La Jolla (pronounced /ləˈhɔɪ.ə/ lə-HOY-ə) is a wealthy seaside resort community, occupying seven miles of curving coastline along the Pacific Ocean in Southern California. Although within the city limits of San Diego, California, La Jolla retains its own small-town atmosphere and its own civic pride. Home to roughly 42,808 residents, La Jolla is defined on three sides by its rugged coastline of ocean bluffs and beaches, backed by steep canyons and hillsides culminating at Mount Soledad. Located twelve miles north of Downtown San Diego, and 40 miles south of Orange County California, La Jolla is probably best known for its beautiful weather year round with an average daily temperature of 70.5 °F (21.4 °C) making this area a tourist hotspot. In addition, La Jolla is well known for its elite shopping and dining, with upscale boutiques, import shops, and gourmet restaurants lining Prospect Street.
According to U.S. Census Bureau figures, the ethnic/racial makeup of La Jolla is 82.5 percent white, 0.8 percent black, 0.2 percent American Indian, 11.2 percent Asian, 0.1 percent Pacific Islander, 2.0 percent some other race, and 3.1 percent two or more races. Latinos, who may be of any race, form 7.2 percent of La Jolla's population.
The origin of the name "La Jolla" is obscure (see below). The U.S. Postal Service has given La Jolla the ZIP code 92037, rather than 921—as in the rest of the city of San Diego, and has designated "La Jolla" as the only acceptable place name for use in mailing addresses for the ZIP Codes covering the area. This - along with the fact that La Jolla has had its own unique local phone book since 1937, the La Jolla Blue Book, - can give the impression that La Jolla is a separate incorporated city, even though it is part of the City of San Diego.
The community's border starts at Pacific Beach to the south and extends along the Pacific Ocean shore north to include Torrey Pines State Reserve ending at Del Mar, California. Along the way La Jolla encompasses neighborhoods like Bird Rock, Windansea Beach, the original or "old" village of La Jolla, La Jolla Shores, La Jolla Farms, Torrey Pines, Mount Soledad and La Jolla Village. The City of San Diego defines La Jolla's eastern boundary as former Highway US 101, which is now Gilman Drive, with the exception of some of the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Black's Beach was named for the Black family who had a horse farm over-looking the beach. They sold the land, and then it was subdivided into La Jolla farms lots. The Farm's residents retained Mr. Black’s private road to the beach. Because it was private, whoever surfed there had it all to themselves, which is almost unheard of now.
La Jolla has several community groups which work to unify the voice of the community. The La Jolla Community Planning Association advises the City Council, Planning Commission, City Planning Department as well as other Governmental agency as appropriate in the initial preparation, adoption of, implementation of, or amendment to the General or Community Plan as it pertains to the La Jolla area. The non-profit La Jolla Town Council represents the interests of the La Jolla businesses that belong to the Council.
It should be noted that The Village (of La Jolla) and La Jolla Village are not at all the same; they are distinct neighborhoods within La Jolla.
The University of California, San Diego is the center of higher education in La Jolla. The campus's original name was UC La Jolla before it was changed to UC San Diego. UCSD includes the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the San Diego Supercomputer Center.
National University is also headquartered in La Jolla, though its San Diego campuses are located elsewhere in the city and county. Among the several research institutes near UCSD and in the nearby Torrey Pines Science Park are The Scripps Research Institute, the Burnham Institute (formerly called the La Jolla Cancer Research Foundation) and the Salk Institute.
La Jolla is part of the San Diego City Schools. Public schools include La Jolla High School, La Jolla Elementary, which was the first public school, built in 1896 with the first classes in the Heald Store at the corner of Herschel Avenue and Wall Street but then moved to its present location on Girard Avenue, Torrey Pines Elementary, and Bird Rock Elementary, as well as The Preuss School UCSD, a public charter school. The community's prep schools are The Bishop's School, which was the first private school opened in 1909, The Children's School, Integral Elementary School of La Jolla, Delphi Academy, All Hallows Academy, The Gillispie School, and the Evans School. La Jolla Country Day School is located in the nearby community of University City.
La Jolla, like most of Southern California, is an area of great natural beauty with a mixture of geology - sandy beaches and rocky shorelines good for a variety of outdoor activities. The area has a number of public beaches, parks, as well as shopping areas.
The most compelling geographical highlight of La Jolla is its ocean front, with alternating rugged and sandy coast line and wild seal congregations. Popular sandy beaches, dotting the coastline from the south to the north, are:
Mount Soledad is covered with the narrow roads that follow its contours and hundreds of homes overlooking the ocean on its slopes. It is the home of the large concrete Mount Soledad Easter Cross built in 1954, later designated a Korean War Memorial, that became the center of a controversy over the display of religious symbols on government property.
The landscape of La Jolla today is shaped by its development. With palm-lined streets, large estate homes in masterplanned and gated developments, La Jolla has become one of the most expensive neighborhoods in San Diego, boasting some of the county's wealthiest people.
La Jolla is also the location of Torrey Pines Golf Course, made famous by the PGA Tour's Buick Invitational held there each February (in 2005 and 2007, the competition was held in January). In 2008, Torrey Pines also hosted the 2008 U.S. Open which was played on the south course. Down the steep cliffs from the Salk Institute and the Torrey Pines Golf Course is the famous de facto nude beach, Black's Beach.
Downtown La Jolla is noted for its jewelry stores, upmarket restaurants and hotels. Prospect Street and Girard Avenue also have several famous boutiques and restaurants (including local favorites, such as the Girard Gourmet and Harry's Coffee Shop). Also every Sunday at La Jolla Elementary School there is a Farmers Market from 9 AM to 1 PM featuring in season fruits and vegetables as well as jewelry, clothes, and music. Notable for its architectural and historical presence is the La Valencia Hotel, which used to welcome movie stars on retreat from Hollywood during the silent film era.
A notable architectural and cultural landmark is the La Jolla branch of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, founded in 1941, located just above the waterfront in what was originally the 1915 residence of philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps. The La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art is now known world wide and by art enthusiast as one of the finest contemporary museums in the world. The permanent collection has over 3,500 American and European works of art; paintings, works on paper, sculptures, photographic art, design objects and video works. Everything is made after 1950.
Skimboarding and surfing are very popular at many of La Jolla's beaches including Windansea Beach. The location is mentioned in the legendary Beach Boys song, 'Surfin' USA,' in the final verse with the line "All over La Jolla...". La Jolla Shores is a family beach with a play area for kids and fire pits for bonfires. It is one of the calmer beaches in La Jolla. Ocean swimming and snorkeling at La Jolla Cove are very popular year round. For many years, La Jolla has been the host of a rough water swim at La Jolla Cove. Seals and sea lions can be seen at Children's Pool Beach.
Spectacular views of the ocean and much of San Diego can be seen from the Mount Soledad Memorial Park at the top of Mount Soledad.
The La Jolla area was known as “La Jolla Park” at least as early as 1886. The origin of the name is obscure. Promoters of La Jolla claim it is from the Spanish “la joya”, meaning the jewel. Although disputed by scholars, this is the popularly accepted origin of the name and has given rise to the nickname "Jewel City". A more likely though less glamorous theory is that “La Jolla” is a corruption of the Native American word “Woholle”, meaning hole in the mountain, referring to the caves in the north-facing cliffs next to La Jolla Cove Park. The main cave is accessible today via tunnels built by Professor Gustav Shultz in 1902.
From its beginnings to the early 1960s, La Jolla was marketed by developers as a bastion of isolation and exclusivity. Antisemitic housing practices began in 1926 with the development of La Jolla Shores. In La Jolla Shores and La Jolla Hermosa, only people with pure Caucasian blood could own property, and housing notices included racist comments against Jews and other minority groups. Housing restrictions were thought to be enough to keep "undesirable" ethnic groups from living in La Jolla, until the 1948 Supreme Court case Shelley v. Kraemer prohibited such restrictive covenants. After that ruling, real estate companies used less obvious tactics to keep Jews out of La Jolla. Real estate agents would be fired if they sold a house to Jewish clients. There were no for-sale signs put up on properties, requiring the prospective buyer to go to a real estate office to find out what was available. If a real estate agent suspected that a potential home buyer was a Jew, they would demand higher down payments and display green cards on their dashboards marked with the Star of David to warn the seller. The sellers would also send codes to their real estate agents: if their porch lights were on during the day, they did not want Jewish buyers.
By 1962, however, La Jolla, and the non-restrictive La Jolla Scenic Heights in particular, had a substantial Jewish population due to talk of establishing UCSD in the area. The university would bring many Jewish professors, who would need to live in nearby areas such as La Jolla. In the words of UCSD patriarch Roger Revelle, "You can't have a university without having Jewish professors. The Real Estate Broker's Association and their supporters in La Jolla had to make up their minds whether they wanted a university or an anti-Semitic covenant. You couldn't have both." Today, there are three large synagogues in La Jolla, and over 60 percent of San Diego Jews live in La Jolla or farther north. Due to UCSD, La Jolla now boasts a large and thriving Jewish population.