Posted by Sharon Schendel on Jun 02, 2019
Larry Brooks- Del Mar Historical Society President, points out features of Casa Del Mar in August 1886
As May wound down, we reflected on how the Del Mar Community has grown over the decades. Larry Brooks, President of the Del Mar Historical Society, joined our May 31, 2019 meeting to present some memories of Del Mar going back to the late 1800s when the town was founded by Colonel Jacob Taylor who moved to the area from Texas.  Colonel Taylor began platting the village of Del Mar in late 1885 and by 1886 had established a luxury hotel, Casa Del Mar. The hotel’s accessibility, reputation and beautiful location drew many visitors to Del Mar as a seaside destination, but in January 1890 fire destroyed the hotel.
After the loss of Casa Del Mar, growth of the village was stagnant for more than a decade until five Los Angeles-based investors, Henry Huntington, William Kerckhoff, Henry Keller, Charles Canfield and Edward Fletcher (whose name is attached to several local landmarks, e.g., Fletcher Cove, Fletcher Parkway) formed the South Coast Land Company in 1905 to begin making Del Mar what we know today. In the ensuing 30 years, the population of Del Mar quadrupled. In 1936 the village became home to the San Diego Country Fair and in 1937 the Del Mar racetrack hosted its first summer season. By 1959, the city incorporated.
Brooks told the story of the site of many current day buildings, including the Hotel Del Mar, that occupied the site where L’Auberge now stands, the path to the train station from the hotel, which pedestrians still use more than 100 years later, and showed a picture of the remnants of the Hotel Del Mar natatorium, which can still be seen at low tide. He also told how the Del Mar train station lost its status as an Amtrak stop and how the building came to be privately owned after transfer of a lease from the Santa Fe railroad.  Perhaps the most important story for the village of the Del Mar is efforts of city residents to shift the 5 freeway eastward to its current route that preserved the village as we now know it.