Dana Point (CA) (Images of America)
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For two centuries before it was sculpted into a modern marina, the curve of the Pacific coast that is now Dana Point Harbor was a natural anchorage within Capistrano Bay for winddependent trading ships. Boston sailor Richard Henry Dana arrived on one and later described the site as "the only romantic spot in California" in his 1840 classic, Two Years Before the Mast. Situated halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, Dana Point's rugged coves attracted mainly fishermen and surfers. Then in the 1920s, the marine terraces above the surf were carved into streets, but the community's development was stilled by the national financial crash of 1929. Now Dana Point has matured into a popular recreation and resort port, as well as a thriving residential city, while much of the natural beauty that inspired namesake Dana has been preserved.
between Los Angeles and San Diego. X MARKS THE SPOT. Proud developer S. H. Woodruff, at right, points out the hotel site to the architect, Charles A. Hunter. He called it “California Renaissance” style. The bond prospectus to finance Dana Inn said it would offer “splendid accommodations for banquets, conventions, private parties, as well as the individual’s needs.” It was to combine the beauty of an early California hacienda with ultra-modern hotel facilities. HOTEL FRAMING TAKES SHAPE. Initial
Bly” Brignell, “Peanuts” Larson, Johnnie Waters, and Yan Egassa, congregate with younger upcoming surfers at left. The boards were more than 10 feet long and 100 pounds heavy. DOHENY PARK CREATED. In 1931, the Doheny family donated 41 acres of the Capistrano Beach project as a tribute to their murdered son, its developer. The highlight of that decade was construction by the federal Civilian Conservation Corps, which made adobe blocks on-site and gathered beach boulders to build park walls,
trailer park. FLOWER FIELDS BLOOM. Developer S. H. Woodruff, attempting to turn around his sagging property investment in 1935, disclosed a grand plan to grow flowers along this coast. He harbored the idea of building factories to extract the essential oils, produce perfumes from “the smiling blossoms,” bottle “the scents of California,” and uncork them around the world. Instead, by 1939, he saw the syndicate’s holdings auctioned away to satisfy accumulated property taxes. DANA POINT AND
its whole career at Station 29 in Capistrano Beach, acquired by the Dana Point Historical Society when it retired. Celebrating this dual role of history and civics are, from left to right, Doris Walker, historical society and Festival of Whales cofounder; Bill Bamattre, the mayor who drove the fire truck that day; and Carlos Olvera, then and now society president. DANA’S FEATHERED FISHERMEN. Pelican watching is a special sport within Dana Point Harbor. Diving and soaring in search of fish, brown
went on to national fame. SPORTFISHING, 1920s. Felt fishing hats were the mode of the day for sportsmen who gathered at Dana Cove and ventured out to sea. Fishing boats left from both the Dana Cove and Capistrano Beach piers. The anglers shared fish stories before and after the catch, as well as bottled beer—only beyond the three-mile limit, of course, Prohibition then being the law of the land. Three EARLY RESIDENTS ON SHORE AND ON HILLS There was a grandeur in everything around, which gave