Coronado 365 - August 2022

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Finding resilience


ne of the beautiful things about living in a small town like Coronado is recognizing neighbors, shopkeepers, restaurant owners and public servants while out and about. We wave hello or stop for a quick conversation. What we often don’t know are the stories behind the smiling faces. One of these stories is of Luis Madrid. A lot of people would recognize him as the affable guy wearing the beanie at the Coronado Coffee Co. down at the Ferry Landing. His life has been anything but easy, but his determination, hard work and upbeat nature have helped him through some tough times. It’s an inspiring lesson in resilience. What gives people the ability to bend without breaking? It seems like an important question as the pandemic drags on and headlines are filled with social, political and economic turmoil. Resilience has been studied for 50 years now and it seems social support, flexibility and optimism are a few key factors. The pandemic has been a difficult time for many. But it has also brought out the best in people. Many of us took that time of isolation to learn new things and reprioritize what’s important: being kinder, helping others and spending time with people we love. It has been a big lesson in resilience. In Coronado, there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. Just look around. And next time you’re out, be sure to take a moment to stop and say hello to someone. A friendly word on a bad day can make all the difference. Cheers, Leslie & Martina





Contents AUGUST 2022





After many setbacks, Luis Madrid finds success with Ferry Landing coffee kiosk and barbecue restaurant.



Nonprofit ready to revitalize long-abandoned Balboa Park amphitheater.


Three local organizations are dedicated to preserving and showcasing Coronado's past.






Horseback riding on the beach.


Showstopping pedestals signature of Janie Beck's art.


This month in Coronado history.

40 BEACHCOMBER Velella velella.

ON THE COVER Luis Madrid at work at Coronado Coffee Company. PHOTO BY NANCEE E. LEWIS


It's not too late to start planting tomatoes.


Fleet Week gets underway in September.


38 LOCAL RESTAURANTS CLARIFICATION » Community leaders in Mexico are supporting small local farms and fisheries, not the Mexican government as stated in last month's interview with filmmaker Jill Bond.




PUBLISHER Now and Then Publishing LLC EDITOR Leslie Crawford CREATIVE DIRECTOR/MANAGING EDITOR Martina Schimitschek COPY EDITOR Rose Wojnar CONTRIBUTORS Michelle Delaney, Catherine Gaugh, Nicole Sours Larson, Nancee E. Lewis, Marcia Luttrell, @coronadobeachcomber

Visit us online at


CONTACT or (619) 435-0334 ADVERTISING To advertise, contact Leslie Crawford at or CORONADO 365 is a division of Now and Then Publishing LLC, 830 Orange Ave., Suite B, Coronado, CA 92118 Copyright ©2022 Now and Then Publishing LLC All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.

Coronado 365 is available nationally. For subscriptions go to or email






Luis Madrid (right) chats with Jason West at the Coronado Coffee Co., a kiosk at the Ferry Landing. Madrid and West have been working together, making coffee, for more than 25 years.


Second shot After many setbacks, Coronado Coffee Co. owner Luis Madrid is now thriving Story by NICOLE SOURS LARSON | Photos by NANCEE E. LEWIS


ave you ever discovered that someone you see regularly and thought you knew has a truly remarkable life story that you never suspected? If you’re a Coronado coffee lover, you’ve probably encountered the ever-upbeat Luis Madrid at the Coronado Coffee Co., a kiosk at the Ferry Landing. The 45-year-old’s life has been full of challenges, most recently losing his longtime business and having to restart in a new location during the pandemic. Thanks to his determination and genuine care for his family and fellow human beings — plus his unrelentingly positive attitude — he’s been able to turn his will to survive into an ability to thrive.

“Luis is very beloved in this town. He’s a treasure,” said longtime Coronado resident Mary Danaher. “When you go to his coffee cart, you feel like a million dollars. We want him to succeed.” A few surprising facts about Madrid: • This 30-year barista is extremely allergic to coffee and caffeine. • Starting when he was a 16-year-old junior at Coronado High School, he essentially raised himself. • He started an annual scholarship program 18 years ago, benefiting a needy CHS student with an entrepreneurial mindset, and kept it going despite experiencing financial hardships. • His father, who has the same name, stole his identity twice, upending his son’s



Pulled pork sandwiches are on the menu at Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q, a takeout restaurant next to the Coronado Coffee Co., which Madrid also owns.

life repeatedly. “People who know me, know me. What you see is what you get. No secrets, I’m an open book,” Madrid said. Yet that’s not quite the whole story. Those who’ve worked with him, including Blue Bridge Hospitality’s David Spatafore and Leroy Mossel, admire his work ethic, persistence and determination to do the best possible job, whatever he undertakes. “He has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I’ve ever met. He never shies away from work. He just wants to do a good job for everyone and his family. He’s a genuine guy,” Spatafore said. Madrid came to Coronado from Mexico


City with his parents and two sisters in 1984, when he was in second grade. He’s lived here, with brief detours, ever since. When he was 14, with his father increasingly absent and his parents’ marriage disintegrating, his mother, Espe de Ovando, took over supporting the family. An artist, de Ovando sold residents paintings of their homes. Madrid contributed by doing random jobs at Bay Books, garnering $5 a day from the late founding owner Shirley Muller, who took him under her wing. Madrid described Muller as “the kindest person you’d ever want to meet.” Soon he began earning another $10 daily for putting out and returning tables

“For two years, my main thoughts were:

I’m homeless, where am I going to stay, how am I going to eat? ” LUIS MADRID

and chairs morning and evening at Café Del Sol, the coffee cart in front of Bay Books. The teenager cautiously deposited his earnings in his bank account. Conditions at home deteriorated and his mother struggled to make ends meet. “For my mom, it was hard. She decided in 1993 they should go back to Mexico since she was getting a divorce,” Madrid explained. He was 16, a junior at Coronado High School. “I was excited to move back. And then an hour before the flight in Tijuana, I decided to stay,” and live with his father in Coronado, he said. Not long after his mother departed, the CHS principal’s office summoned him to go home for an emergency. In front of his house, he saw his father loading boxes into a truck. “We were being evicted. I kept my backpack and a box of clothes. My dad never returned,” Madrid said. Madrid crashed with the families of two friends who took him in, leaving some of his limited clothing at each house. Soon after he learned his father — also named Luis Madrid — had stolen his identity and cleaned out his bank account, leaving him penniless. “For two years, my main thoughts were: I’m homeless, where am I going

Madrid pours the milk for a latte. Madrid, who has been making coffee drinks since he was in high school, is allergic to caffeine.

to stay, how am I going to eat? I stayed a lot at the library, my No. 1 friend, trying not to bother people,” he said. The daily $15 he earned from the bookstore and coffee cart was his main income, supplemented soon by $7 an hour for crafting coffees at the cart. Whenever possible, he picked up odd jobs around town, earning $5 from mowing lawns, washing cars, running basketball camps and other tasks. After his father’s identity theft, Madrid



Summer specials for those who like coffee with an extra twist.

didn’t dare open another bank account. Instead, he stashed his money in a shoebox in his backpack, never letting it out of his sight. “It was my safety net,” he explained. When Madrid was a senior, his father showed up, inviting him to join him in a small house in Bonita. He graduated from CHS in 1996 and stayed on in the Bonita rental after his dad again split. When he was 20 in 1997, still supporting himself through odd jobs and brewing coffee, he learned the coffee cart’s owner wanted to sell his business and move to Miami. The initial price was $80,000, an


impossible sum for Madrid. The price dropped to $60,000, still impossible, but discussions continued. Madrid tallied the cash in his shoebox and offered him the $20,000 he’d saved. “That’s when I bought the business,” he said. “It was his best chance to get out.” He named the cart Café Madrid. In 1998, Madrid met Spatafore and Leroy Mossel, principal and vice president respectively of Blue Bridge Hospitality, who had opened MooTime Creamery nearby. Soon Madrid began working with them, eventually managing several Blue Bridge restaurants. Once Spatafore discovered Madrid’s numerical aptitude, Madrid began doing accounting, studying at Mesa College, while continuing to operate his coffee cart. “He’s an extremely hard worker, very loyal, a cornerstone of that block where everyone knew him. He loves to work,” Mossel said. “David and Leroy became family,” Madrid said. “The picture of being homeless was gone from my head.” In 2001, he got married, divorcing three years later. But he remains close to his ex-wife and describes his son, Luis, now 18 and about to enter San Diego State University to study mechanical engineering, as “my best friend, the better version of myself.” “Family,” Madrid explained, “is hugely important to me.” His father’s fortunes had by then improved and Madrid invested in his dad’s enterprise — with dire results. By 2008, at 30, he was prospering,


Madrid celebrates with his son, also named Luis, a recent Coronado High School graduate who will be attending San Diego State University.

working for Blue Bridge Hospitality and running his thriving coffee business. When the economy crashed that year, he discovered his father had again stolen his identity. Madrid lost his home and everything else, leaving him with only the coffee cart to support himself and his employees. Worse still, his father had embezzled $97 million from businesses throughout the region. Because his father had used his son’s identity for many thefts, Madrid had numerous liens against his name and was arrested multiple times for his father’s crimes. He had to file bankruptcy in 2009 to clear the debts, but an additional lawsuit from his father’s fraud cropped up anew last year, forcing him again to hire lawyers to resolve matters. His father was released from jail about three years ago and deported. Madrid has

cut contact with him but remains close to his mother and sisters in Mexico City. Café Madrid in front of Bay Books remained key to Madrid’s livelihood. But in 2019, new owners bought the block of businesses where the bookstore and cart were located. “The new owner of the block told us the coffee shop was safe,” he recalled. “But once the concept was approved by the city, the bookstore kicked us out. They felt they should own (the coffee cart).” Café Madrid closed in January 2020. “David saw my depression and proposed selling me Coronado Coffee Co. and Lil Piggy’s Bar-B-Q. We’d been talking about it for a while,” Madrid said. Both businesses are at the Coronado Ferry Landing. Coronado Coffee is a kiosk and Lil Piggy’s is a takeout restaurant. “Between his work ethic, great attitude



and pride of ownership, I knew he’d do well,” Spatafore said. The transfer was set for April 1, 2020. As COVID-19 started sweeping through California, Gov. Galvin Newsom asked all restaurants to do takeout only starting March 16. The statewide stay-at-home order was issued March 19. “I took over March 16 and kept everything open with a limited team doing takeout,” which were the only eateries open in Ferry Landing, said Madrid, who still lives in Coronado. “Everyone in Coronado was so helpful. They kept us alive doing as much takeout as we could.” By summer 2020, Madrid realized his


new businesses were going to survive. “That summer was really good. I still work 15 to 16 hours a day, but I enjoy it. This is what I do. David was very helpful in keeping things open. He kept me motivated.” Although the loss of Café Madrid was shocking and traumatic, Madrid now views the outcome differently. “It worked out so much better for us over here (at the Ferry Landing). My life has been in so many bad positions. But when a door closes, you open a new door,” he said. ■ Nicole Sours Larson is a freelance writer.




Designed by architect Richard Requa and built by the Ford Motor Co for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition in Balboa Park, the Starlight Bowl, originally called the Ford Bowl, was a popular attraction for concerts.


Next act

The Starlight Bowl underwent a multimillion dollar renovation in the 1980s, which added the "green box" to better stage the summertime musicals presented by the San Diego Civic Light Opera. The last production was held in 2010.



“People want to do social distancing

outdoors and here we are, right here. Live performance in this day and age is more necessary than ever. .” SPARKS MOELLER, SAVE STARLIGHT DESIGN CONSULTANT


Since its closure in 2011, the Starlight Bowl has been repeatedly vandalized and sprayed with graffiti. Renovation cost of the theater is estimated in the millions.


Nonprofit ready to restore long-shuttered Starlight Bowl for year-round performances By MARCIA LUTTRELL


hen a team is ready at the starting gate and the finish line is in view, the last thing anyone wants to do is wait. That’s the dilemma facing the members of Save Starlight, a nonprofit determined to see the shuttered Starlight Bowl sparkle once again. They intend to transform the historic Balboa Park venue with modern amenities, capable of serving the community year-round with a variety of productions. It will cost millions to make it all happen, and donors are prepared to help fund the project if, and only if, the city of San Diego responds to the organization’s request for a long-term lease The nonprofit currently has a special-use permit allowing some repairs and improvements. Built in 1935, the nearly 4,000-seat capacity amphitheater was commissioned by the Ford Motor Co. for the 1935 California Pacific International Exposition. After World War II, the city of San Diego leased it to the San Diego Civic Light Opera Association (aka the Starlight Musical Theatre) for theatrical shows. Twenty years ago, it was a popular spot for summer theatergoers and concerts, despite the noise of overhead planes. Over the years, recording artists such as Bob

Dylan, the Beach Boys, Roy Orbison, Elvis Costello and the Rolling Stones have graced the beloved venue’s stage, which was also known as the Balboa Bowl. But its use was never fully utilized. Over time, an estimated $1 million in debt, lawsuits, bankruptcy and stiff competition from the La Jolla Playhouse and The Old Globe Theatre fueled its demise. The musical theater’s last scheduled production was in 2010. The Starlight Bowl, once a source of civic pride, became overrun with weeds and home to vagrants. “It’s a shame because it’s an untapped source of wealth for the city,” said Coronado resident Sparks Moeller, a Save Starlight design consultant. “Can you imagine? People want to do social distancing outdoors and here we are, right here. Live performance in this day and age is more necessary than ever. If you had a venue where you could take your family for what it would cost to go to a movie — that does wonderful things for a community. It encourages people to be involved. We need venues like this.” Like many Save Starlight supporters, Moeller has a history with the bowl. She was resident costumer for summer theater productions and remembered outfitting the cast for “Sweeney Todd” in




Save Starlight CEO Steve Stopper (above) has been involved with the Starlight Bowl for more than a decade. The nonprofit's vision for the theater is a year-round event space for everything from concerts to weddings. A rendering of the entrance (top) includes a stage by the ticket office for small-scale performances.


2004. The costumes were praised by local press. “At the time I was working with Starlight, my (late) husband, Vice Adm. Robert T. Moeller, was stationed at North Island,” Moeller recalled. “Debbie Luce, the production stage manager, was married to my husband’s chief of staff.” More recently, Moeller and other Save Starlight members have been busy meeting the requirements of its special-use permit, which expires at the end of the year. Moeller and a group of volunteers have helped maintain the property by cleaning seats and weeding. Moeller used plants from her own garden to landscape a 190-foot-long trough that separates the upper stage from the seating. Additionally, the Save Starlight organization remodeled the upper bathroom with Moeller’s design ideas and help from Wirtz Quality

“Step one is to obtain the lease so we can bring the space up to code.” ANGELIQUE GHADISHAH, SAVE STARLIGHT VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS


This undated photo shows the popularity of the Starlight Bowl in its heyday. The outdoor amphitheater was originally designed to seat 3,500.

Installations Inc. The concessions were rebuilt with a functional eatery, and there is now a stage at the top of the bowl by the ticket booth and a pop-up stage below, a TV studio above the ticket booth and a working green room. Angelique Ghadishah, the Save Starlight vice president of operations, says getting the lease is critical to going forward. “Our current permit doesn’t cover the scope of what needs to be done to become operational,” she explained. “Step one is to obtain the lease so we can bring the space up to code. Then we

can start renovations. We also have a letter of intent from Safdie Rabines Architects, who will work with us to design a state-of-the-art space upon receiving a lease from the city. They are the designers of the Epstein Family Amphitheater at UC San Diego, another open-air, multifunction performance venue.” Save Starlight CEO Steve Stopper has been involved with the Starlight Bowl for more than a decade. He was a former audio technician for the venue and witnessed, early on, its successes and failures. His informed perspective includes researching a 2013 feasibility study



that convinced him that his ideas for the Starlight Bowl were possible. Stopper also founded the School for Creative Careers, which will be tapped for future programming and student internships. “The Save Starlight organization has now garnered private sector support and resources, with the capability and commitment to finally upgrade this historic asset into a usable space for the San Diego community,” Stopper said. “We also hold a lengthy list of community performance and event entities we are ready to host.” The city of San Diego has not yet completed its portion of the list of repairs on the special-use permit, and Stopper can understand the reasons.


The pandemic and other priorities have played a role in the delay. But a signed lease would instill confidence in the multiple donors who see the Starlight Bowl as part of their legacy. That funding would then empower the Save Starlight organization to assume more responsibility and create what Stopper calls a “fiscal footprint in the positive.” “We’ve been told the city is working on it, and it’s not like they said we can’t have it,” Stopper said. “We know they have a million projects going on. We are saying give us a lease so we can get going. Let’s get started.” ■ Marcia Luttrell is a freelance writer.



Did you know? CORONADO ONCE HAD riding stables at 4th Street and Alameda Avenue on the edge of what was the Coronado Country Club. Suzie Heap is pictured here circa 1946 on Coronado Beach with her horse, Honey. Starting at the stables, Heap used to ride around the perimeter of Coronado, stopping by her family’s house on First Street, where she still lives today. She and her horseback-riding friends participated in the children’s horse show at the country club as the only horseback square-dance team in California. ■







Art on a pedestal Janie Beck’s modernist sculptures enhanced by colorful platforms By CATHERINE GAUGH


ight now, the only way to see the fabulous works of art by Janie Beck is by going to her house. Or join Instagram online and find her page, On that page are unexpected treasures: intriguingly carved porcelain figures, both organic and cubist in style, by themselves or displayed on pedestals. But far from the plain, ordinary surfaces one might see in an art museum, Beck’s pedestals are works of art, in vivid colors, 3-D textures and a variety of fascinating scenes, shapes and sizes. There is one that suggests an elaborate birdbath, complete with a life-sized bird on the fountain rim. Some are shaped like Christmas trees, others in whimsical topiary trim. And still others suggest a mountain, a flowing creek or a springtime meadow. Most are completely covered by a feast of hand-formed flowers made of silk, « Janie Beck creates pedestals for her sculptures using a variety of fabric and ribbons, which she dyes. She finds a lot of material during her alley walks through Coronado. LESLIE CRAWFORD PHOTOS



“Most people pay attention to the

sculpture but looking at its pedestal is different; it’s a unique experience.” JANIE BECK

cotton and velvet, in dazzling shades of red, purple, blue and yellow. Stop reading for a moment and look at the photos. Words cannot do justice to these remarkable creations. Beck, a resident of Coronado since 1993, took some time to talk about her art. Q: When I look at these pieces, what comes to mind is how much detail work and time you put into these structures. A: I repaired watches for 20 years, specializing in Rolexes. Watch repair is done with detail and small, slight movements. That taught me focus and patience.

A: Clay materials arrive in 50-pound blocks, and it is wet like mud, squishy. You put it on a shelf for a few months, and the outside starts to dry, but the inside is still wet so that you can shape it. I like to sculpt porcelain when it has the consistency of damp chalk. I use X-acto knives to do the carving. If I want it to have color, I use shoe polish. I don’t use any glaze. The piece is fired twice, at different temperatures, to prevent cracking. It must age and dry correctly. A porcelain sculpture takes about three months to finish and up to a couple of years to cure.

Q: Where did you work? A: In Phoenix. I grew up in Glendale, Arizona. We had horses and there were crop fields around. It was a good childhood. I went to trade school, but I always wanted to be an artist.

Q: How much time is needed for the pedestals? A: They take about four months each. One took me two years. Every flower is made and placed by me. I can make 200 to 300 fabric flowers a day.

Q: How did you get started? A: I took all kinds of night classes. I learned woodworking and welding and built a dining table and chairs. Then I took the ceramic classes at the high school for eight years.

Q: What do you use to create the structure of the pedestal? A: They are made from mini components. A few of them are Styrofoam. Mostly I use stacks of wooden cigar boxes. I first decide the shape I want, then wrap it, strip by strip, with grosgrain ribbon and a lot of glue. Sometimes I will use

Q: Tell me about your ceramics.



Beck works on a pedestal using different materials and textures and a broad mix of colors. The intricate work often requires wearing a magnifying-glass visor (not shown), and each pedestal takes an average of four months to complete.




The flowery pedestals, which sometimes look like decorated cakes, come in a variety of color schemes. To date, Beck has made 70 pieces.

heavy-duty cardboard tubes, and for the tall structures, I’ll add rocks to the base for weight and balance. Some of my pedestals have leaves, insects and lots of moss. The majority have flowers made from velvet, silk — only the best fabrics and ribbons. My largest pedestal does not have a sculpture at all; I laid real gold chains on it. Q: Isn’t it unusual to have a complex platform for a work of art? Wouldn’t it be competing for attention? A: Most people pay attention to the sculpture but looking at its pedestal is different; it’s a unique experience. You can’t just glance at it. You need to stop and really look. Once you start looking at some of the details, you notice more details.


Q: Do you sell your work anywhere? A: No. Art is so personal. I have 70 pieces and have kept all of them. I did display one of my pedestals at an art show about four years ago, but only to see what people thought about it or if they liked it. Someone offered me $2,000, but I told her it was not for sale. Q: Is it hard to put a price on something you have invested so much time in? A: Money is not my motivation. Ninety-nine percent of this is the joy I get doing it. My goal is to get better and try new things. I want to make the world a more beautiful place, so I make these beautiful pedestals. ■ Catherine Gaugh is a freelance writer.




To protect and present Three organizations collaborate to share and preserve Coronado’s history By LESLIE CRAWFORD


en Kramer, creator and host of the long-running KPBS series “About San Diego,” reportedly once said, “Coronado has more history per square inch than any other place in San Diego County.” If you’re looking to find out more about your own piece of Coronado history or just want to learn more about the city, you have three great resources at your fingertips for historical information. The Coronado Historical Association, Coronado Public Library and Hotel del Coronado all have extensive collections of city history. Interestingly, they all operate in historical buildings. “We are excited to have all three repositories share cataloging systems to make searching for information easier and more accessible across all three organizations,” said Vickie Stone, curator of collections at Coronado Historical Association. « Paper collections at the Coronado Public Library and the Hotel del Coronado include yearbooks at the library and guest registers and building plans at The Del. The Del's private archive also has artifacts, such as this key. PHOTOS BY LESLIE CRAWFORD AND COURTESY OF HOTEL DEL CORONADO



If something from the past has piqued your interest, your first stop will most likely be online. The Coronado Historical Association and the library both have websites where you can start your research. The Coronado Historical Association’s website ( allows access to 22,000 images in its collection. Digitized Coronado newspapers dating back to 1887 as well as historical photos are available on the library website The Coronado Historical Association's staff includes Vickie Stone, curator of collections (left), and Christine Stokes, director. COURTESY OF CORONADO HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION


( The historical association recently released a walking tour app with information on a multitude of significant sites around town. Need more specific information or want to look at some artifacts? Here’s what you can find where. CORONADO HISTORICAL ASSOCIATION

Coronado Historical Association, which has its home in the 1911 Bank of Commerce building on Orange Avenue, is dedicated to preserving local history. The organization holds city building permits, biography files and photos as well as an archival vault full of textiles,

Coronado Historical Association Christine Stokes, director Vickie Stone, curator of collections 1100 Orange Ave. (619) 435-7242 Coronado Public Library Sean Briley, director Candace Hooper, archivist 640 Orange Ave. (619) 522-7390 Hotel del Coronado Heritage Collection Gina Petrone, heritage manager 1500 Orange Ave.



“There’s an amazing strength of

resources in Coronado with three professional historical organizations.” CANDACE HOOPER, ARCHIVIST AT CORONADO PUBLIC LIBRARY

scrapbooks, uniforms, Hotel del Coronado memorabilia, ceramics and bottles found in archaeological digs, trophies and buttons, to name just some of the thousands of items stored and cataloged in the collection. Stone deals with paper, ephemera and 3D objects. As a registrar, she is responsible for tracking objects, making sure that proper protocol is followed and provides a paper trail for each piece in the collection. Stone’s job is to ensure that the physical and intangible aspects of the artifacts are cared for and preserved. She also holds meetings with an acquisitions committee to assess donations (any CHA member can be a member of the committee) and assists with the development of the museum’s exhibits. Providing access to collections material for the public is also part of her job. CORONADO PUBLIC LIBRARY

At the Coronado Public Library, reference librarians will help you access old phone directories and yearbooks. They will also show you how to use, which is free. The non-circulating office reference collection — those items can’t be checked out — also includes local magazines and a comprehensive collection of books relating to Coronado and San Diego history. For access to these materials, speak with the librarian at


the Reference Desk or call (619) 522-2484 for more information. The library, which dates to 1908, also has special collections, which can be seen by appointment only. The history collection consists of more 20,000 items including maps, photographs, postcards and printed ephemera. Included are rare California state maps dating from 1849 to 1968 and hundreds of rare and limited-edition books on California history. The library’s photographs include images of Coronado and other areas of San Diego County from the late 1800s to 2005, early aviation at North Island and the Navy, and the San Diego and Coronado Ferry Co., as well as scenes from Tent City, Glorietta Bay and the tea gardens of George T. Marsh. Also included is an extensive postcard collection. The library has exhibits throughout the year, and not just on Coronado history. Candice Hooper’s job as exhibit curator includes researching, collecting artifacts and creating displays. Hooper also acts as registrar, handling donated items as well as incoming and outgoing loans from the special collections. The preservation specialist has worked at the library for 34 years and is an expert at assisting researchers of Coronado history with extensive knowledge of where to send people to find additional resources for research. “We serve the public, and we want to


The original library, designed in 1908 by architect Harrison Albright, has been incorporated into expansions over the years and is now the Spreckels Reading Room.

answer your questions,” Hooper said. “There’s an amazing strength of resources in Coronado with three professional historical organizations. If you contact one and they can’t help you, they will send you in the right direction for better resources.” HOTEL DEL CORONADO

Hotel del Coronado has a private archive that includes 89 volumes of letters of Elisha Babcock Jr., a businessman who co-founded the Hotel Del in 1888, 195 guest registers dating from 1888 to 1915, more than 5,000 photos, original building plans, paper ephemera, dishes, clothing, artifacts, construction tools and such architectural items as railing, moldings and hardware. Gina Petrone, heritage manager for Hotel del Coronado, maintains the his-

torical archives. While the archives are not open to the public, Petrone is happy to assist with research and direction upon request. “We each bring something unique to researching Coronado history,” said Petrone, referring to the Coronado Historical Association, the library and The Del). “We’re all trying to define our individual collections better so we can send researchers to the best source.” The three organizations collaborate regularly, sharing artifacts, information and ideas, as well as coordinate methods for searching collections and caring for the archives. With the wealth of research material and artifacts available, piecing together Coronado history is easier and more accessible than ever. ■





The toll plaza on the newly opened San Diego-Coronado Bridge in 1969.

THIS MONTH IN CORONADO HISTORY Aug. 1, 1887 The Coronado Beach Co. deeded land between 6th and 7th streets and E and F avenues to the Coronado School District after a bond for $40,000 was passed unanimously by the eight legal voters in a bond election.

Aug. 2, 1969 Gov. Ronald Reagan and San Diego Mayor Frank Curran dedicated the 2-mile-long San Diego-Coronado Bridge. At 12:01 a.m. the following day, the San Diego-Coronado Bridge officially opened, ending the Coronado Ferry’s 83-year operation.

Aug. 7, 1962 The First Methodist Church on the corner of Seventh Street and D Avenue, designed


by architect Joseph Falkenham, was demolished to make way for St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, which stands on the site today.

Aug. 7, 2003 The aircraft carrier, USS Constellation (CVA/CV-64), was decommissioned during a ceremony at North Island Naval Air Station where it had been home ported since 1962. Dubbed “America’s Flagship” by President Ronald Reagan in 1981, the “Connie” served 41 years, 9 months and 11 days through multiple overhauls and 21 deployments. During the ship’s service, 436,000 “traps,” or aircraft landings, had been performed on the deck and nearly 120,000 sailors and Marines had worked on board.

Aug. 8, 1970 The new $4.5 million Coronado Hospital was dedicated. On hand for the ceremony was Frances Winzer from La Jolla. Her daughter, Frances G.

Harpst of Coronado, convinced her mother to donate half the construction cost so the hospital was able to open free of debt.

Liberace performing in 1955.


Aug. 11, 1950 Liberace, who was performing at the Hotel del Coronado, was discovered by TV producer Don Fedderson. The Liberace Show started its 17-year run in 1952.

national Exposition in Balboa Park was celebrated by a large turnout, effectively emptying Tent City for the day. The Coronado Tent City Band was a main attraction, giving concerts all afternoon. The band also played for the evening dance under the stars. Tent City patrons asked the officers of the Exposition if they could wear their swimsuits to the ball because they were accustomed to wearing their gear all day at Tent City. The answer: “We don’t care what they wear as long as they come.”

Aug. 18, 1923 The San Diego Yacht Club formally opened its new and permanent home on Glorietta Bay. The club flag was raised by John D. Spreckels, one of the organization’s original members.

Aug. 23, 1887

The Coronado City Council voted unanimously to ban smoking at the beach, in parks and on public property surrounding school grounds.

The San Diego Union reported that the contract for shingling the Hotel del Coronado was awarded to William Cooper. It was estimated that 2 million shingles were needed for the roofs and sides of the buildings.

Aug. 15, 1963

August 27, 1892

Aug. 12, 2006

Naval Air Station North Island was granted official recognition as the “Birthplace of Naval Aviation” by a resolution of the U.S. House Armed Services Committee.

Aug. 18, 1915 Tent City News reported that Tent City Day at the California Pacific Inter-

The Coronado Evening Mercury reported that school would begin the following Monday, the ostriches at Coronado Beach were plucked on Wednesday and that this was the last issue of the Mercury, Coronado’s first newspaper. The local news would live on through a new publication, Seaport News. ■



Coronado restaurants ALBACA Coronado Island Marriott Resort & Spa 2000 2nd St. (619) 435-3000 Amalo Brew Coffee Coronado Public Library 640 Orange Ave. (619) 537-9011 Avenue Liquor Wine & Subs 878 Orange Ave. (619) 435-4663 Blanco Cocina + Cantina Coming summer 2022 1301 Orange Ave. Bluewater Grill 1701 Strand Way (619) 435-0155 Boney’s Bayside Market 155 Orange Ave. (619) 435-0776 The Brigantine 1333 Orange Ave. (619) 435-4166 Bruegger’s Bagels 1305 Orange Ave. (619) 435-3900 Burger King Ferry Landing 1201 1st St. (619) 435-8707 Burger Lounge 922 Orange Ave. (619) 435-6835 Café Madrid Coffee Cart Ferry Landing 1029 Orange Ave. (619) 843-2524 Calypso Cafe 505 Grand Caribe Causeway (619) 423-5144


Central Liquor & Deli 178 Orange Ave. (619) 435-0118 Chez Loma 1132 Loma Ave. (619) 435-0661 Chipotle 1360 Orange Ave. (619) 435-7778 Clayton’s Bakery and Bistro 849 Orange Ave. (619) 319-5001 Clayton’s Coffee Shop 979 Orange Ave. (619) 435-5425 Clayton’s Mexican Takeout 1107 10th St. (619) 437-8811 Cold Stone Creamery Ferry Landing 1201 1st St. (619) 437-6919 Coronado Brewing Co. 170 Orange Ave. (619) 437-4452 Coronado Coffee Co. Ferry Landing 1201 1st St. (619) 522-0217 Costa Azul Ferry Landing 1201 1st St. (619) 435-3525 Crown Bistro Crown City Inn 520 Orange Ave. (619) 435-3678 Crown Landing Loews Coronado Bay Resort 4000 Coronado Bay Road (619) 424-4000

Crown Room (currently closed) Hotel del Coronado 1500 Orange Ave. (619) 522-8490 Crown Town Deli Ferry Landing 1201 1st St. (619) 675-0013 Danny’s Palm Bar & Grill 965 Orange Ave. (619) 435-3171 Domino’s Pizza 1330 Orange Ave. (619) 437-4241 Feast & Fareway Coronado Golf Course 2000 Visalia Row (619) 996-3322 Garage Buona Forchetta 1000 C Ave. (619) 675-0079 Gelato Paradiso 918 Orange Ave. (619) 629-5343 High Tide Bottle Shop & Kitchen 933 Orange Ave. (619) 435-1380 Hotel del Coronado 1500 Ocean Blvd. • Babcock & Story Bar (619) 435-6611 • Eno Pizzeria (619) 522-8546 • Serea Coastal Cuisine (619) 435-6611 • Sheerwater (619) 522-8490 • Sundeck (619) 522-8039 • Beach Taco & Shack • Sundae's Ice Cream & Gelateria

Il Fornaio 1333 1st St. (619) 437-4911 Island Pasta 1202 Orange Ave. (619) 435-4545 KFC/Taco Bell 100 B Ave. (619) 435-2055 Islander (coming soon) 1015 Orange Ave. (619) 437-6087 Lil’ Piggy’s Bar-B-Q Ferry Landing 1201 1st St. (619) 522-0217

Nicky Rottens Bar & Burger Joint 100 Orange Ave. (619) 537-0280


Night & Day Cafe 847 Orange Ave. (619) 435-9776

1001 C Ave. (619) 435-8110

Panera 980 Orange Ave. (619) 437-4288 Parakeet Cafe 1134 Orange Avenue (619) 675-0104

1330 Orange Ave. (619) 435-8272

Swaddee Thai


1106 1st St. (619) 435-4323


1310 Orange Ave. (619) 437-0611

Parakeet Juicery West 1138 Orange Ave. (619) 537-0018

Tent City

Little Club 132 Orange Ave. (619) 435-5885

Parakeet Juicery East 943 Orange Avenue (619) 319-5931

The Henry

Little Frenchie 1166 Orange Ave. (619) 675-0041

Park Place Liquor & Deli 1000 Park Place (619) 435-0116

Trident Coffee

Lobster West 1033 B Ave. #102 (619) 675-0002

Poke123 1009 Orange Ave. (571) 221-4649

Villa Nueva Bakery Café

McP's Irish Pub 1107 Orange Ave. (619) 435-5280

Rosemary Trattoria

Village Pizzeria

Miguel’s Cocina 1351 Orange Ave. (619) 437-4237

Saiko Sushi

Mindful Cafe Sharp Coronado Hospital 250 Prospect Ave. (619) 522-3600


MooTime Creamery 1025 Orange Ave. (619) 435-2422

Ferry Landing 1201 1st St. (619) 435-1225

Wine a Bit

Nado Gelato Cafe 1017 C Ave. (619) 522-9053


Yummy Sushi

Nado Republic 1007 C Ave. (619) 996-3271

Stake Chophouse & Bar

120 Orange Ave. (619) 537-0054 116 Orange Ave. (619) 435-0868 126 Orange Ave. (619) 319-5955

Spiro’s Greek Cafe

960 Orange Ave. (619) 437-8306

1100 Orange Ave. (619) 435-4611 1031 Orange Ave. (619) 762-1022 942 Orange Ave. (619) 509-7118 956 Orange Ave. (619) 435-1256

1206 Orange Ave. (619) 522-0449

Village Pizzeria Bayside Ferry Landing 1201 1st St. (619) 437-0650

Which Wich

926 Orange Ave. (619) 522-9424 928 Orange Ave. (619) 365-4953 1330 Orange Ave. (619) 435-2771

1309 Orange Ave. (619) 522-0077




ALSO KNOWN AS BY-THE-WIND SAILORS, sea raft, purple sail and sail jellyfish, these sea creatures are frequently misidentified as Portuguese man o’ war. They live on the ocean surface and have a translucent sail that sits above water. Their deep-blue, surfboard-like base is filled with gas tubes, which is an upside-down hydrozoan polyp. (Once thought to be a colony of polyps, the velella velella is now recognized as a single hydrozoa polyp.) Not true jellyfish, the creatures begin life in the open ocean. The velella velella’s sail sits at a 45-degree slant, angled diagonally either left or right across its length. The wind will send them in different directions, depending on the angle of the sail. They are at the mercy of winds, often blown toward shore with occasional mass strandings on beaches. The velella velella is carnivorous with venomous tentacles below the ocean surface that catch plankton, small fish and invertebrate eggs. If handled, their tentacles are not harmful to humans beyond mild irritation, particularly in the eyes. They are found in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans in warmer waters. ■ Class: Hydrozoa Order: Anthoathecata Family: Porpitidae Genus: Velella Species: V. velella


Velella velella


Coronado’s shoreline changes with the weather, tides and time of year. Coronadobeachcomber explores our shores daily on the beach or at the bay, paying attention to the interesting animals, shells and sea life. Follow @coronadobeachcomber on Instagram.




Tomato Time

"Early Girl" tomato vines will grow up to 6 feet tall and need stakes or cages for support to hold up the heavy clusters of fruit.


Plants grow quickly in warm days of August, but it's important to pick the right variety By LESLIE CRAWFORD


ugust is a great time to plant a final crop of tomatoes. The days are warmer so tomatoes will grow faster than earlier months, producing a fall crop of fresh produce in your garden. There are thousands of varieties of tomatoes, but it’s important to plant tomatoes suited to our coastal climate. The coast has fewer hot days than inland areas, so choosing a plant with fewer days until harvest — also known as early varieties — will be a key to success. Plant tags yield a lot of information including days until harvest. Local nurseries can help with selection. Some early varieties to watch for are ‘Early Girl’ and ‘Celebrity.’ If you prefer cherry tomatoes, ‘Sungold’ and ‘Sweet 100’ are good options. You’ll also need to decide on determinate and indeterminate tomato varieties. Determinate varieties have a limited growth pattern, are typically bushier, which is good for container gardening, and produce all their fruit at one time. Indeterminate tomatoes — cherry tomatoes are a good example — continue to grow, producing fruit until killed by frost. They can get big and have the potential to take over a garden. Tomatoes need full sun for six hours a day and will thrive next to a south-facing wall for heat reflection. People with a south-facing stucco wall have success with year-round producing plants. Stake them for support when you plant them, so you don’t disturb the roots later. Once established, tomatoes don’t need as much water as you might think, but they do need to be watered deeply and consistently, which is even more important as the fruit

The "Sungold" cherry tomato is a good option for Coronado's coastal climate. The popular variety grows in clusters of eight to 10 fruits.



TOMATO TIDBITS • In the United States, more tomatoes are consumed than any other single fruit or vegetable. Technically, the tomato is considered a fruit. • Tomatoes are packed with vitamins A and C, calcium and potassium. • Cooked tomatoes are better for you than raw ones because cooking releases more beneficial chemicals.


The giant hornworm can destroy an entire tomato plant in just one day.

matures. Use mulch to keep moisture fluctuation to a minimum. The droopiness of a plant is a good indicator whether it’s time to water. If your plant is wilting in the morning or late afternoon, it needs water. Don’t judge it by midday droop. Once a plant is established, water once a week, deep watering in the morning so it can dry off the rest of the day. Overwatering leads to the fruit splitting, and your tomatoes will be tastier if they aren’t overwatered. Tomatoes like food to help them grow. Find a fertilizer for tomatoes that has the correct balance of nutrients, but don’t overdo it. Overfertilizing will create a


luscious plant, but you won’t get any tomatoes. While tomatoes are easy to grow, issues can crop up. One pest is the giant hornworm, the caterpillar of a sphinx moth. One big hornworm can decimate an entire plant in one day. These critters are hard to spot, blending in with the plant until they are monsters, getting as round and long as your little finger. You’ll know they are around because you’ll see little black caterpillar droppings around the base of your tomato. Use a blacklight at night to make the hornworms glow and easier to spot and

you can pull them off. To keep the upper hand on the pests, use Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), a microbe found naturally in soil that makes proteins that are toxic to caterpillars. Blossom end rot is another problem to watch for. It strikes the fruit of tomatoes, eggplants and peppers. The end or bottom of the fruit sinks in, turns dark brown or black and gets tough. Calcium deficiency is the cause, so you can preempt the problem by amending the soil with a shot of calcium, such as bone meal and eggshells. Take advantage of the warm weather over the next couple of months and treat yourself to homegrown tomatoes. A fresh cherry tomato picked warm off the vine is one of life’s little pleasures. ■





Saluting the military Ship tours, patriotic boat parade, STEM days all part of upcoming Fleet Week this fall By MICHELLE DELANEY


leet Week is a Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard tradition where active military ships recently deployed in overseas operations dock in a variety of cities across the country for one week. Crews can explore the cities, and civilians can take guided tours of the ship, along with other events designed to showcase the military. The events for San Diego’s Fleet Week are primarily in November around Veterans Day. However, the kick-off is Sept. 14 with the Active Duty Golf Tournament at Sycuan Casino & Resort. The Military and First Responders Softball Tournament is

scheduled in October with16 teams from local Navy, Marine and Coast Guard bases and first responders from around the county. The tournament runs for two weeks leading up to the November Fleet Week events. Also in October is the Boot Camp Challenge, where members of the public can sign up for a 3-mile obstacle run at Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego. One of the highlights is the Veterans Day boat parade, which welcomes vessels of all sizes. Participants will be awarded prizes for the best decorations. Themes are branches of the military or patriotic. For those who would rather watch, “the

« Vehicles and vessels will be open during Fleet Week in November. COURTESY OF FLEET WEEK




Live performances are part of the festivities at the public events by Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego.

parade is visible from both sides of the harbor, allowing San Diego and Coronado residents alike to salute and honor our military,” said Maggie Young, associate executive director who has worked with Fleet Week for more than 25 years. While Fleet Week has been celebrated in such cities as New York; Norfolk, Virginia; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; and San Francisco, the first celebration was in San Diego in 1935. The event was held during the California Pacific International Exposition. At the time, President Franklin Roosevelt was determined to expand the Navy in response to military buildup in Japan and Germany. In June 1935, 114 warships and 400 military planes arrived in San Diego under the command of Adm. Joseph Reeves, commander in chief of the U.S. Fleet. It was said to be the mightiest fleet ever assembled in the U.S., with more than 3,000 commissioned officers and 55,000 enlisted men. The sailors visited the exposition in Balboa Park, and in turn, thousands of civilians were guests on various ships. Fleet Week has been held here since,


mainly run by local civic organizations such as the chamber of commerce. In the late 1990s, a team of community and business leaders came together with the goal of highlighting regional support for the military through Fleet Week. In 2001, the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation was incorporated as a nonprofit organization. This year’s public events at Broadway Pier in downtown San Diego are all free of charge and include tours of Navy and Coast Guard ships and the Innovation Zone and Student STEM Days. The boat parade is also free to participants. The Innovation Zone and Student STEM days showcase San Diego’s high-tech economy, research institutions and the military’s use of that technology. Before COVID-19, STEM Days saw as many as 2,500 students attend Innovation Zone events. Young sees this event as a way to share little-known local technical advancements. “So many people do not realize how much technology has developed and progressed here in our own neighborhoods. There is a value in having tech and STEM outreach to our young population,” she said, adding the event is a great way to showcase high-tech military jobs. As a nonprofit, the San Diego Fleet Week Foundation receives no funding from the military and relies on its sponsors to support the event. Any money not spent on Fleet Week expenses goes to charities that provide support to military families. For more information, visit ■ Michelle Delaney is a freelance writer.


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