In the early seventeenth century Spanish explorer Sebastian Vizcaino spotted a group of islands seventeen miles off the coast of southern California and named them Las Yslas Coronadas. These men did not settle. For almost 200 years the peninsula remained bare. In the early nineteenth century, still under Spanish control, Coronado was used by whalers who also began to build houses to hide in.
After Mexico received independence from Spain in 1821, land grants were issued for various sections of California. On May 15, 1846 a land grant was issued to Don Pedro Carrillo for “the island or Peninsula in the Port of San Diego.” Carrillo’s ownership of the land was short. He sold the property 5 months later to an American captain of a trading ship, Bezer Simmons, for $1000.00.
The peninsula changed ownership several times over the next 39 year until it was purchased by Elisha S. Babcock, Jr., Hampton L. Story, and Jacob Gruendike, for $110,000.00 on November 19, 1885. Babcock invited his brother-in-law, Heber Ingle, and Josephus Collett, a railroad stockholder, to become investors. Thus the founding fathers of what is today known as Coronado, organized the Coronado Beach Company on April 7, 1886.
Work began immediately. Division and landscaping of lots, lying of railroad tracks, and the construction of a water and irrigation system. The San Diego and Coronado Ferry Company were created on April 16, 1886.  On November 13, 1886 the Coronado Beach Co. held an auction for the sale of lots ranging in price from $500.00 to $1600.00. By the end of the day, the Beach Company had sold 350 lots for a total of $110,000.00, which was, the purchase price of the entire peninsula.
As communities moved in, Coronado started booming.

  • The building of Hotel del Coronado, its doors opening to the public on February 19th, 1888
  • First schoolhouse was completed in 1888
  • A Boating Club was organized in late 1887 with an Athletic Club and a Baseball Club to follow in early 1888

July 1889 John D. Spreckels became an investor in the Coronado Beach Company, buying out Hampton L. Story’s one-third interest. Spreckels bought controlling interest in the company and became the sole proprietor of the Hotel del Coronado. He also oversaw the building of the grand mansion on Glorietta Boulevard, the establishment of Tent City, and the sale of North Island to the U.S. government in 1917.
Between 1900-1939, with the rise of Tent City, vacationers flocked to the make-shift city at the foot of the Hotel del for summer fun:

  • swimming facilities
  • carnival booths
  • a ferris wheel
  • a children’s bull fight
  • aquaplaning
  • sailing

Many of Coronado’s treasured traditions began in the first quarter of the twentieth century. The founding of the Horse Show, Flower Show, the arrival of Edward, Prince of Wales, and the early experiments, in aviation on North Island, including the departure of Charles Lindbergh in 1927.
Many films were made in Coronado and on North Island, including:

  • Some Like It Hot
  • Dive Bombers
  • Hellcats of the Navy

Because  North Island and Coronado are so close together, it became known as a Navy town.  North Island was originally used by the Hotel as a spot for jackrabbit hunting. In 1911, the famed aviator, Glenn Curtiss, found the area ideal for experimenting with his newly developed seaplane, and leased the land for three years from John Sprekels.  Curtiss performed the first successful United States seaplane flight and the first amphibian flight in the world.  He also opened and operated the first U.S. military flying school. There he trained Lieutenant Theodore G. “Spuds” Ellyson, the first naval aviator. Eventually, North Island became a joint Army/Navy base, after the government bought the land from John Spreckels for five million dollars.
Thus  one flying record after another would be set in Coronado including:

The Army vacated  in 1935, and the entire area then became Navy. In 1944, the Army Corps of Engineers filled in the body of water separating North Island from Coronado, (known as the Spanish Bight to allow for more construction. North Island today is an island in name only.

Below Coronado, 92118 Properties for sale