Tent City

For almost forty years, from 1900 to 1939, Coronado was home to a resort called “Tent City.” Readers today may think only of the Hotel Del Coronado when Coronado comes to mind, but Tent City was owned and run as a resort by the same people who owned the Del, the Coronado Beach Company.

John Spreckels, who’d acquired the Coronado Beach Company in 1889, a year after the Del opened, established Tent City in 1900. Here’s a photo from a promotional booklet published by the beach company in 1903:


In his 1908 book on the history of San Diego, historian William Smythe paid tribute to Tent City as “one of [Coronado’s] most attractive features. On the narrow peninsula east of the hotel, several hundred tents and palmleaf-covered cottages are erected early each summer, where a large number of people go to spend a few weeks beside the ocean…It is one of the coast’s most popular resorts, especially with those who seek to escape the summer heat of the warm interiors.”

Here’s another photo from 1903 of some of those bathers cooling off.


 

Tent City drew 10,000 residents during its June-through-September season in 1914. It would continue as a destination until 1939, when it closed to make way for highway construction.

Here’s a link to the 1903 booklet, which is in the UCSD archives:

https://library.ucsd.edu/dc/object/bb7784398w/_1.pdf

In addition to the abovementioned book and website, sources for this post also included historic San Diego County newspapers and the website of the Coronado Historical Association.

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March, 1894

I offer one of my periodic snapshots of life in San Diego County in past times, courtesy of the weekly Poway Progress newspaper’s edition of Saturday, March 3, 1894.

The paper’s Encinitas correspondent noted that on the previous Tuesday, “J. W. Bond took his fine cow to San Diego to sell.”   And the day before that, “W. L. Hannah hauled a load of hogs to the city” as well.

Over in the Poway valley, “Dry weather still holds on,” the paper stated, “and everybody is becoming anxious as to the outcome of the season. Instead of six to ten inches of growth by this time as a rule, the grain is but barely visible on most of the ground.”

So as not to keep you in suspense, I can report that in the issue of the following week, the paper’s Poway-datelined entry reported: “We have had a fine rain.”

On more up to date matters, I will be giving my talk, “Homefront San Diego in World War Two” this coming Saturday at 11 a. m. at the Rancho Bernardo History Museum. My talk slides include period photos and newspaper articles as well as newsreel footage. I’ll be offering my book, Valleys of Dreams, for sale too.

Come join us at the museum in the Bernardo Winery at 13330 Paseo Del Verano Norte.

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You can get weekly updates of San Diego History Seeker automatically in your email by clicking on the “Follow” button in the lower right corner of the blog page. You’ll then get an email asking you to confirm. Once you confirm you’ll be an active follower.