Friday, November 29, 2013

Historic Highway 101

Continuing down 101 is The Village of Del Mar with Del Mar Plaza on the left hand side.  This is a boutique shopping center with stores such as Banana Republic and Ooh La La.  There are art galleries and jewelry stores, as well as restaurants.  There is a variety of cuisines, such as Chinese, Italian, Mexican, seafood and hamburgers.

Across the street is Stratford Square, which was built in 1927 and designated an historical site in 1978.  In February, 1927, Stratford Square was originally known as the Kockritz Building and was located at 1442 Camino Del Mar and was the most prominent building the village.  The building was constructed by Herman Kockritz and originally housed a drugstore, soda fountain, grocery store, barbershop, doctor and dress shop.  The building was meant to match the English-style architecture of the Del Mar Hotel and other buildings in the area.  The Kockritz building filled up quickly.  In 1943, the Kockritz building , the Del Mar Hotel and other buildings were purchased by Joseph W. Drown for half a million dollars.  He gave the building a new coat of paint, which eliminated the Old English look.  In 1971, Jim Watkins purchased the building, which was heavily rundown.  The building consisted of ground level shops and second story apartments.  The building had gained the reputation of being a hippie haven.  Mr. Watkins renovated the building by transforming the rooms upstairs  into quaint little shops and offices, from the apartments they had become and remodeled walls on the lower floors to be a museum of local history, and renamed the building stratford Square.  Mr. Watkins and his family still own the building.  Stratford Square is the most iconic structure in Del Mar.

Another building of interest in Del Mar and located on 101 is the Del Mar library.

There is a history to this library-The library was originally the first Catholic Church in Del Mar.  The first mass at St. James was held in 1914, without pews, lights or an altar.  By 1966, it had outgrown it's building and moved to the current location in Solana Beach.  The building was converted into a fish restaurant known as the Albatross.  The interior of the building was redesigned in 1971 to accommodate and enhance its use as a restaurant.  The Albatross became Pancho's, which was another restaurant and then the space was transformed into commercial office space was was used for a computer business.  Chiquita Abbott knew the Del Mar Library was looking for a new home and believed  she had found the perfect location of it.  At the time, the library was located in a temporary trailer next to the city administration offices in 1975.  In 1990, the new library was part of a grand plan to build a 29,000 square foot complex to a new city hall, town meeting space, and underground garage, in which the library portion of the project itself cost $2.4 million; but the voters rejected it.  The city of Del Mar purchased the current building in 1994 for $1.2 million and after much fundraising, the Del Mar Library was opened to the public in early 1997.

The Powerhouse Community Center is on Coast Blvd., which is a major part of Del Mar, but is not located on Historic 101.     The Powerhouse Community Center was built in 1928, but was known as the Powerhouse  was built to replace the Stratford Inn's original powerhouse.  The huge boilers in the new building supplied hot water for the pool, the hotel, the cottages and the laundry.  In July 1955, after the hotel was sold during a bankruptcy sale, only the Del Mar Plunge and the Powerhouse remained unsold.  In 1958, the powerhouse found an owner and was turned into a nightclub.  The Powerhouse Roaring 20's featured waitresses dressed as flappers, and waiters and bartenders in derbies and vests.  The night club opened in October, 1958 and closed in 1962.  In 1965, the Universal Water Corporation rented the Powerhouse and it became a desalination plant to try to find an economic means for converting salt water to drinking water.  The building underwent a complete renovation on the inside.

In 1983, the Powerhouse and the surrounding park areas were purchased by the city and a 17-year effort culminated in the creation of the Powerhouse Community Center.  The Community Center is a functional community space with restrooms, an outdoor theater and beach showers where everyone can rinse off the Del Mar sand.  The Powerhouse is located right at the beach in Del Mar and it includes cool, trellis-covered verandas with perfectly framed views of palms and surf that invites the visitor to sit, relax and absorb the beautify of Del Mar.

No comments:

Post a Comment