Abetica Studios, architecture, Landscaping, Travel

Newport Beach: Crystal Cove Cottages

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Originally part of the massive Irvine Ranch, Crystal Cove is a hidden beach along Pacific Coast Highway between the towns of Laguna Beach and Corona del Mar in Southern California. As kids growing up in Orange County in the 1960s, we could ride our horses and dirt bikes along the beaches and in the hills above.  The Irvine Ranch cowboys in their Jeeps would look the other way as we raced our motorcycles up and around the steep hillsides with endless views of the ocean, with our promise to stay far away from the cattle grazing nearby.

 

Funding for the restoration of the remaining 17 cottages has been largely secured. Above are some photos taken last summer of a few of the cottages awaiting restoration. We’re looking forward to visiting once again to survey the progress.

We weren’t the first to enjoy the recreational aspects of the area. The human history of Crystal Cove goes back thousands of years beginning with the ancient native Americans who inhabited its productive hillsides and shores.

Fast-forward to the 1920s and 30s, Crystal Cove became a popular summer spot for families who built simple cabins and elaborate tents on land they leased from the Irvine Company. By 1939, the Irvine Company and county officials officially limited the number of new cottages in Crystal Cove.

Through committed community preservation interest and involvement over many years, the area’s unique history, as wells as the cottages, were saved from demolition and redevelopment into a luxury beach resort, preserving Crystal Cove’s heritage and remaining cottages for the public to enjoy.

By 2011, several dozen cottages in the historic district had been restored and made available for overnight rental to the public at affordable rates, not including additional cottages restored for concession, interpretive and administrative uses.

 

Abetica Studios, architecture, Travel

Crystal Cove. Newport Coast, California

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On August 14, 1927 The Los Angeles Examiner wrote, “On the Coast Highway between Balboa and Laguna is a bathing resort that has the atmosphere of a South Sea atoll with thatched huts and long-fronded palms.”

Originally settled over 10,000 years ago by the Tongva and Acjachemen native Americans, Crystal Cove State Park evolved into an enclave of 46 vintage rustic coastal cottages originally built as a seaside colony in the 1930’s & 40’s.

Today, the cottages are designated as a federally Historic District, with several restored and available to rent for an overnight stay.  The park includes 3.2 miles of beach, 2,400 acres of wilderness area with carefully maintained hiking trails and a protected offshore underwater area.

Photographs by Daniel Stiel.

 

Abetica Studios, architecture, Design, Landscaping

Naples Island. Long Beach, California

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Long Beach was a popular getaway for Los Angelenos seeking to escape the inland summer heat in 1903 when Arthur Parson built the islands of Naples in the marshy Bixby Slough at the mouth of the San Gabriel River in Long Beach, California. The design was inspired by the canals and gondolas of the “Venice of America” community developed by Abbot Kinney near Santa Monica to the north.

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Completed in the 1920s, it was severely damaged by the 1933 Long Beach earthquake, but survived to become a jewel of the coast.

Photographs by Daniel Stiel.