Dana Point is a city located in southern Orange County, California. The population was 35,110 at the 2000 census, making it Orange County's 26th most populous city out of 34. It has one of the few harbors along the Orange County coast, and with ready access via State Route 1, it is a popular local destination for surfing and was home to a legendary surf break called Killer Dana.
The city was named after the headland of Dana Point, which was in turn named for Richard Henry Dana, Jr., author of Two Years Before the Mast, which included a description of the area. Dana describes the locale, including neighboring San Juan Capistrano, as "the only romantic spot in California". Although Dana describes the anchorage as poor, it is the best available in the vicinity, and is now a developed harbor containing a museum replica of his ship, the Pilgrim. This area is designated California Historical Landmark #189.
One of the very few known specimens of the megamouth shark was caught off Dana Point in 1990.
In 1923, Los Angeles Times publisher Harry Chandler and General M.H. Sherman, Director of the Pacific Electric Railway Company, created a major real estate group to develop what is known today as the Hollywood Hills, Sidney H. Woodruff, already a prominent Los Angeles homebuilder, was hired to lead the project. In 1926, Woodruff, Chandler, and Sherman created the Dana Point Syndicate. They invited other heavy hitters, company presidents, movie producers, and real estate investors, to join them in purchasing 1,388 acres (5.6 km2) of land, some of which includes the Headlands of today. Promising tree-lined, paved streets, electricity, telephones, sidewalks, water mains, storm drains, sewers, and other amenities, Woodruff built 35 homes and a number of commercial buildings.
Most of these "Woodruff" houses are concentrated in an area called Lantern Village, which is the most historic part of Dana Point, the streets are name after the different colored lanterns, street of the Violet Lantern, Blue Lantern etc.(colored lanterns were used by ships 200yrs ago to advertise their fares when pulled into the Dana Point natural harbor)LanternVillage_citydata. His crowning structure was to be the Dana Point Inn, a Mediterranean-like resort hotel. After a celebratory groundbreaking in 1930, a three-story foundation was poured and a 135-foot (41 m) elevator shaft was dug. Unfortunately, the Depression caused construction to halt. Although Woodruff continuously sought financial support through the years, this project was abandoned in 1939. Subsequently, he sold the remaining holdings of the Dana Point Syndicate. Thirty-four of the original Woodruff residences are still occupied.
City of Dana Point is in the process of revitalizing the downtown Lantern Village area.CityOfDanaPointTownCenter
In 1928, a corporate entity of the American industrial giant Edward Doheny, who had built his fortune in oil production in Southern California and Mexico, purchased a number of lots in Capistrano Beach. Doheny's son, Ned, formed a development company, the Capistrano Beach Company, which included his wife's twin brothers, Clark and Warren Smith and Luther Eldridge, a contractor, to build a community of Spanish style houses. According to Dana Point historians Baum and Burnes,* Eldridge favored two dominant characteristics in his homes, a typically Spanish roof line and the use of large ceiling beams in the houses' main rooms. The roofline, covered with red ceramic tiles, incorporated a low-pitched gable, spreading out to one short and one long roof. The ceiling beams were stenciled artwork painted by artist Alex Meston. Eldridge was able to complete the original Doheny family house on the bluffs, four houses on the beach, and 18 other homes scattered throughout the area before tragedy struck the ambitious project. Edward Doheny was preparing for his criminal trial for bribery in the Teapot Dome Scandal, and on February 16, 1929, Ned Doheny and, Hugh Plunkett, his friend and secretary, who were to testify in the trial, were killed in a murder that still remains unsolved. In 1931, as a memorial to Ned, Petroleum Securities Company, Doheny's family-owned business, made a gift of 41.4 acres (168,000 m2) to the State of California, which is now Doheny State Park. The unimproved Capistrano Beach properties passed back to Edward Doheny, and, upon his death in 1935, to his wife and heirs. By 1944, all of the properties had been sold to private parties.
The Doheny family also funded the building of the what was then called St. Edward's Chapel in Capistrano Beach. The Chapel soon grew, received canonical status as a parish, and moved to its current bluff-top location in Dana Point, overlooking Doheny State Beach.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 76.2 km² (29.4 mi²). 17.2 km² (6.6 mi²) of it is land and 59.1 km² (22.8 mi²) of it (77.45%) is water.
Dana Point headlands are a prominent feature in Orange County geography and after years of controversy, , are current being developed as a 118 house gated community.
However 68 acres (280,000 m2) of the site will open to the public and will feature a nature center as well as walking trails exhibiting "lost" plants of the Southern California coast. Views on a clear day extend to Catalina Island and La Jolla in San Diego county. Nature center and trails will open to the public in spring 2009. link Dana Point Headlands
It is bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the south and southwest, Laguna Beach on the northwest, Laguna Niguel on the north, San Juan Capistrano on the northeast, and San Clemente on the east.
As of the census of 2000, there were 35,110 people, 14,456 households, and 9,280 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,041.6/km² (5,290.1/mi²). There were 15,682 housing units at an average density of 911.9/km² (2,362.8/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 87.25% White, 0.82% Black or African American, 0.57% Native American, 2.52% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 5.92% from other races, and 2.81% from two or more races. 15.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 14,456 households out of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.4% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.8% were non-families. 26.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.90.
In the city the population was spread out with 20.6% under the age of 18, 7.1% from 18 to 24, 31.4% from 25 to 44, 28.0% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 100.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.4 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $63,043, and the median income for a family was $73,373 (these figures had risen to $81,665 and $97,826 respectively as of a 2007 estimate). Males had a median income of $52,159 versus $38,902 for females. The per capita income for the city was $37,938. About 3.4% of families and 6.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 6.8% of those under age 18 and 5.3% of those age 65 or over.
Dana Point has held a Festival of Whales since 1972. This celebration is held over two weekends in March.
The Tall Ships Festival is held in September. It is considered the largest annual gathering of its kind on the West Coast of the United States.
In the state legislature Dana Point is located in the 35th Senate District, represented by Republican Tom Harman, and in the 73rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Diane Harkey. Federally, Dana Point is located in California's 48th congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +8 and is represented by Republican John Campbell.
The city is served by Capistrano Unified School District. It includes Dana Hills High School, one of the oldest in the area which opened in 1972.
Fire protection in Dana Point is provided by the Orange County Fire Authority with ambulance service by Doctor's Ambulance. Law enforcement is provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Department. Year round marine safety services are provided by U.S. Ocean Safety Lifeguards on county beaches and California State Lifeguards on state beaches.