“The houses here look rather different,” remarked one of our crew on the way to the La Jolla Coast.
“Oh yes, it’s rather expensive here,” our Uber driver remarked,”it didn’t always was this ways but then rich royalty from the Middle East moved in and all the wannabes followed them over.”
We were on our way to a lunch meeting at the Village of La Jolla, north of San Diego City. I was taken in by the term “village” assuming it did what it said on the description and certainly did not expect a seaside resort that looked way too chill.
It seemed to house the quintessential San Diego beach experience – the very one that TV images of San Diego generally convey.
I was intrigued by the Uber drivers comments and decided to do some research. How did it La Jolla become the way it is today?
As you’d imagine with a game of broken telephone, not every story is correct. In fact contrary to its recent “middle eastern” riches, La Jolla has always been a place for the wealthy to be seen on the California coast.
La Jolla was originally a native American settlement famed for its natural beauty. The native Kumeyaay people called the land the “land of holes” in reference to the sea-level caves near the coast. It remained as land for the natives under Mexican rule. This changed after California was annexed by the United States and settlers from eastern United States settled in San Diego. Technological developments (rail and road) made La Jolla a preferred seaside resort from the city dwellers in San Diego and soon a whole seaside resort was established.
Notable among its residents was a journalist and publisher Ellen Browning Scripps, an already wealthy individual who become even wealthier by inheritance. Scripps used her fortune to invest in some of the most notable heritage sites in the area. She was also passionate about knowledge and established the Scripps Institute of Oceanography and the Scripps Research Institute, both institutions of global repute in Geology and Biomedicine.
The Scripps Research Institute, yes they get quite an amazing view when they need time out of the lab
In fact it was the Scripps Institute of Oceanography that formed the nucleus of the eventual University of California San Diego, one of the top universities in the world. You can see why the institute would attract a world class team of Oceanographers too, looking at this video, I’d want to be an oceanographer.
La Jolla was already an alternative, arts colony back in the 1890s, when Anna Held established the Green Dragon Colony, a collection of 12 flats designed by a well-known architect (Irving Gill) to house artists. It continues its artistic vibe with the La Jolla Playhouse (a professional theatre) and the Musuem of Contemporary Art San Diego.
All this collectively make La Jolla a choice location for the financially able in the United States. Even a decade ago in 2009 La Jolla was already the most expensive postal code in the whole United States, with the average price of a standard house in the area costing upwards of USD 2 million. If you can afford that sort of house price in the United States, you are doing well.
I know this is an advertisement but dang look at that house.
We reached our destination in the heart of the Village, I took a look around me and heaved a sigh of relief… good thing I wasn’t paying for lunch today…
ON THE MAP