Dana Point (CA) (Images of America)
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For two centuries before it was sculpted into a modern marina, the curve of the Pacific coast that is now Dana Point Harbor was a natural anchorage within Capistrano Bay for winddependent trading ships. Boston sailor Richard Henry Dana arrived on one and later described the site as "the only romantic spot in California" in his 1840 classic, Two Years Before the Mast. Situated halfway between San Diego and Los Angeles, Dana Point's rugged coves attracted mainly fishermen and surfers. Then in the 1920s, the marine terraces above the surf were carved into streets, but the community's development was stilled by the national financial crash of 1929. Now Dana Point has matured into a popular recreation and resort port, as well as a thriving residential city, while much of the natural beauty that inspired namesake Dana has been preserved.
neglect. Though remnants of unimproved lots rimmed them then, most of the sturdy buildings pictured here have lived into the present era. FEW AND FAR BETWEEN. In this 1930s aerial photograph, buildings of the Woodruff development can still be seen. At upper right is the auditorium, where sales promotion gatherings had been held. Around it were groups of cabins to accommodate sales closings. Below the bluffs, high tides and sea swells had washed away the rock work, leaving only small pocket
Archives.) DANA COVE PARK. Once the road was strengthened, heavy equipment could meander down to fill some sea bottom, creating a parking lot and picnic area. It was hailed as the first unit of the proposed small-craft harbor. Proposals starting in the late 1940s suggested that Capistrano Bay was the ideal location for a harbor of refuge. In 1957, a new 300-foot fishing pier replaced the 1920s model. (Courtesy Orange County Archives.) DANA STRAND TRAILER PARK. In the mid-1950s, on this northern
west breakwaters grow toward each other. The curve of Capistrano Bay beyond leads to the Capistrano Beach portion of Dana Point and then to San Clemente. Remnants of a rock-lined stairway down the bluffs were still in place. (Photograph by the author.) HEADLANDS TRAIL. At low tide, adventurous hikers can make their way around the face of the headlands from the marine preserve at its base. Their reward is the discovery of sea caves carved by waves into the bedrock said to contain unidentified
ageless treasures of this natural setting. Local Native Americans no doubt used the promontory as a lookout point. (Photograph by the author.) MONUMENTAL ROCK. Lying 300 yards offshore of Dana Cove, San Juan Rock attains monumental proportions at a very low or minus tide. Then it becomes a towering climbing wall for those who dare to reach the top, where there is an unbroken ocean view. Others, standing at its base, appreciate the sea-level mark that reaches above their heads. The harbor’s west
left was repeated throughout the community’s main streets, including Estrella Mall. NED DOHENY MURDERED. On the very day in February 1929 that the Capistrano Beach Club’s ballroom ceiling was being hand-painted, Edward Doheny Jr. was murdered in his Beverly Hills home, the famous Greystone mansion. (Courtesy Don Sloper.) SEASIDE SERENITY. Before the highway came through in 1929, the unpaved route along the shore ended on each side of San Juan Creek. Roads along both sides of the creek ran