Bird Rock, San Diego, California
According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the ethnic/racial makeup of La Jolla is 82.5% white, 0.8% black, 0.2% American Indian, 11.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.0% some other race, and 3.1% two or more races. Latinos, who may be of any race, form 7.2% of La Jolla’s population.
View from Horseshoe.
The community’s border starts at¬†Pacific Beach¬†to the south and extends along the Pacific Ocean shoreline north to include¬†Torrey Pines State Reserve¬†ending at¬†Del Mar, California. La Jolla encompasses neighborhoods¬†including Bird Rock,¬†Windansea Beach, the commercial center known as the Village of La Jolla,¬†La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Farms, Muirlands,¬†Torrey Pines, andMount Soledad¬†to name a few.
The City of San Diego defines the community’s eastern boundary as Gilman Drive, former HighwayUS 101, with the exception of some of the¬†University of California, San Diego (UCSD)¬†and the northern boundary as La Jolla Village Drive.
The¬†U.S. Postal Service¬†defines a somewhat larger area as it assigned the community the 92037ZIP code¬†recognizing it as a historically and geographically distinct area. This unique¬†ZIP codeallows addresses to read La Jolla, CA and is the only community within the City of San Diego so recognized. This nomenclature leads to the erroneous conclusions that it is a separate city or that its schools are part of the “La Jolla School District”. The 92037 zip code extends the northeasterly boundary to Genesee Avenue and the northerly boundary to¬†Del Mar, California.
The La Jolla Community Planning Association¬†¬†advises the City Council, Planning Commission, City Planning Department as well as other Governmental agency as appropriate in the initial preparation, adoption of, implementation of, or amendment to the General or Community Plan as it pertains to the La Jolla area as well as review specific development proposals.¬†The nonprofit La Jolla Town Councilrepresents the interests of La Jolla businesses and residents that belong to the Council. The Bird Rock Community Council¬†serves the Bird Rock neighborhood, while the La Jolla Shores Association¬†¬†serves the La Jolla Shores neighborhood.
Community organizations include Independent La Jolla,¬†a membership-based citizens group seeking to secede from the city of San Diego. Service clubs in La Jolla include¬†Kiwanis,¬†Rotary, La Jolla Woman’s Club¬†and the Social Service League of La Jolla¬†to name a few.
Origin of the name
Local Native Americans, the¬†Kumeyaay, called this location¬†mat kulaaxuuy¬†[mat k…ôlaňźxuňźj], ‘land of holes’ (mat¬†= ‘land’).¬†What sort of topographic feature the description “holes” refers to is uncertain, but it may be the sea-level caves on the north facing bluffs which are visible from La Jolla Shores. This was apparently corrupted by the Spanish occupiers to “La Jolla”. An alternate suggested origin is that the name is a corruption of the Spanish¬†La Joya, meaning “the jewel”. Although disputed by scholars, this origin of the name is widely cited in popular culture, and has given rise to the nickname “Jewel City.”
Some significant events in La Jolla’s history:
- 1850 – the area of La Jolla was incorporated into the City of San Diego
- 1880s – the area was surveyed and subdivided by Frank Botsford, “the father of La Jolla”
- 1890s – railroad arrives in La Jolla
- 1893 – the La Jolla Park Hotel opened
- 1909 – The Bishop’s School was founded
- 1911 – electricity came to La Jolla with 4 customers
- 1912 – the first motion picture in town was shown
- 1913 – the first¬†La Jolla Light¬†newspaper was printed and the Orient Theater opened on Girard and Wall
- 1922 -¬†La Jolla High School¬†was founded
- 1926 – La Valencia Hotel opened and La Jolla Country Day School started
- 1944 – the first stop sign was installed at Girard Avenue and Torrey Pines Road
From its beginnings to the early 1960s, La Jolla was marketed by developers as a bastion of isolation and exclusivity.¬†Antisemitic¬†housing practices began in 1926 with the development of La Jolla Shores. In La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Hermosa, only people with pure¬†Caucasian¬†blood could own property, and housing notices included racist comments against Jews and other minority groups. Housing restrictions were thought to be enough to keep “undesirable” ethnic groups from living in La Jolla, until the 1948 Supreme Court case¬†Shelley v. Kraemer¬†prohibited such¬†restrictive covenants. After the ruling, real estate companies used less obvious tactics to keep Jewish people out of La Jolla. Real estate agents would be fired if they sold a house to Jewish clients. There were no for-sale signs put up on properties, requiring the prospective buyer to go to a real estate office to find out what was available. If an agent suspected that a potential home buyer was a Jew, they would demand higher down payments and display green cards on their dashboards marked with the¬†Star of David¬†to warn the seller. The sellers would also send codes to their real estate agents; if their porch lights were on during the day, they did not want Jewish buyers.
By 1962, however, La Jolla, and the non-restrictive La Jolla Scenic Heights in particular, had a substantial Jewish population due to talk of establishing¬†UCSD¬†in the area. The university would bring many Jewish professors, who would need to live in nearby areas such as La Jolla. In the words of UCSD patriarch¬†Roger Revelle, “You can’t have a university without having Jewish professors. The Real Estate Broker’s Association and their supporters in La Jolla had to make up their minds whether they wanted a university or an anti-Semitic covenant. You couldn’t have both.”¬†Today, there are three large synagogues in La Jolla, and over 60 percent of San Diego Jews live in La Jolla or farther north. Due to UCSD, La Jolla now boasts a large and thriving Jewish population.
- La Jolla Farms¬†- the homes on top of the cliffs above Black’s Beach and adjacent to the western boundary of the¬†UCSD¬†campus.
- La Jolla Shores¬†- the residential area and the¬†Scripps Institution of Oceanography¬†campus along La Jolla Shores beach and east up the hillside. Also includes a small business district of shops and restaurants along Avenida de la Playa.
- La Jolla Heights¬†- the homes on the hills overlooking¬†La Jolla Shores. No businesses.
- Hidden Valley¬†- lower portion of¬†Mount Soledad¬†on the northern slopes. No businesses.
- Country Club¬†- lower Mount Soledad on the north-west side, including the La Jolla Country Club golf course.
- Village¬†- a.k.a.¬†Village of La Jolla¬†(not to be confused with¬†La Jolla Village) the “downtown” business district area, including most of La Jolla’s shops and restaurants, and the immediately surrounding higher density and single family residential areas.
- Beach-Barber Tract¬†- the coastal section from¬†Windansea Beach¬†to the Village. A few shops and restaurants along La Jolla Boulevard.
- Lower Hermosa¬†- coastal strip south of¬†Beach-Barber Tract. No businesses.
- Bird Rock¬†- southern/coastal La Jolla, and the very lowest slopes of Mt Soledad in the area. Notable for shops and restaurants along La Jolla Boulevard, five traffic roundabouts on La Jolla Boulevard, coastal bluffs, and surfing areas just two blocks off the main drag.
- Muirlands¬†- relatively large area on western middle slope of Mt. Soledad. No businesses.
- La Jolla Mesa¬†- A strip on the lower southern side of Mt. Soledad, bordering¬†Pacific Beach.
- La Jolla Alta¬†- A master planned development east of¬†La Jolla Mesa.
- Soledad South¬†- Southeastern slopes of Mount Soledad, all the way up to the top, east of¬†La Jolla Alta.
- Muirlands West¬†- The neighborhood between¬†Muirlands¬†to the south, and¬†Country Club¬†- to the north.
- Upper Hermosa¬†- North of¬†Bird Rock, east of La Jolla Blvd.
- La Jolla Village¬†- (not to be confused with the¬†Village of La Jolla) – north-east of La Jolla, east of¬†La Jolla Heights, west of¬†I-5, and south of¬†UCSD. This neighborhood’s namesake, The La Jolla Village Square shopping and residential mall, including two movie theatres, is located here. It should be noted that¬†The Village¬†(of La Jolla) and¬†La Jolla Village¬†are not at all the same;¬†The Village¬†is the heart of La Jolla proper;¬†La Jolla Village¬†has taken the name but is in the neighboring community of University City.
The¬†University of California, San Diego¬†is the center of higher education in La Jolla. The campus’s original name was UC La Jolla before it was changed to UC San Diego. UCSD includes theScripps Institution of Oceanography¬†and the¬†San Diego Supercomputer Center.
National University¬†is also headquartered in La Jolla, though its San Diego campuses are located elsewhere in the city and county. Among the several research institutes near UCSD and in the nearby Torrey Pines Science Park are¬†The Scripps Research Institute, the¬†Burnham Institute(formerly called the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation) and the¬†Salk Institute.
La Jolla is served by the¬†San Diego City Schools. Public schools include¬†La Jolla High School,¬†La Jolla Elementary, which was the first public school, built in 1896 with the first classes in the Heald Store at the corner of Herschel Avenue and Wall Street but then moved to its present location on Girard Avenue,¬†Torrey Pines Elementary, and¬†Bird Rock Elementary, as well as¬†The Preuss School UCSD, a public¬†charter school. The community’s¬†prep schoolsare¬†The Bishop’s School, which was the first private school opened in 1909,¬†The Children’s School, Integral Elementary School of La Jolla,Delphi Academy,¬†Stella Maris Academy, All Hallows Academy, The Gillispie School, and the Evans School.¬†La Jolla Country Day Schoolis located in the nearby community of¬†University City.
La Jolla, like most of Southern California, is an area of great natural beauty with a mixture of geology – sandy beaches and rocky shorelines good for a variety of outdoor activities. The area has a number of public beaches and parks, as well as shopping areas. The area is occasionally susceptible to flooding and ocean storms, as occurred in January 2010.
The most compelling geographical highlight of La Jolla is its ocean front, with alternating rugged and sandy coast line and wild seal congregations. Popular sandy beaches, dotting the coastline from the south to the north, are:
- Children’s Pool Beach
- La Jolla Cove
- La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club
- La Jolla Shores
- Black’s Beach¬†(a¬†de facto¬†nude beach¬†leading up to¬†Torrey Pines State Reserve)
- Windansea Beach
- Wipeout Beach
Mount Soledad¬†is covered with the narrow roads that follow its contours and hundreds of homes overlooking the ocean on its slopes. It is the home of the large concrete¬†Mount Soledad Easter Cross¬†built in 1954, later designated a Korean War Memorial, that became the center of a controversy over the display of religious symbols on government property.
- All Hallows Church
- Assembly of God
- Christian Science Church
- Congregational Church (the first church built, which burned down in 1915 and was re-built in 1916 on 1216 Cave Street)
- First Baptist Church
- La Jolla Lutheran Church
- La Jolla Presbyterian Church
- La Jolla Religious Society of Friends
- La Jolla United Methodist Church
- Mary, Star of the Sea Catholic church
- Prince Chapel By The Sea AMC
- St. James By-The-Sea Episcopal
- St. John Church of God in Christ
- Torrey Pines Christian Church
- University Lutheran Church
- Congregation Beth El
- Congregation Adat Yeshurun
- Chabad Jewish Center of La Jolla
Attractions and activities
La Jolla is the location of¬†Torrey Pines Golf Course, site each January or February of a¬†PGA Tour¬†event formerly known as the Buick Invitational and now (since 2010) called the¬†Farmers Insurance Open.¬†In 2008, Torrey Pines also hosted the 2008¬†U.S. Open. Nearby are the¬†de facto¬†nude beach,¬†Black’s Beach¬†and the¬†Torrey Pines Gliderport.
Downtown La Jolla is noted for jewelry stores, boutiques, upmarket restaurants and hotels. Prospect Street and Girard Avenue are also shopping and dining districts.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1941, is located just above the waterfront in what was originally the 1915 residence of philanthropist¬†Ellen Browning Scripps. The museum has a permanent collection with more than 3,500 post-1950 American and European works, including paintings, works on paper, sculptures, photographic art, design objects and video works. The museum was renamed¬†Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego¬†in 1990 to recognize its regional significance.
La Jolla has been the home to many notable people, including prominent scientists, business people, artists, writers and performers.