I recently spent some time recently in Coronado, California, visiting my brother and sister-in-law, Alice. Alice and I have great conversations about books (history mainly) as we take long walks. Those long walks take us to such highlights of Coronado as pedicure shops and card stores, but along the way we also look, really look, at the architecture.
Coronado is actually a peninsula in San Diego Bay. About two/thirds of it is a Naval Base where Alice and my brother, both career Navy, had several deployments.
One of our walks was to the beach, the Del Coronado Historic Hotel, and little urban hiking (AKA shopping) and then back to the house. On one leg of one of our walks we took an architectural tour of the island to discover the vernacular architecture of the place. Here are some observations and images.
The economy, the great weather and the general high price of housing is driving some of the smaller homes to be torn down and “McMansions” to be built in its location. Here is an image from just down the street from Jim and Alice’s. This small house was torn down and a new house will go in it’s place. It’s an extra large lot and so the capacity to have an extra large house is possible. You can see the neighbor’s house is a one story as is the one behind it.
“Typical” Coronado houses look more like this with stucco, 1 to 1 1/2 stories, and asymmetrical. I think this house has a Mediterranean feel with its parapet, flat roof, solo punch windows and small private garden.
Here is another typical 1-1/2 story house in the area. I was surprised that I had missed the Asian influence of the up-turned roof beams at the overhang, lending it a craftsman style label in my book! This house is very symmetrical but still is very modest in scale.
Right next door to the Asian inspired Craftsman home is this Victorian. I doubt if it is original and it does look out of place as there are very few of this type on the island. It is still modest in size but is now a full two stories and not stucco. Notice the shingle work in the gable, the centered chimney and the relatively small punch windows. The porch is asymmetrical with an elaborate handrails, reminiscent of the Queen Anne style of homes.
Finally, 605 10th St. It is for sale for $2.8M if you want to own the “Charlie Chaplin home”. This home is listed as a Coronado Historic Resource because it is thought that this is where Charlie Chaplin stayed when he came to Coronado to play polo. “The house was designated as a Historic Resource on December 3, 2003 for its association with significant individuals Charlie Chaplin and Dr. R. E. Austin, as an example of the Tudor architectural style, and as a notable work of the builder Oscar W. Dorman.”  It was built in 1925 for $7000.
According to the real estate listing, this house is eligible for the Mills Act, which is the tax relief for historic homes.
So, it was fun walking around Coronado looking at it with “house history” eyes. It was amazing how much you could “see” if you just looked.
My apologies for the vertical lines–they are for keeping the text aligned with the pictures; otherwise, wordpress is soooo helpful in autocorrecting extra line spaces!
What I have done since the last posting: worked on my first assignment of Mastering Genealogical Proof, worked on my assignment for ProGen for this month, watched my husband make apple jelly from our apple tree (what a guy!) and while I was in Coronado, met with my nephew who is doing my business logo and website. We finalized the logo and discussed the website. I’m excited. Stay tuned.
 Coronado Library in cooperation with the Coronado Historical Association, “Coronado PhotoAtlas” Coronado, California; digital images Coronado Historic Resource (http://coronadophotoatlas.coronado.lib.ca.us : accessed 5 August 2013).
All photos are by the author (but you could probably tell that!).