one can hardly get home. But I don’t blame anybody for wanting to live here.”

The Muirlands

The hills above La Jolla became the location of the Muirlands 39 development. Construction of the first nine homes cost $225,000. Harold James Muir, who came from Colorado, purchased 257 acres of Soledad Mountain with plans to build a prestigious subdivision that he began construction of in 1926.

His vision was to create a landscape “as clear cut as a picture.”

But the logistics of building and subdividing the Muirlands area bounded by La Jolla Country Club on the north, La Jolla Scenic Drive South on the east and La Jolla Mesa Drive on the south, was easier conceived than accomplished. No roads traversed the steep hillside then, and there was no water or electricity to the area in the 1920s.

Muir hired famed La Jolla architect Edgar Ullrich to design his own hacienda-style home, which became known as the Versaille of La Jolla, with a huge magnolia tree in the front yard.

Muirlands Drive provided the first automotive access up the hill. Along the old Muirlands Drive route, you can still see the original street gutter built of ocean pebble rock. Nautilus Street was not built until later.

Though not related to John Muir of Sierra Club fame, Harold Muir was also something of a naturalist. He believed in marrying landscape with architecture. Consequently, he kept the size of his lots large, assuring each home would be surrounded by gardens. His sites were plotted so that views of “the eternal blue of the sea, both changeless and changeable,” would not be blockthan three acres sold well originally, but he was competing with other areas of La Jolla, like the Shores, for out-of-town buyers’ dollars. Most of La Jolla’s 4,000 residents at the time were middle-class people owning or renting smaller homes in the Village, who couldn’t afford the Muirlands exclusivity.

In 1930, a real estate ad priced Muirlands lots for $1,500 apiece.

The Great Depression curtailed Muir’s plans. He was forced to gradually sell off parcels in his subdivision at diminishing prices. In 1945, he moved from the Muirlands manor he built retiring to Colorado, where he died no longer a wealthy man.

Though Muir’s dream was never quite realized, many of the finest homes and gardens in the old Muirlands are the flower of the architectural seeds he and Ullrich planted.

Longtime residents of the Muirlands, like Susan Oliver, speak of the neighborhood’s charm and romantic ambiance. Oliver said that though the faces change over time, the neighborhood itself remains timeless.

“We moved here nearly 20 years ago,” she said, “and it seems like the whole neighborhood has changed hands over that time with a lot of older people leaving and houses being remodeled at the same time.”

Oliver said one of the reasons they bought their home was because it was big enough to have a tennis court. She has few complaints, other than she wishes some residents would trim their trees more to maintain clear views to the ocean.

“It’s been a pleasurable place to raise three boys,” she said, “though it’s not a great place for kids, because there are no sidewalks, just cobblestones that can be dangerous.”

Kenneth Smith, who used to live in the old Muir residence, had nothing but praise for the historic neighborhood.

“It is spacious and provides a glimpse of a time gone by that was perhaps a little more gently gracious,” said Smith. “The feeling of naturalness is something that makes the neighborhood very unique and individual, special.”

Mount Soledad

In the 1950s, Mount Soledad and the subdivision that eventually sprang up around it was nothing but sagebrush. Land gently sloping up from the ocean on the southwest side of the mountaintop now bears the towering trademark Korean war memorial cross.

It is believed architect Pat Paderewski was the first full-time occupant of Mount Soledad. In 1954, he settled on the very top of the mountain next to the cross and the television antennas.

“There was nobody,” he said, “except me and a mountain lion and rabbits and squirrels.”

During World War II, prior to residential development on Mount Soledad, anti-aircraft bunkers were dug into the side of the mountaintop, complete with fully operational guns poised to fire at Japanese planes, which many then feared would converge on La Jolla.

After the war, development came slowly but surely to Mount Soledad, which was undeveloped, largely because the city hadn’t extended public services up the hill. It wasn’t until after the war that Nautilus Street, today the main artery connecting the Village with Mount Soledad, was built. It previously ended abruptly before reaching the mountaintop.

“Charles Lindbergh and his wife flew gliders off it,” said Darryl Templer of The History Room at La Jolla Library. “In fact, Lindbergh’s wife landed in a bean field down by the Shores.”

Russell and Eloise Duff retired in the Mount La Jolla development on Mount Soledad. Russell Duff likes the spaciousness of his older neighborhood.

“I can look out my front windows and there’s a lawn and a swimming pool, and it probably runs 30 yards or something like that,” he said. “Modern places built the last few years in La Jolla, there’s almost no room between them. It’s a well-established neighborhood. A lot of the residents are elderly or near retirement age. It’s quiet. It just meets our needs very nicely.”

La Jolla Farms

In between UCSD campus and La Jolla Shores sits La Jolla Farms, one of the community’s most exclusive neighborhoods, characterized by large mansions on sprawling lots.

An early pioneer in the area was William Black, a financier, oilman and real estate developer who began his colorful career in the Texas and Oklahoma oil fields. He was involved with real estate development in San Diego in the 1920s.

In 1949, Black bought the pueblo land above Scripps Institution of Oceanography and developed the 200 acres as La Jolla Farms.

The original restrictions stipulateded. that homes on the property be of adobe construction, cost more than $100,000 and be limited to four or five estates total.

La Jolla Farms has always had an equestrian flavor, which is preserved in the design of the recently opened Estancia Hotel, which has been made to resemble a horse ranch and stables. Part of Black’s original development included a 22-stall barn, a large feed barn and a trainer’s house.

The property also included a half-mile training track, a polo field and a clubhouse. Champion thoroughbred horses were trained at the stable. Christmas caroling during the holiday season was performed on horseback in the neighborhood.

Black and his wife, Ruth, built a large, U-shaped home overlooking the ocean, which is now owned by UCSD and used as the chancellor’s residence. Black also lent his name to a private beach below the Farms subdivision, which subsequently became a swimsuit-optional zone.

In recent times, local homeowners have banded together to form the La Jolla Farms Homeowners Association to lobby for neighborhood interests on planning issues. Many of those deal with the rapid expansion of UCSD, Scripps, Salk and the rest of the biotech community on nearby Torrey Pines Mesa.

Residents living in La Jolla Farms neighborhood, like Laura Wheeler, wouldn’t l

live anywhere else.

“As for the Wheeler family,” she said, “we love it here because of the proximity to the canyon and the beach. We are able to step outside our door and walk or ride our bikes to beautiful natural settings. It is great to be near UCSD.”

Longtime Farms resident Val Arbab has lived in the neighborhood with her family since 1976.

“I moved here because of the spaciousness,” said Arbab, who lives on Black Gold Road. “It is a totally unique neighborhood. We try very hard to keep a community spirit.”

Bird Rock, Lower

and Upper Hermosa

The original residents of Bird Rock were native Americans, first the San Dieguito tribe 7,000 to 10,000 years ago, followed by the La Jolla Indians and then the Kumeyaay Tribe, who lived there until displaced by Spanish colonists in the mid-1700s, according to a history compiled by Bird Rock resident Don Schmidt.

Michael Hall, one of San Diego’s early land developers is characterized as the father of Bird Rock. He bought large tracts of land in south La Jolla in 1904-05, calling it the Bird Rock Addition.

Little development followed immediately.

Bird Rock, in those days, was considered the country, though a few early farmhouses still stand and are occupied today. In the early 1900s, bean and tomato fields proliferated and in the 1930s, Japanese truck gardens sold fresh vegetables on La Jolla Boulevard.

One of the best-known Bird Rock businesses in the early days was the Bird Rock Inn, a hotel at Bird Rock Avenue built with stones from the nearby beach. The inn was favored by pioneering aviator Charles Lindbergh.

Depression in the 1930s brought austerity, with no more than 30 families living in Bird Rock. World War II changed Bird Rock forever, with many new homes being built to accommodate factory workers flocking to San Diego during the war.

A large tract of land was leased by the United States Army in the area from M. Hall Co. and was used as an anti-aircraft training center. Houses in Bird Rock and Pacific Beach would shake every time the guns went off.

After the war came a building boom. By 1952, Bird Rock had its own unofficial business district. Bird Rock Elementary School’s buildings were completed the same year.

William Kessling, a renowned Los Angeles builder, built many houses in Bird Rock between 1940 and 1960. By 1960, much of the vacant land in Bird Rock had been bought, built on and resold.

In the late 1970s, Bird Rock land values skyrocketed. During the late 1990s, some of the area’s older homes were replaced by new ones. There are presently more than 800 families residing in Bird Rock’s mostly single-family neighborhoods in Lower and Upper Hermosa.

La Jolla Library’s Templer lives in Bird Rock.

“I like that it’s small and quiet, and it tends to stay that way,” he said. “It’s a neighborhood that has great trees that have been there since the 1920s. The last 10 years, there’s been this need to knock the roofs off houses and add another 500 or 1,000 square feet. But other than that, the neighborhood is stable.”

Toni Tishon has lived in Bird Rock on Colima Street for 20 years.

“It is a quiet neighborhood, with residents getting involved in their community,” she said. “My neighbors are some of the nicest people who are always willing to help out. I like its location and it is nice to come home after work and be able to walk in such a nice area.”

Don Schmidt moved to Bird Rock for the unique Southern California coastal village atmosphere.

“There was something honest and down to earth about Bird Rock,” he said. “It wasn’t flashy ... It almost seemed you could disconnect yourself from the rest of the world.”

Dave McConaughy chose to retire in Bird Rock.

“Our home on Bellevue Avenue has been the perfect winter hide-away,” he said, “a traditional ranch-style house built by Ralph Crane, one of La Jolla’s well-known architects from the 1940s.”

McConaughy believes the lush surroundings make Bird Rock special. “Truly, La Jolla is the Jewel of the Sea.”