Friday, August 01, 2008

Dana Point and its lanterns

Today's photo shows Dana Point in 1934. The newspaper clipping at right is a 1930 ad from the L.A. Times, extolling the virtues of such gems of the South Coast as San Clemente, Capistrano Beach, and Dana Point.
I received an email from "D.F." today, asking for more background on the lanterns of Dana Point. Here's a slightly edited version of what I told her...
In the late 1920s, real estate wheeler-dealer Sidney Woodruff set out to develop Dana Point into a beach town. Woodruff was a master of marketing gimmicks, and the street names and lanterns were a good example. Each north/south street was named for a different color lantern (e.g. "The Street of the Blue Lantern.") Then, lanterns of corresponding colors were hung along each street. I suppose the idea was that lanterns were nautical.
Another example of a Woodruff gimmick was the enormous hillside sign he had built to advertise his "Hollywoodland" development in Los Angeles. Eventually, the "-land" part of the sign went away, but on clear days the now-famous "Hollywood" sign can still be seen from as far away as Anaheim.
The onset of the Great Depression meant that Woodruff's plans for Dana Point were stalled in their infancy. Streets, lighting, and other infrastructure were in place, but few were buying lots. It would be decades before Dana Point would resume its growth in earnest.
For a clearer and much more detailed telling of the story of Woodruff, the lanterns, and history of Dana Point, I recommend Doris I. Walker's book, Home Port for Romance (alternately titled, Dana Point Harbor/Capistrano Bay: Home Port for Romance.)


Kelson said...

As a comic book reader, I always got a kick out of the fact that Dana Point had a "Street of the Green Lantern."

EDGE4194 said...

Kelson- I had the same thought the first time I ever heard the name as well :)
Thanks Chris for the pic.

itsnotaplace said...



Chris Jepsen said...

If you want to make a left turn onto GREEN LANTERN, you'll have to wait for the GREEN ARROW.

itsnotaplace said...

I MARVEL at the COMICS on this history blog!

Captain said...

That's a great view of Folsom Ridge in its natural form. The first hill, on the left, used to be called Window Hill, and the steepest part facing the camera is where they used to have uphill motorcycle races back in the thirties and forties.

The middle hill (unnamed) is the hill I grew up on. In between Window Hill and that hill, Deep Canyon can be seen bisecting the two.

The far NW edge of the Capistrano Palisades can be seen in the center right of the picture, delineated by rows of very young date palms.

Ralph said...

OC & NR Lantern I have a very old lantern that my dad had in his railroad collection. If interested in this email me I am selling it on ebay right now.

Chris Jepsen said...

Ralph: I'm afraid the Old Colony & Newport Railway has nothing to do with Orange County. It's in Rhode Island.