Learn some of Corona del Mar’s most interesting facts.

Known for its stunning beaches, Corona del Mar looks like something straight out of a movie. Because of its natural beauty, you might be surprised to find out that its popularity is rather new—people only started flocking to the area a little over a century ago. Back then, land went for $100 a lot and was not thought to have much value. Obviously, that mindset quickly changed, as Corona del Mar is now one of the most sought-after cities in California. That said, here are six more interesting facts about Corona del Mar’s history.

“Nothing But Marshland”

In 1904, George Hart bought 706 acres of land from James Irvine II for about $150 an acre. The property was part of Irvine's ranch, which he was happy to sell because he thought a quarter of the property was “nothing but marshland.” Hart's plan for his new purchase was to build summer cottages for a vacation resort, but visitors came in the summer and never went home.

It’s Home to a Surfboard Club

Formed in 1928, The Corona del Mar Surfboard Club was once the largest of its kind in the United States. That same year, the club hosted the first surfing championship on the U.S. mainland: the Pacific Coast Surfboard Championship. Home to surfing greats such as Duke Kahanamoku, the popularity of the club and its excellent surfers have brought international attention to Southern California beaches over the years. 

…and a Surfboard Savior

Speaking of surfing legend Duke Kahanamoku, he was credited with the first use of a surfboard for rescue purposes at Corona del Mar beach in 1925. On that day, a chartered fishing vessel capsized in heavy surf, and Kahanamoku rescued 12 people using his board.

People Love the Five Crowns Restaurant

The Five Crowns Restaurant was built in 1935 as a replica of England’s “The Olde Bell,” a historic Inn near the Thames River. The unusual structure has served as both a residence and an inn but now operates as a popular fine restaurant.  

The Happy House was founded in 1909 

Back in 1909, 22 workers built a brownish Cape Cod-style shingle house in just two weeks. With redwood floors and walls, it remains nearly identical to its original design and is listed in the city's register of historic landmarks under "Happy House.” Better yet, the porch has a great view of Capistrano.

Little Corona Beach is a Neighborhood Treasure 

The best-kept secret in Corona del Mar is a small hidden gem called Little Corona Beach. It is beautifully set amongst rocky cliffs and vegetation, creating a perfect location for watching the sunset. It is best to go after 5:00 p.m. once most people have left so you can enjoy the gorgeous views and beach setting with little distraction.

Be sure to look for these historic facts around town and see how things have changed and grown over the years.