Welcome to the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District,an oasis in time!
Take some time to relax and explore the 12-acre historic... more »
Welcome to the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District,an oasis in time!
Take some time to relax and explore the 12-acre historic... more » district, once part of the Irvine Ranch lands, consisting of 46 Cottages built in the 1920s and 1930s. For decades, families have camped and played here. Artists have captured the Cove's natural beauty on canvas for almost 100 years. Hollywood filmmakers made movies here and constructed small thatched huts on the beach for films they were creating. Some of these film sets later evolved into cottages. People built cottages on the bluffs and on the sand, and families lived in the cottages until 2001. Today, many of the cottages can be rented by the general public.
Take a moment to investigate some of the unique stories that the cottages tell.
Pictures in this guide take by: Crystal Cove Alliance & J. Christopher Launi less «
Tips: Strange Addresses? Don't even try to crack the numbering code in the Historic District. Cottages 00-9 were numbered in the order in ... more »which they were built, from 10, they were numbered according to the order in which they received their gas hookup. less «
Welcome to Crystal Cove State Park Historic District, an oasis in time, and thank you for taking the Crystal Cove Historic District Walking Tour brought to you by Crystal Cove Alliance, the non-profit cooperating association at Crystal Cove State Park. My name is Laura Davick, and I am the founder of Crystal Cove Alliance and a former resident of... More Crystal Cove. I will be conducting the audio portion of your tour today.
Take some time to relax and live like a local and explore the 12-acre Historic District once part of the Irvine Ranch lands consisting of 46 Cottages built in the 1920s and 30s. For decades, families have camped and played here. Artists have captured the Cove’s natural beauty on canvas for almost 100 years. Hollywood filmmaker’s made movies here and constructed small thatched huts on the beach for films they were creating. Some of these film sets later evolved into cottages. People built cottages on the bluffs and on the sand, and the families lived in these cottages until 2001. Today many of the cottages can be rented by the general public but the overnight rentals are only one small part of what Crystal Cove State Park has to offer!
In 1979, Crystal Cove was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Later that same year, Crystal Cove State Park was purchased by the State Park system from the Irvine Company. Thanks to the preservation efforts in the 1970’s and subsequently the efforts of Crystal Cove Alliance, Crystal Cove’s Historic District is the best example of early vernacular architecture – meaning built without architects from the period of the 1935-1955 era. Crystal Cove also received the 2007 Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation. Crystal Cove is truly an authentic experience.
Take a moment to investigate the unique history of the cottages here at Crystal Cove. Images in this guide were provided by Crystal Cove Alliance and J. Christopher Launi. If you are wondering about the strange addresses on the cabins here at Crystal Cove - don’t even try to crack the numbering code. Cottages 00 through #9 were numbered in the order in which they were built. From Cottage #10 on, they were numbered according to the order in which they received their natural gas hookup.
The walking tour begins at the entrance to the Historic District at the shuttle drop-off point. Here you will see a series of dark green garages on the left-hand side. The garages were built in 1931 to 1937. Originally, newspaper was used on the interiors for insulation. One garage was even used as a residence. The garages are now used for... More State Park operations, catering prep kitchen, and laundry facilities.Less
From the garages, continue walking down the entry road to Crystal Cove Historic District. On the right, you will see Cottage 5, a brown shingled cottage with a great big 5 on the front of it. Cottage 5 is used for park support and headquarters for Crystal Cove Alliance. Cottage 5 was originally built in 1928 was completed later in 1937 when the... More second floor was added. If you are interested in becoming a member in support of our mission of restoration, education, and conservation, please stop by. For detailed information about Crystal Cove Alliance membership, please visit our website.Less
After leaving Cottage 5, continue down the path to the Historic District, and on your left you will see a small wooden ramp leading up to the Park Interpretive Store and Art Gallery. Do not forget to stop in here and take a look at all of the beautiful artwork from local artists and artisans from our community and take something home with you from... More Crystal Cove. All sales benefit Crystal Cove Alliance and our mission here at the Crystal Cove State Park.Less
After leaving the Store, continue on down the path of the Historic District and you will come to Cottage 00, a bright yellow cottage – now the Visitor’s Center.
Historically, this cottage was built in 1925. It was one of the first cottages you came across when entering Crystal Cove, and it is also the first cottage to be built here. That year,... More James Irvine, Jr. hired the Cove’s first manager, E. Roy Davidson, a Hollywood Technical Director to oversee campsite rentals and movie shoots. Roy and his friend, Merrill Wood, built the one-room office. Subsequent managers added living quarters in the back and turned the main room into the living room and moved business activities to a glassed in front porch. If you look outside, you will notice the large beautiful palm trees that were brought in by Warner Brothers.Less
Once you leave the Visitor’s Center, continue on and walk across the white car bridge towards the south end of the Historic District. You will come across a small set of wooden stairs cascading up the hill to the Crystal Cove Shake Shack. Operating since 1946, the Shake Shack has always been a quaint, roadside stand.
Over the years, they have... More offered everything from nuts, dried fruits - but are most known for their Date Shakes! The date shake is made famous by the dates that are in it – that would be "the date" the oblong, edible fruit of a palm tree rather than "a date” as in social engagement between two people. Although taking your “date” for a "date shake" is highly recommended. Today the Crystal Cove Shake Shack offers a beautiful, expansive deck, a wonderful menu, hamburgers, and of course the original date shake – ENJOY!Less
Continuing on the pathway from the stairs of the Shake Shack down to the south beach, you’ll go almost down to the end of the Historic District and you will see a tall, persimmon colored cottage – Cottage #22, The Park & Marine Research Facility. This cottage, originally built in 1931, is now being used as a Park & Marine Research... More Facility attracting high-level scientists to conduct research and provide additional data that Park managers can use to improve management of Park resources and environmental protection. Information gathered by scientists is also used for science education programs for a wide range of participants which include: the general public, school groups, and students from the Braille Institute. Currently we are working with 12 different universities and scientists to help us better protect the resources here at Crystal Cove State Park.Less
Cottage #13 is the last cottage at the south end of the cove with brown shingles and white trim. Perhaps the most iconic cove structure is the “Beaches Cottage” so named because it appeared in the 1988 Bette Midler film. The farthest south of all the cottages, it is set off a little from the others perched below a bluff with the Cove’s... More picturesque tidepools jutting into the sea just in front of it. Generations of photographers and painters have found that, shown from the right angle, 13 can look as though it’s the only house on the beach.
But the dark, brown shingled two-story had humble beginnings. The six couples who built it first came to the Cove as campers in the late 1920s. The families were happy in their tents but wanted a sand-free place to cook and eat, so they built a 10x12 foot room with a small porch, wooden floors set on concrete posts and walls that were 4-feet high. Screens made up the top half of the walls and the roof was made of canvas acquired from the fumigation business that the two families owned. They built the components of the rooms at their warehouse in Pomona, brought them down on a flatbed truck, and bolted them together at the cove.
Today, this cottage will serve as the “Beaches Film and Media Center.” This will be a place where children and the general public will come to learn about not only the history of early film making at Crystal Cove, but also how films will inspire us and educate us for the future.Less
After leaving the Beaches Cottage, you will retrace your steps down the path to the Historic District, and you will pass Cottage #1 on the left and you’ll come to a series of stairs. Follow the stairs down into the Education Commons, this would be Cottage #42, 43 & 44.
Historically, these small units were used by film companies while films ... Morewere being made here at Crystal Cove. Later the manager of Crystal Cove rented out these units on a weekly basis. Families also lived here and made these their homes. Today this is an area that is used for educational programs, special events, and for just hanging out and feeling like a local. Please go inside and visit some of the exhibits in Cottage 44, the historic timeline in Cottage 43, and Cottage 42 lower also has a bathing suit exhibit of some of the old-fashioned bathing suits that were worn here at Crystal Cove.Less
After leaving the Education Commons, you will exit this area by walking across the wooden footbridge that spans Los Trancos Creek. There you will see a small turquoise cottage, Cottage #46, that was originally the store and was built in 1950. The store was a modern soda fountain with a counter and stools. It was run by Merle and Pearl Van Pelt... More and their son Lee from Cottage #3. It operated from May to September selling short order grill items, ice cream, penny candy, fire crackers, punch cards, groceries, and supplies primarily to the tenters.
By the end of tent camping in 1962, there was not enough demand to keep the store running. For a few years it was used as a cottage and then briefly became a surf board building shop for Russ Makely. More recently by Vivian Falzetti, an artist who lived here at Crystal Cove. Today, this cottage serves as the rotating exhibit cottage.Less
After leaving Cottage #46, look directly across to Cottage 15 – The Beachcomber Café. The ever so popular Beachcomber Café is a wonderful place for breakfast, lunch or dinner or for adult beverages on the back deck at the Bootlegger Bar. You may make reservations online at opentable.com or just walk over and put your name in upon arrival at the... More cove and pick up your pager. You don’t want to miss the raising of the martini flag every day at 5 o’clock. This goes back to an old tradition here at Crystal Cove with tent campers.
An early owner of Cottage #15, Mr. Mitchel was a train engineer and gave the cottage it’s name “The Whistle Stop." He set up an electronic model train that circled the whistle stop sign. The most recent residents were Doug & Vivian Falzetti. To keep the cove kids home on New Year’s Eve, Doug and Vivian started an annual casino night that transformed the Whistle Stop into a gambling hall with black jack, crap tables and a roulette wheel.Less
Directly next to The Beachcomber Café is Cottage #2 – The Shell Shack. One of my very favorite cottages. This was my family's cottage. Cottage #2 was the third cottage built at Crystal Cove and originally started out as a movie set. It was built in 1926 by brothers in-law Russell Paul and Lowell Bailey. After the filming was done, their families... More used the cottage on the weekends later selling it to four bank tellers from Azusa who shared it as a vacation house. The cottage was then sold to Joseph Sheeter, a tenter who worked in Hollywood and had first visited the Cove during a film shoot. Later in 1940, he gave the cottage to his daughter Virginia as a wedding present. The one room cottage stayed relatively unchanged until 1961 when tent campers (my parents) Bob & Peggy Davick took over the lease. My family was fortunate to have had Cottage #2 for over 40 years. It was here that Crystal Cove Alliance began to evolve and had its first office.Less
After leaving Cottage #2, continue on down the frontage road heading north until you come to Cottage #12. Cottage #12 was built in the early 1930s. Since this cottage was built during the depression years the building materials were scrounged, some donated and some were just found. The hill behind the house was dug out by hand and telephone poles... More used for the foundation were floated up from San Diego behind a boat. The windows are from the Riverside Hotel that had burned down. At one time this cottage had marble bathroom sinks from The Hotel del Coronado in San Diego. Walking from there along the north beach you will find 17 unrestored cottages. This area is commonly referred to as Phase 3 and the final cottages awaiting restoration.
Crystal Cove Alliance and California State Parks is currently evaluating how best to fund the approximate cost of this project. The cost of this project is estimated at $20 million dollars. Once completed, these remaining cottages will become part of the overnight rental program. If you are interested in learning more about this project, please contact our development office at 949.376.0900.
To visit the last two cottage on this tour, The Cultural Center and the Overnight Check-in Office, retrace your steps back to the Visitor’s Center. Once at the Visitor’s Center you will find a stairway that takes you up to the top of the hill. Climb the stairs up to the top and you will first arrive at Cottage #33 – The Romantic Retreat. From there continue on up the road past Cottage 38,39, & 29, which are the dorm-style lodges until you come to the last two cottages on the blufftop. Cottage #34, the Cultural Center and Cottage #35, the Overnight Check-in Office.Less
The first cottage on your left is a blue cottage – Cottage #35 – The Overnight Check-In Office. To access the entrance you’ll walk between the cottages out onto the deck to the rear door. There you will find information about cottage rentals and other information that might be helpful for your making reservations to spend a night here at Crystal ... MoreCove. Historically, this cottage was built in 1938. The last resident of this cottage is responsible for one of the Cove’s most loved institutions – The Crystal Cove Yacht Club. Visit this cottage to see a photo of the yacht club and learn more about it’s history.LessMore Less
After leaving Cottage 35 (the Overnight Check-In Office), you’ll walk outside and to the right, you will find the last cottage on the tour - Cottage 34, the Cultural Center that was built in 1934. In 1934, the Japanese farming community had leased land from the Irvine Company and built a schoolhouse for their children. Students attended public... More school during the week and spent Saturdays in the schoolhouse learning the cultural traditions of their parents.
Visit this cottage to learn more about the Japanese farming community at Crystal Cove. In 1941, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and the farmers in the area were sent to prison camps. The building was then taken over by the Coast Guard for the duration of the war and was moved to its current location in 1947. Today, this cottage serves as the Cultural Center. This expansive deck and the Cultural Center may be reserved for weddings and special events.
For more information, please visit www.crystalcovestatepark.com for the special events guidelines.Less
Thank you for joining me today on this tour. I hope you have enjoyed Crystal Cove and learned more about the Historic District. If you are interested in learning more about Crystal Cove Alliance and the many wonderful programs we offer – please visit our website at www.CrystalCoveAlliance.org. There you may also become a member of CCA and become... More part of the Crystal Cove legacy today!Less